Bakuman, episode 9: Lessons on love

Once we get past the boring and slightly depressing Mashiro mope-fest and the crappy support from his mute future lover, the episode ends pretty nicely with Takagi’s love triangle coming to a head. Wait. What love triangle? Yep, you got that right.

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Mashiro spends the whole first half of the episode, still singing the blues. He can’t even get his daily kick in the pants because Takagi’s been suspended for the week for beating the crap out of the wannabe artist. It’s interesting that Mashiro is really taking it hard from what Hattori didn’t say. We see later when Mashiro talks with his grandpa that he wonders if he’s holding Takagi back, and whether Takagi will regret teaming up with him. But I wonder if there was a more ulterior motive behind his depression. If you hear your partner being complimented, do you take your lack of a compliment personally? If so, is it because you really wonder if you’re not good enough (remember, the writing was criticized more than the art the first time)? Or is there perhaps a hint of jealousy lying underneath it? I don’t think Mashiro comes off as jealous in even the slightest, but I wonder. But again, it’s only when Miho writes him a stupid note (instead of just talking to him like a human being) congratulating him on his success that Mashiro gets a pep in his step. He’s really going to need to learn to be a little more self-dependent if he wants to stay a likeable character.

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Did anyone think it was odd that Mashiro went to the faculty to get Takagi’s home address? Wouldn’t it have made more sense for him to just have texted Takagi for it? Clearly, it was a scene made just so they could hint at Takagi’s "popularity." I did appreciate how Takagi had to stop and ask for directions and was seemingly lost. Addresses in Japan are completely nonsensical and useless.

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Things get much more fun and interesting when Mashiro arrives at Takagi’s modest home (I wonder if he’s neighbors with Kuroneko) and walks right into an angry threesome.

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Trashtalking with Mashiro even when under pressure. Takagi is one cool cat. Unfortunately for Takagi, he finds himself in a love triangle with two of the most socially inept girls possible. One, Iwase, believed they’d been going out for at least a year, after he shook her hand. The other, Kaya, thought they were going out, because Takagi talked to her about Miho. Shoot, I would love if the relationship flag was triggered so easily. If it was this easy, I’d be Hugh freaking Hefner. Sadly, in the real world, Kaya and Iwase are both clearly nuts.

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No, no, Takagi must have read enough manga to know that you must POINT LOUDLY when OBJECTING! It has never failed Battler or  Phoenix Wright.

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Iwase makes Takagi’s "choice" between the two easy, when she demands he stop writing manga, while Kaya professes to support him like a Hachiko with boobs, and a mean right cross. Iwase apparently has the social IQ of a baby porcupine, because she seems surprised when Takagi rejects her demand and chooses to follow his dreams. I hope she does something drastic in revenge… like get pregnant with Nizuma’s baby.

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Once Iwase leaves in tears, Kaya celebrates her "win" in an odd manner – by taking a couple shots at trying to knock out Takagi. Gee, it’s not his fault, your social IQ rivals Iwase’s. Still, I guess it was worth it to hear her babying Takagi afterwards. It’s like an espresso shot of tsundere.

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Nizuma is really turning out to be quite a tease. This is like the fifth straight episode where they end up giving us a 5 second scene with Nizuma doing something ridiculous. I just know I’m going to be disappointed when he gets more airtime.  How can I not be? So far, he’s had 30 seconds of airtime the whole season and been batshit insane in all 30 seconds. There’s just no way he’ll be able to keep it up once he becomes a more prominent character.