Monday, 19 March 2012

Bakuman Season 2 - Episode 23

After all of the trials and tribulations of this series, Ashirogi Muto seem to be onto a winner with their latest (and possibly final) offering for Shounen Jack, "Perfect Crime Club".

Despite some initial misgivings about the series and its seemingly frivolous topic, editor Miura is quickly won over by the combination of its realistic artwork and serious humour deployed within its relatively trivial setting.  Indeed, the experience seems to have lit a fire under Miura, to the point where he advises Takahama to give up on his current serialisation effort because it has no chance of competing with Mashiro and Takagi's work.

Miura isn't the only one to be worked up about the series, as Takahama himself visits to check out the storyboard and admits that he'll have to do far better if he wants to usurp his former bosses.  Given these reactions, serialisation seems to be a formality, as all and sundry within the editorial team's meeting on the subject gush over Perfect Crime Club.  However, their editor has no qualms about sticking to the original terms of his agreement with Mashiro and Takagi - if he doesn't think this work can surpass Nizuma Eiji's current works, then it means the end of the duo's manga-writing career for the magazine....

I've already cited recent episodes of Bakuman as a return to form for the series, and this opinion hasn't changed here - even though I don't personally love Ashirogi Muto's current work as much as previous series in terms of its concept, I couldn't help but get carried away by other's enthusiasm for it during the course of the episode to the point where I came to believe that it was a work of genius too.  Of course, this is exactly the situation the series wanted to squeeze us into, allowing it to ramp up the tension all the way through to a "yes or no" vote for the series before pulling the rug out from underneath us with its final breath.  It's exactly how this series should be, and its a great example of its power when it gets things right.

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