“Tears and Tears”
Summary: Mashirou and Azuki exchange notes in class.
Mimi: Ehhhh, this episode wasn’t for me. As I said before, I’m not really into the relationship between Mashirou and Azuki, and this could barely keep my attention. Now that they sit right next to each other in class (with their desks touching), Mashirou has gotten into the habit of writing messages to her in his notebook. (What’s your favorite color? Food? Season?) Eventually, he obtains her email so that they can keep in contact. I don’t get the point of this and why they won’t actually talk to each other. But I’m not going to harp on this. It’s kinda cute considering they’re middle school kids. I’ll only have a problem if they actually get a fairytale ending (ex: They marry deeply in love after reaching their goals, despite distancing themselves physically and only writing text messages for years).
Now on to the parts I did like. For one thing, Takagi receives a call from their editor, explaining that their manuscript didn’t make it to the finals. But not to fear, they’re more motivated than ever to make a better manga. Mashirou suddenly wants to go for the Tezuka award which shocks Takagi, and all to make Azuki smile, but he eventually gives in. Unfortunately, Nizuma (the young, crazy prodigy) is getting on a lot faster, and he’s moving to Tokyo under a special condition, which is to give him the authority to end one series that he doesn’t like. Oh dear… o.o I can’t wait till Mashirou has some kind of encounter with this guy.
Update: Well, I’m going to drop Bakuman from the blog. I basically need more time for schoolwork that’s usually due on Monday; it’s nothing personal against the series. I’ll still follow it at my own pace. I’m also handing over Star Driver to Alex~
“Carrot and Stick”
Summary: Mashirou and Takagi meet an editor of Shounen Jack.
Mimi: Yikes, this post is a week late, and I’m terribly sorry about that. A lot of things came up (college exams and relatives), so I’m going to spend the rest of my Sunday catching up here.
Anyways, this is a pretty nerve-wrecking episode for Mashirou and Takagi. While the editor reads over their first manuscript, they clench their fists, sweat buckets, and become easily startled. Little things nag at their confidence, like hearing an embarrassing conversation between an editor and a potential mangaka in another room. Fortunately for them, their editor is a pretty nice guy who offers them coffee. He thinks that Takagi’s story is impressive, but it relies too heavily on dialogue which is better suited for novels. Mashirou’s character designs could also use a bit more work. Overall, the editor believes that they have great potential, wants to work exclusively with them, and he even wants to submit their manuscript for their monthly prize. Wow. I think it would have been more interesting if they got a harsher response (eh what can I say, I like drama), but I like how Mashirou is very perspective of him. Can this editor really be trusted, and does he give good advice? The evaluation process works both ways here.
Other than the scene with the editor, we get to see a bit of Takagi’s past. The reason why he’s so studious now is because he was raised under a lot of pressure from his family. Apparently, his father was wronged in some kind of incident at his job, so his mother wanted him to excel in school, enter the same business, and avenge his father. Takagi was greatly upset when he learned about it, but he decided not to let that control his life. After all, he wants to get in the manga business, and his mother knows, though she kinda ignores it.
So now, I suppose that Mashirou and Takagi will work to improve themselves and get started on their second manga! I’m really glad that they realize the importance of working close together and giving each other comments. Takagi couldn’t believe that Mashirou held in opinions regarding his story that were similar to their editor’s. xD
“Summer and Name”
Summary: Mashiro and Takagi spend their entire summer at the studio to finish their first manuscript!
Mimi: Wow, these guys sure can cooperate…perhaps a bit too well. They never critique each other or bump heads on anything. They just work equally hard and give each other the thumbs up. Takagi still deeply admires Mashiro for his artwork, and now Mashiro is falling in love with his stories. The only problem lies within themselves, as they feel a bit inferior to each other (ex: my art sucks, but his story is great). Nevertheless, they maintain their enthusiasm, and now they’re ready to show off their first manuscript.
I’m surprised that they managed to do all this in one episode. That’s awesome. But there are some things that feel a bit odd, such as how they decide not to comment on each other’s work anymore. They ought to be as communicative as possible and critique each other. I mean, wouldn’t they care? If I were Takagi, I’d have some kind of preference over the character designs or something, and if I were Mashiro, I’d want to add ideas to the story. Perhaps they will get more involved with each other’s work over time after they stop feeling so awestruck, as well as having disagreements. I’m not trying to be that picky or anything; it’s still only the beginning, and I’m enjoying this a lot. I can’t wait to see what kind of feedback they’ll get.
“Time and Keys”
Mimi: Alright, time to get into the technical details! And boy do I love this (to my surprise). This episode briefly touches up on the use of different ink pens and their effects on paper, screen tones, editors, assistants, etc. As Mashiro finally begins to draw, he realizes that there are so many things to consider already. For now, he’s trying to master drawing with G-pens, which are harder to control and easily get caught up on the paper. His uncle used a kabura pen because it was easier, but pros typically use G-pens that allow their artwork to have more “flavor and atmosphere.” So Mashiro stays up all night drawing, becomes extremely sleepy the next day during midterms, and shows Takagi his hard work after school. His artwork is fairly impressive to Takagi (detailed background art and people drawings), but they still need a bit of work.
As if the two kids aren’t inspired enough, they find out that a 15-year old kid named Niizuma Eiji recently became the semi-finalist prize winner for the Tezuka (manga) award. Hey, if he can do it, then they can do better! Heh, after witnessing how Niizuma acts like a crazy animal over the phone and only gets praised for his artwork, I think I have full confidence in our main leads to surpass him (especially in content). ^_^! Later on, Mashiro tells his partner a little story about a really good editor, and they decide that they’ll show him their first manuscript. Oh wait, they need just a little boost! -insert last minute clip of the oh-so-beautiful Azuki passing Mashiro on the street- Ok, now they’re ready. :3
I love how this series is also showing what other kids are up to besides them. There’s one particular classmate who draws character’s faces well and brags about his ‘skills’, but one girl asks why they always look the same and gaze in the same forward direction. Personally, I used to do a fair amount of drawing myself, and they always looked like that. I could never draw the head sideways or at any other angle. -sigh- xD
“Parents and Children”
Mimi: Mashiro and Takagi explore around in his uncle’s studio; there’s loads of manga, manuscripts, and…letters he received from the girl he loved. They pry into the letters and find out that she had gotten married, then they find her picture in an old album. Guess what? She looks just like Azuki, so they decide to confirm if her mother is the woman who exchanged those letters with his uncle. And indeed she is! They visit her when Azuki is not there, and they learn more about the relationship that they had. By this point, Mashiro doesn’t think that his uncle committed suicide anymore, and he confesses this to his father. Now, Mashiro and Takagi feel more pumped up than ever to get started on their manga career.
Decent build-up episode. I hope that the next one shows them really getting started, as far as drafting the artwork, story, and so forth. And as a side note, I read an interesting article on Hey Answerman about how Bakuman is far from a realistic portrayal of the manga creating process. I guess that I will have to take this a bit less seriously, but I’m still interested to see how Mashiro and Takagi will make it.
“Dumb and Smart”
Mimi: Rather quickly, Mashiro tells his family that he wishes to become a manga artist, and they agree to it. Well, his mother isn’t entirely agreeable because of what happened to his uncle, but she’s tolerant enough. He is given the keys to his uncle’s studio from his grandfather, as he will be able to use it later for creating manga. He lets Takagi in on it, and they both excitedly head over to the studio.
I guess that the development between Mashiro and Azuki will be a strong point in this series. I do find their little love story charming, for they’re both likeable characters so far. But hopefully every episode won’t just show Mashiro flustered over her in class or something. I’m more interested in the manga aspect anyhow.
As for Mashiro and Takagi, I definitely enjoy watching them as a pair. They turn out to think alike despite their differences in personality. I can’t wait to see them finally go down the hard road to becoming manga artists.