Monday, 7 March 2011

Bakuman - Episode 22

Koogy may have a stupid name but he certainly knows how to market himself, with the announcement that he's turning away from music to concentrate on his career as a manga artist a sure-fire way of getting votes aplenty in the Golden Future Cup.

Needless to say, his fellow contenders are none too pleased with his manipulation of the media, and thus they all join forces to take their complaints to Jack's editing department - complaints that get short shrift from the staff there who are, of course, more interested in selling copies of their publications than petty concerns about who wins what.  In the midst of the ensuing argument, Moritaka remembers some advice from the magazine's editor given to him previously, that being that any manga can be serialised as long as it's interesting.  This memory gives him renewed hope that they can win the day despite Koogy's publicity stunt, and this infectious enthusiasm soon extends to the others as they decide to join forces to a degree, choosing to check out and critique one another's work.

Using Eiji Nizuma's studio as their base, all of the competing names are laid out and read by all present (Nizuma included), only to find that everyone is so confident in their own work that they can't see any of their competitors winning... or so they say outwardly at least.  Even Nizuma is hard-pressed to choose a winner from the variety of manga on offer, suggesting that two of the three entries he's seen are tied for first although he refuses to say which ones.  With Azuki working hard and moving up the voice acting ladder, Mashiro's determination to become a serialised manga artist again comes to the fore, even if it means a lot more work for himself and Takagi before their Golden Future Cup submission.

Once again, Bakuman is at its best when it keeps things simple and focuses on its manga creation aspects, with another episode that just flows and somehow works (some dodgy animation aside) without doing anything sensational or out of the ordinary, instead letting the viewer bask in the vicarious nerves, excitement and thrills of moving up through the ranks and making progress towards our main duo's dreams.  It doesn't always get things right, but at the moment this show is on a roll, and looking good as it moves towards its climax to be followed by a second season later in the year.

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