Bakuman, episode 18: So close and so far

Dammit. Dammit. Dammit. I really enjoyed the first 20 minutes of this episode. And being with Nizuma, Nakai and Fukuda has been a tremendous great influence on Mashiro. But just when things were lining up well, and Mashiro was getting back in my good graces, the shit went completely off the rails again. This is the most exasperating show I’ve ever watched.


Mangaka being mangaka. The discussions amongst the four guys have been the most interesting part of the show. And Fukuda, while coming off initially as a jerk, has helped Nizuma more than Nakai, Mashiro or the editors combined. He also has some really good ideas concerning Jack’s manga ordering and questionnaire practices, although now I really question his taste in manga, after he reveals ToLoveRu as his favorite manga. I thought that manga got cancelled? Anyway, Fukuda makes some good points about how Jack’s policies create a situation where almost all their mangas start out the same – with a big, bad hero doing something splashy in the first episode. With that in mind, I think it makes Hattori’s initial decision to try to sneak Takagi and Mashiro in through the back door with an atypical manga even ballsier in retrospect. He obviously knew everything Fukuda explained, but was willing to take a big chance on the duo.


After Fukuda gives Nizuma advice to plan his story out, he get a short, but nice little insight into Nizuma’s past and personal life. One thing I have been adamant about and have repeatedly railed Mashiro for was his lacking "love of the game." I think the love of the game is apparent for Nizuma, someone who’s grown up his whole life creating characters and drawing manga, non-stop. It’s also apparent for a guy like Nakai who keeps failing and failing, and despite being ancient, continuing to believe in himself. I’m just going to assume it’s there for Fukuda too, although we know less of his background.


But for Mashiro? It wasn’t there. Takagi sparked a shell of interest, but it was driven by ulterior motives. No Miho, no mangaka. I guarantee you that. But hanging with Nizuma and Nakai and hearing their stories, it seemed like it rekindled Mashiro’s true love of the game. I felt like I was getting a different vibe from him. He was much more self-driven, much more driven by his joy in creating manga, not in chasing a piece of ass. So when Mashiro tried to quit on the spot, I sort of forgave him, even though it was a complete dick move. Thankfully he agreed to finish the chapter with the rest of the crew, proving he wasn’t a completely self-absorbed prick.


But Mashiro’s love of the game gets hijacked by his jealousy, as he criticizes Takagi on hanging out with Miyoshi so much instead of working on the name. That was a show of complete and utter lack of faith. Mashiro forgets that the only reason they placed as high as they did in NEXT was because of Takagi’s story. He also forgets that Takagi is the one who started driving the train. A little show of faith is required here.


But after showing his first true self-driven motivation. All that gets thrown aside with the re-entrance of Miho. And Mashiro vowing to write his own thing after getting inspired by some insipid hallmark bullshit she spewed out in response to his very logical question, "why is she ok with them not seeing each other." FFFUUUUUU! This girl makes me feel so uncharacteristically misogynistic. I demand Mashiro join a monastery with Nizuma, Fukuda, Nakai and Takagi. Dammit I hate this girl.


Oh, and in other news Miyoshi’s cellphone novel may be getting published, which probably means she’s going to get an anime before Mashiro and Takagi.

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