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Bakuman 102

[scanlation by SleepyFans]

“Awkward” doesn’t come close to describing Mashiro’s expressions and reactions. Clearly, he isn’t comfortable with Takagi branching out on his own yet, but Mashiro isn’t the type to speak up about it at all, much less in front of the involved parties themselves.

Eyes are not meant to look like that

At least Takagi is still thinking about improving for the sake of Ashirogi, instead of focusing on his own individual success. Still, something about this just doesn’t feel right. Perhaps it’s how abruptly we’re being pushed towards long-term plot involving a character as recently introduced as Shiratori?

Aoki Ko serving as the judge for Treasure is another subtle sign of the progression of time and the success of our core cast of characters.

Mashiro definitely has issues with this. The scenes of him watching the impromptu Rabuta & Peace meeting from afar add a tinge of sadness to the existing overwhelming awkwardness.

I want a PCP coffee mug.

This is quite a bit of exposition on Shiratori. I’m perfectly fine with him as a supporting character, but I have some serious reservations about his sudden rise to prominence in the plot. It’s rare that I question Ohba’s writing, but the pacing surrounding Shiratori is unusual at best, and jarring at worst.

The exchange between Hattori and Shiratori about Shiratori’s career desires is another example of the over-importance of Shiratori right now. Frankly, the more that’s being made of him, the less I find myself caring about him and plot related to him.

Sorry, I can't be forced to care about him

Rabuta & Peace is set to run in Jump, skipping over the possibility of Treasure or Next. Then, even more pages of convoluted Shiratori story, this time focusing more intently on his family drama. Really, this is getting ridiculous.

Leave it to Kaya to bring some sense to an otherwise increasingly alien chapter. Her take on Mashiro is absolutely spot-on, and Takagi needs to realize she’s right before the plot moves too far away from its original direction.

Where would the series be without her?

It has seemed for a while that Bakuman could be nearing its end relatively soon, and while I’d be happy with more chapters than expected of such a good series, a rift between Mashiro and Takagi seems more like a way to unnecessarily stretch out extra mileage from a series rather than contributing positively to the overall plot, particularly if said rift is caused by such an irrelevant character as Shiratori.

Final Flash: I have enough faith in Ohba to be optimistic and hope this is nothing more than a small stumble in the plot instead of a massive fall in quality.

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