*sniff sniff* Hmm, I can smell the finish line. It smells good.
Now to be fair, this was actually a very solid episode. The pacing was good, Mashiro wasn’t terribly obnoxious and really, the show did us a favor by focusing on the most interesting parts – the editors’ deliberation on how to determine a winner, as well as the relationships between the editors themselves. Like Scamp mentions, I would love to see the show focus more on the challenges the editors have, and on the business of manga.
The weakest part of the show? The competition itself. It’s really hard to take the build-up drama seriously if everyone wins one way or the other, with Mashiro, Takagi and Fukuda tie-ing for first, Aoki and Nakai finishing third, but all of them getting their shot at serialization. I appreciate the feel good, rah-rah-rah camaraderie and all, but c’mon now. The show is basically mailing in any build-up and taking the easy way out. I also think it betrays the preceding life that Mashiro’s uncle lived and lost. Manga isn’t a business in which everyone’s shootin’ the shit together, eating gumdrops and lollipops. It’s a cut-throat business that takes no prisoners. Prior success? Doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t keep the greenbacks rolling in. Not everyone wins. Almost everybody loses. And most of the people that lose are a lot more devoted and a lot less pretentious than Koogy. Maybe we’ll see some of that as each of these guys grows up and faces different challenges upon serialization. But the show hasn’t shown me anything that would make me believe that it would take that harsher, more realistic direction.
It’s a shame, since there’s elements in the show that I think would make a really compelling drama. But I suppose that’s the difference between a shounen and a seinen. Bakuman is still just a show for kids.