Bakuman, episode 22: Worst episode ever

Ooh, forbodding music, dark silhouettes, nervous office managers, editors rounding up the troops. All that’s missing are the mangaka holding pitchforks and torches. Will the JACK editors toss money from the heavens to make their escape?

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This episode was a complete and utter waste of time. First, Fukuda leads a strike only to see Mashiro scab them in the back, and instead of disagreeing, Fukuda inexplicably agrees with him and decides their whole protest of Koogy’s underhanded tactics was a waste of time. Then the gang all get together to critique each other’s names, only for Aoi to blueball everyone by refusing to provide any critiques because she thinks her story of the best – and Fukuda again inexplicably falls in line and agrees that the whole critiquing thing is a waste of time. As a last ditch effort to not make the episode a complete waste of time, Fukuda does ask for Nizuma’s opinion. Nizuma alludes mysteriously to one loser and two winners, without offering any details, which sends the previously confident Mashiro into a tailspin wondering if they should redo their name, since based on Nizuma’s opinion they only have a 50-67% of winning. The episode finally ends with Mashiro unilaterally deciding that he’s going to rewrite the name, for no better reason than seeing Miho’s ganbare! text message.

Where did this train go off the tracks? Well, for one, I’m pretty sure the train was prepped with a payload of C4 before it even left the station. But if I were to point the finger, guess where it would be?

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You! Mashiro, the cock-sucking, line-crossing, wannabe tyrant who can’t seem to make a single move without coming off as a complete asshole. If you support or empathize with Mashiro for any reason, you’re probably also a-ok with things like running over a den of girl scouts who are helping a group of Alzheimer-stricken kittens cross the street.

Why is Mashiro a punk ass?

Example #1 – Mashiro is gung ho and ready to help Fukuda storm JACK to call out shenanigans for Koogy’s cheap tricks. Instead of providing any support for Fukuda at any point of the argument, Mashiro pulls out his fountain pen and proceeds to stab Fukuda right in the back straight through to the aorta, by completely denouncing Fukuda (and by extension their demands for fair treatment), and goes rogue by parroting the Chief Editor’s speech about "manga just needing to be interesting." Nice Mashiro. Way to make it seem like you were opposed to the plan all along and you were actually the chivalrous one. Apparently, there’s a DVD-only OVA planned in which Mashiro spends the whole episode trying to dislodge his lips from the chief editors gold-plated ass.

If Bakuman followed any sort of standard narrative, the next event would’ve been Fukuda punching Mashiro in the face for double crossing him, but in a turn of events that’s just as inexplicable, Fukuda himself turns a complete 180. Way to stand up for yourself ecchi-boy.

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Example #2 – I’ve been watching Bakuman for 22 episodes now, and I thought I had the story straight, but I realized I was totally wrong. Mashiro isn’t partners with Takagi, he’s partners with Miho. Apparently Miho is the puppetmaster. All she has to do is clap her hands *pachi pachi pachi* and Mashiro’s off dancing like a jangling fool. Based not on any feedback he heard from the editors, nor from his rivals, nor from his not-really-partner partner, but a completely innocuous text message from the girl he’s actually never even really spoken to, Mashiro makes a unilateral decision to rewrite his name. I can’t blame Miho for Mashiro’s stupidity anymore.

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Shut the hell up Aoki, you ruined the whole scene and made it pointless! WHY!?

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Nakai and Aoki are such mismatches, let’s just spend the last three episodes on these two. Nakai can be the creepy stalker otaku. Aoki can be the robotic, human with no soul. And IBM’s Watson can be the love triangle interest who breaks through to Aoki and teaches her how to love.