Bakuman, episode 8: For the love of the girl, or the love of the manga

Definitely a solid rebound from the disaster that was the last episode.

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Sadly, it looks like the chances of Nizuma getting to cut a manga once he gets on the cover of JACK and becomes the most popular mangaka is slim. They really are dragging out his introduction though. I think they’ve spent the last three episodes inside his room.

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The most interesting part of Death Note besides the cat and mouse between Light and L was their relationship. However, if Death Note had been a yaoi romance, I have no doubt in my mind that they would’ve been the most boring yaoi couple ever.

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After a few books of rejections, Takagi finally lands on a story that Mashiro really likes, another dystopic, sci-fi romp that seems to pull in elements from Terminator, Star Wars and Gattaca. The story also captures Hattori’s fancy and he agrees to submit their story for the Tezuka Awards, feeling pretty confident about its chances. He also suggest that the two begin working on a new story to submit for the upcoming NEXT special issue which features manga from pros and amateurs alike.

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However, Mashiro and Takagi find that when all their thinking is going into fantasizing about winning, it’s hard to work on new stuff that’s actually good. Their impatience only grows when they get a call from Hattori who tells them that they made the final 8, giving them a 50% chance of either winning or getting honorable mention.

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The second half of the episode picks up, I think because Kasai started taking more chances with his direction. Funny distorted faces, some camera angles, it was still all done a little too straight-laced, but still definitely a lot more interesting to watch compared to all the episodes prior.

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But alas, a close loss is the most cruelest of losses, as Mashiro’s and Takagi’s hopes and dreams are shattered when they find that they were cut in the final round. On one hand, it’s a big win, because as Takagi mentions later, they went from being cut from a monthly competition to making the final 8 of what I assume is a prestigious, yearly competition. But once you get your hopes up, it’s a bummer to fall short of what you were fantasizing about.

For the Love of the Manga

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What’s interesting, and not surprising, is that it’s Takagai who snaps Mashiro out of his slump (which thankfully only lasted like 2 minutes) and refocuses them on their goal of getting published by the time they’re 18. It got me thinking, the whole reason Mashiro got into this game is because of Miho. The whole reason he went for the Tezuka Award was to impress Miho. Sure, he’s always entertained thoughts of being a mangaka, but if Miho didn’t exist he probably wouldn’t have taken on Takagi’s offer. Right now Miho > Manga for Mashiro. On the flip side, Takagi’s seems to have done this for the love of the manga. His motivation is better, it’s all internal driven, less contingent on the whims of another. All the greats are internally driven. You think Michael Jordan wanted to become the best for the chicks? Roy Halladay? Peyton Manning? Tiger Woods? So it doesn’t surprise me that he’s better at accepting failure and bouncing back from it. Hopefully we’ll see Mashiro realize that  he’s got to become a mangaka for the love of the manga and not to impress the most boring girl in the world.

Haters gonna hate

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Hooray for dicks and assholes (who can only draw moe characters faces’ from a front profile view)! I was just complaining about how the lack of assholes and enemies made for a boring show. You need an enemy, you need a rival to make a shounen anime kick. And Ishizawa serves as a good low-level boss, you know, since he doesn’t have any actual talent or anything. But he reveals Mashiro and Takagi’s secret mangaka identities to the class and calls out Mashiro for his “shitty” artwork, even though they placed in the top 8, while he’s never drawn a 31 page manga (or torsos, legs, or any characters above the age of 8 for that matter).

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The only thing missing from Takagi's super-right cross was a multi-episode power up scene
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Damn, even Ricky Hatton didn't go down this hard
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YOU WANTED DORAMA? YOU GOT IT!

I loved seeing Takagi go Pac-Man on Ishizawa. It was the single best scene of the show since the confession in the first episode. I think they should replace the romance in Bakuman with an underground mangaka Fight Club. But sadly if the next episode preview is any indication, I think we’re in for more stupid romance.