Monday, 21 February 2011

Bakuman - Episode 20

From the brink of separation, Ashirogi Muto is back in business, and on top of that they're rather enjoying pulling the wool over editor Hattori's eyes as they work together on their detective mystery manga.

While Hattori assumes that Takagi has set himself a two year time limit to work on his ideas, our pairing of wannabe manga artists are actually working to a tough six-month deadline - tougher still given that Hattori has sent Takagi a vast amount of detective anime and manga to watch for inspiration.  It's at this point that Miyoshi steps in, offering to watch and read all of this material and summarise it all so that Takagi can focus on his writing.

Eventually our dynamic duo are ready to show off their work to a surprised Hattori, who finds himself suitably impressed by their efforts.  Before he'll even consider submitting their work for serialisation however, he makes two demands of his charges - firstly, to enter the Golden Future Cup, and secondly to create a manuscript once every two weeks to prove that they can make the required deadlines for a serialised manga despite their other concerns (i.e. high school).  Can they meet these hurdles, and how will they far against friend-cum-rival Fukuda in the competition?  Will they even make the grade and be entered?  Cue another of those nervous "waiting for a phone call" moments which seems to tense me up as much as the show's protagonists.

As has so often been the case with Bakuman, this series is at its best when it keeps things simple.  This episode summarily focuses on two guys fighting hard to pursue their dream, and it's all the better for it - the entertainment, humour, tension and passion simply flow out of that idea with little additional effort required.  Never mind the underlying romance, rivalries and so on, this was very much Bakuman on top form, and I couldn't help but find myself feeling a little excited, proud even, as Mashiro and Takagi's dream shifted a little closer towards their reach.

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