Great, another episode of Bakuman to write about. How am I going to come up with something worthwhile to say this week? Oh well, might as well get cracking…
Big Brother Mangaka
To think the only thing Bakuman had to do was stick a bunch of aspiring mangaka in a room together, Big Brother style, and let them chat to each other for the show to become genuinely good. It was fun to watch them bounce ideas off each other. They’re all different enough personality wise to produce different enough results. Shujin and Saiko together are fun to watch, but they’re a bit too normal and similar for as interesting a conversation to occur as in this episode. There’s Saiko, the regular yet talented kid, the new guy, who is a right dick, but that’s exactly what Bakuman needed anyway, the old bloke, who I’ll talk about later, and Nizuma, who..well, is Nizuma. If anything, I’d be disappointed if they became too friendly with each other. The real reason they were such fun in this episode was because they still weren’t sure how to act around each other.
Nizuma actually listening to someone
I’m not sure if Nizuma is quite as difficult to get to change his ways as perhaps his editor makes him out to be. Sure, when he’s in the zone it’s hard to get anything through to him, and there’s the whole deal with him changing his mind about what manga of his he wanted to get serialised, but he’s shown on more than one occasion that he does listen to advice. That is, providing you have his attention in the first place. Honestly, the problem has been simply getting the guy to listen in the first place. It was cool to see the guy do a 180 with his policy on names. While I’m talking about Nizuma, spare a thought for the poor seiyuu who has to perform every single high pitched screech. He won’t have a voice by the end of this anime.
The character that really rose this episode above all others, though, was the old guy. 33 years old and trapped in the vortex of eternal assistant. Yeah the white haired guy was a dick, but it was because what he said was true that stung. It was more than just what the white haired kid was saying though. Nizuma calling the others sensei but not him, even though he was the oldest there. Saiko having exuberant conversations about manga with the other two, leaving him out cold, overwhelmed by their enthusiasm. It hurt watching him. Every extra scene with the guy was like a knife in the gut, turning with every realisation that he’s long since past it. I want, more than anything, for the guy to succeed, but he never will though, will he? Compared to the youth he’s with, he simply hasn’t got it. It hurt man!
While this was the best episode of Bakuman so far, it was essentially just talking for 20 minutes. The anime needs to add something else that the manga doesn’t already have. But lordy me did they go about that wrong. Instead of playing to anime’s strengths, they decided to try alter the focus of the story to the romance. Bad, bad move, as I’ve discussed far too many times before. Stay to the true strengths of the original (aka let’s make manga wooh~!) but add something else. It needs some dynamic directing. I’m not sure what, but something beyond talking heads anyway. The Death Note anime added dramatic angles, latin chanting and a whole load of nifty artwork and animation tricks to take it above and beyond the manga. I’m not sure what you could do, but take the above scene as an example. Nizuma and Saiko discussing manga through the view of feather pens. Surely you could do something interesting with that?