Sunday, 5 February 2012

Bakuman Season 2 - Episode 18

Christmas Day might not seem like the best time for a serialisation meeting at Shounen Jack, but that's exactly when the next one is scheduled for, as Ashirogi Muto work hard to ensure that their current gambit to make it into the magazine is up to scratch when the big day comes.

Although Miura is still rather skittish about the prospects of getting serialised to some degree, the lack of competition boosts his confidence somewhat... at least, it does until he hears about Hattori's submission from Aiko Akina (aka Iwase), as Hattori makes no bones about introducing her as a major rival to Takagi.  With this information filtering down to Takagi and Mashiro, it's "squeaky bum time" come serialisation meeting day.

Unsurprisingly, it doesn't take long for another hidden truth to come to the fore within that meeting, that being Nizuma's work as the artist for Iwase's submission - a revelation which causes consternation amongst the staff present, although ultimately their inability to deny the work's quality means that they can't help but pass it for serialisation alongside Ashirogi Muto's work.  With this controversy now out in the open, any celebrations are tempered somewhat by indignation from both editorial staff and other manga artists, with much of "Team Fukuda" rather peeved that Eiji is working on two serialised manga, while Takagi is unhappy at the news for entirely different reasons as his rivalry with Iwase ramps up to a new level.

Ignoring Miyoshi's constant pre-occupation with marriage (which is understandable but runs thin pretty quickly) this episode was okay; no more, no less.  It seems as if the tension that came from serialisation meetings earlier in the series has now gone, which leaves things feeling rather empty in terms of emotional investment in the the show, meaning that Bakuman is instead now more reliant on empathy or interest in the characters rather than their current predicaments.  This shift is merely different rather than better or worse, but it is a change nonetheless - thankfully, I'm sufficiently invested in the characters as things stand to keep my interest ticking over, even if there's nothing particularly spectacular for the series to show us right now.

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