I just realised that I went the whole of the last Bakuman post without mentioning sexism. That’s like going through an Ore no Imouto post without whinging about incest or an Arakawa post without saying how much better the first season was. I must remember to get in my obligatory repeated complaint in every single post. Must not let my readers down. Must continue to draw from the spirit of Jason Miao and repeat the same tired jokes ad nauseum.
The Romance Sucks
Let’s put this as bluntly as possible. The romance side of Bakuman is horrendous for so many different reasons. There are ways to get too-pure girl and too-pure boy in a charming and entertaining relationship together, but this just goes way beyond the point of actual interest. It’s so mind-numbingly wishy-washy. But the worst part is how seriously it’s all taken. They play dramatic music when he’s running to her house just to look in her window. It’s so bland and stupidly idealised that it sucks the life out of the series. Watching the romance has the same effect of listening to the opening song on repeat. It has the energy of a damp noodle and about the same excitement of one too. Reader’s might think that, because I don’t generally like shojo, I’m a poor person to show romance series to. But I have a heart and love a well-constructed romance as much as the next guy. Maybe I’m a slightly harsher critic on romance, but for gods sake, Bakuman is terrible no matter what way you look at it.
Pierrot > JC Staff
First off, no. I don’t believe what I just wrote as the title to this point. I’m not the biggest fan of JC Staff and I am rather tired of them churning out the same highschool girl action/moe crap every season, but they’re a hell of a lot better than Pierrot. The point I’m trying to make is that Bakuman is a shounen anime. A slightly unconventional one, but it still bears the hallmarks of manly shounen power of trying your best to succeed and all that jazz. Yet JC Staff made it clear from the first episode that they’re taking this from the perspective of a s’life romance series about achieving your dreams. That’s why they got Kasai Kenichi to direct the thing. The way he’s handling this is pretty similar to the way he handled Honey and Clover and Nodame Cantabile. But as the latest episodes have shown, this show excels when it’s the two boys chasing their dreams in true shounen style. So as clear as it is that JC Staff are a better studio than Pierrot, maybe you should leave the shounen to ones who know what it is they’re adapting.
Bechdel Test passed?
Sexism again! Remember the Bechdel Test I mentioned back in episode 5? For those too lazy to click on the link, the qualifications to pass that test was for the show in question to have 1) At least two girl 2) Who talk to each other 3) About something other than men. For a second I thought Bakuman had passed the test when the girls talked on the phone about the dead cat. However the dead cat story was a cover up for something that happened involving a man, so it doesn’t pass on that technicallity. However I’ve since realised an awful lot of my top anime don’t pass the test. Death Note failing was kinda expected, but from my top 20 alone, so does Baccano, Chobits, Gankutsuou, Mushishi, Berserk, Samurai Champloo, Cromartie, Akira, Kaiba (discounting scenes were Kaiba is in the body of a girl), Cowboy Bebop (no, Faye talking to Ed doesn’t count. You can’t strictly have a ‘conversation’ with Ed) and Detroit Metal City. Some of those that do pass only barely do so with maybe only one female duo that converse throughout the series, like Code Geass, Last Exile, Eden of the East, FMA and Gurren Lagann. All that’s left is School Rumble, Hare Guu and Love Hina. So much for anime being as equal in the sexes as I first thought. Or maybe I’m just sexist. Rawr rawr make me a sandwich etc.
They’ve been slowly revealing Eji’s character at the end of episodes as cliffhangers, in much the same way Durarara slowly revealed Shizuo, so presumably he’s a character worth waiting for. Mind you, it’s hard to top clocking the main villain of the series with a projectile bin as far as entrance scenes go. Revealing that you want to discontinue any manga of your choice is pretty dramatic, but does fail compared to hurtling bins. Still, looking forward to him taking a more active role in the story. Will be nice to have a rival in this anime.