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Bakuman 92

July 4, 2010 1 comment
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Azuki is up for a role in Natural. Excellent. Anything to further involve Iwase (and her jealousy) with the main storyline is acceptable.

Mashiro is suitably shocked.

Perfect expression

Excellent maturity displayed by Mashiro. It would be terrible of him to try to influence Azuki’s career.

Awkward intervention by Takagi and Kaya. They’re clearly doing it for the sake of both Mashiro and Azuki, but it comes off as meddling more than concern.

Even Eiji realizes that Azuki shouldn’t try out for the role. Good man.

Explanation behind the Ashirogi name! That’s adorable. Now, to understand “Muto” (unless I missed it ages ago).

Eiji is too excellent. Of course he would understand how nice of a dream Ashirogi shares.

Azuki turns it down herself. What a great moment.

Convenient image

Mashiro to the rescue, too! This couple may be stubborn, but that stubbornness makes moments like this that much sweeter.

Clearly, the focal point of this chapter is the relationship between Mashiro and Azuki, but this is also an amazing Eiji chapter.

That said, the last page is reassuring and heartwarming.

Final Flash: Cute chapter. It wasn’t the most in-depth chapter, nor did it progress the story too much, but it was still fun.

Bakuman 91

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Well done of Hattori to try to cool down Ashirogi’s focus on popularity. The most popular art in any medium is born from passion, not from an intent to fabricate success.

Fukuda is trying a racing series? That would certainly be interesting in the pages of real-world Shonen Jump. It’s a genre that isn’t often explored in popular shonen magazines.

I really like Fukuda. His ambition, sense of competition, and determination should earn him some more spotlight.

So much wrong here

I’d give so much for a real-life publication of one issue of the fictional Shonen Jump in Bakuman. On top of how creative the series are, Obata makes the covers look excellent.

Kaya, adorable as always

Road Racer seems to be going over well. While I obviously hope for Perfect Crime Party to do the best, Fukuda deserves some success.

P7, bottom panels: Obata has clearly given the internet a new “reaction face” picture set. I’ve cleaned the speech bubbles for you; fill in your own blanks, internet.

Get ready to see this everywhere

P10: Glorious reaction. Everything about this two-page spread is excellent. Mashiro’s reaction, Takagi trying to keep quiet, Kaya not wanting to be overlooked, Hattori incredulous, etc. Fantastic page.

Racer is being serialized! Excellent news.

We get another peek at Iwase, in her now-common fury. This is a nice scene, but we’ve had a few like it before. It’s time to explore her further as a character.

PCP got more votes than Crow. Tremendous sign.

P17: Absolutely stunning page. Incredible.

Very few series could effectively follow such a touching and beautiful moment with a truly funny scene. Bakuman is one of those series.

No longer serious

Final Flash: Overwhelmingly excellent chapter.

Bakuman 90

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P2, top-left panel: I don’t recall Hattori ever being audibly shocked like that. Good sign.

Didn’t expect to see Nakai again. He really disgraced himself when last we saw him. If he’s going to rejoin the main cast, he needs to make up for his mistakes.

Seems like Takagi is still stuck in a Tanto mindset. That’s not entirely bad, in a way. Perfect Crime Club (or whatever it shall soon be named) needs to be drastically different, but Takagi still needs to incorporate what he’s learned from Tanto.

Meeting new assistants is exciting. Really solidifies the sense of publication.

Mashiro has evolved so much as a character. It’s great to see him taking charge of the assistants.

P13, bottom panel: Fantastic! Comical, but also a great example of a confident Mashiro.

P15, second panel: Interestingly drawn panel. The angle, light source, shadow, and facial expression are rather rare for Obata.

Excellent concept for the characters’ names. Pity roman lettering doesn’t lend itself to interesting nuances like that.

… oh dear. PCP. Perfect Crime Party is actually a clever, great name, but… PCP. It’s unfortunate no one at (real-life) Shueisha caught and corrected this, because that’s an instant punchline every time someone new from the Western world reads the series.

P19, top-right panel: Not sure I’ve ever seen speed lines for characters bending over a table. Well, in an all-ages series, at least.

Final Flash: Great chapter. Fun new assistants, a peek into the life of an old character, and some solid development for Ashirogi’s new series.

Bakuman 89

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This is interesting insight into the dynamism of a mangaka duo. I wonder if Obata prefers to receive names or manuscripts.

P2, bottom panel: Kaya has been written as such a good character that even tiny, seemingly-throwaway scenes of her like this are enjoyable.

Same goes for page 3. Ashirogi Muto wouldn’t be nearly as strong a team without Kaya as support.

P4, center panel: Kaya with adorable-lazy-Obata face!

I can see some serious lesson-learning coming for Miura in the near future. Just picking up the manuscript can’t be enough in a working relationship like this.

Eiji, still fantastic. He’s an unusual cross between a rival and a mentor figure, at times. (Well, he’s always unusual.) It’s going to be fun to see if Miura can actually contribute anything, or if he’ll just be swept away by Eiji’s pace and brilliance. With Perfect Crime Club poised to succeed, I look forward to little more than Eiji having to get serious.

P7, top-right: Eiji gets the Obata-face this time!

“He’s probably psychic” is a great line when delivered as deadpan as Hattori intends it.

P10, right panel: Great facial expression on Mashiro. Obata doesn’t draw faces like that often.

There’s already a movie by that name? What a nice, odd touch.

A couple great series being referenced on page 12, though I find Slam Dunk to be considerably more excellent.

As expected, Iwase is now a handful. She’s already fantastic in this role. That said, she’s not wrong; Miura should be providing more insight for his authors. He’s going to find it tough to again follow Hattori.

Of course Hiramaru carries around an Otters 11 figure in his jacket. I would, too, if I had one. (Hey, Shueisha…) Also, how can Aoki not be impressed by that Otters 11 figure? I just don’t understand women sometimes.

Mashiro’s solution for the main character seems rather reminiscent of Sket Dance: Completely ordinary kid with exceedingly ordinary “power-up.” Still, considering the main character of Perfect Crime Club needs to be ordinary for the story to work, this has potential.

Final Flash: Engaging developmental chapter. The series will need to move soon from the preparatory stages of Perfect Crime Club to actual publishing and competition with Eiji.

Bakuman 88

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Hattori, no! You’re perfect for the job!

I’m glad to see Fukuda is still trying to compete with Eiji and Ashirogi. He’s a fun character who deserves some more spotlight.

Chief is one of the more complex characters of this series. He’s in a position where he must stand up for Shueisha, and is rightfully pessimistic towards Ashirogi, yet he is clearly kind enough to allow them the chance they took. Surely, Perfect Crime Club will be competing with Eiji before 25 chapters.

I want an Otters 11 figure. Please don’t let me down, Shueisha merchandising department.

Hiramaru’s obsession with Aoki Ko is priceless. He even gets a phone call this chapter! Maybe he has a chance. … maybe. (…)

Within a few panels of having met up with Ashirogi again, Hattori is already proving why he’s invaluable to them.

Considering how much of the focus has been on the stories Ashirogi have come up with lately, it’s refreshing to see so much focus on Mashiro’s art.

Miura ended up growing on me. It took quite a while, but I’m just a little sad to see him leave. That said, I’m far more happy to see Hattori return.

Takagi providing only the text is a fantastic idea, as already evidenced by Mashiro posing in a manner befitting of Eiji.

The last panel of the chapter is perfect! I can think of no better role for Iwase than the spurned girl. Extremely happy about this turn of events.

Final Flash: Great chapter. Watching Ashirogi try to be serialized again was quite good, but there’s a completely different kind of excitement about watching them actually create.

Bakuman 87

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Come on, chief. Don’t be a dick.

Page 1 is setting up the inverse of last chapter. It’s too pessimistic to actually follow through like this. Surely there’s a positive twist.

Yeah, everyone is too depressed. Surely it gets in.

P7: Hooray! I don’t care about being right; I was rooting for this to happen. We can finally move on to Ashirogi competing with Eiji again. Also, middle panel on this page is pretty funny. That lovable jerk. Also, someone is bringing up Hattori’s love life in the meeting? That’s fantastic.

P10, top panel: This is just about how I feel. It may be a silly scene, but it perfectly captures the moment.

P11, bottom-right panel: Seeing an Obata character with the trademark Obata “serious expression” with cake all over his face is extremely funny.

P13: Wow. Hattori gets the job. I’m torn on this one. I’m happy, because Hattori had always been the best choice, but I’m a little disappointed, both because Miura had finally started to grow up, and (more importantly) because Hattori is working with Eiji.

P18: Oh, never mind. Excellent! A switch is pretty much spot on.

P19: What?! What’s wrong with Hattori?

Final Flash: Blissful chapter with some fantastic individual scenes and a puzzling ending.

Bakuman 86

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This is it.

Positive reactions right off the bat. Hoping not to be swerved.

P3, bottom-right panel: Priceless expression.

Ooh, that cake is appetizing.

Whoa, Azuki can bake! Crafty little move there by Kaya.

That is such an amazing gift idea. How sweet.

It’s rather amusing to see a legal notice about a Wham/George Michael song in manga.

And there’s the swerve. I’m not at all surprised to see that it’s not being voted in unanimously, but for it to have to be judged as superior to Crow and Natural at the meeting is harsh.

Of course it came down to chief. Another cliffhanger.

Final Flash: I enjoyed the heartwarming Mashiro/Azuki stuff, but at the same time, I really want to find out if Perfect Crime Club gets in. Having to wait at least one more week hurts.

Bakuman 83

April 23, 2010 3 comments
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Finally. I’ve been anxious to find out what the postcard signifies.

P2, middle panel: Very reminiscent of Yagami Light. Except, you know… that it’s about trailing someone instead of murder.

It’s great how seriously they’re taking this, turning off their phones and all.

Masks and sunglasses! This is fun.

Hattori’s selections at the bookstore: Absolutely priceless. This is exactly how to properly weave a narrative. Characters don’t always have to come out and explain plot.

Wow. Iwase looks gorgeous. As always, Obata’s art makes a great story even better.

“Your youth is certainly dazzling”? Hilarious.

Follow that taxi! This will be a fantastic episode when the anime gets this far.

So happy to hear that Hattori wanted to be their editor after all. I (like many others) always presumed as such, but it’s good to hear reassurance.

Takagi is finally inspired. After such an enjoyable chapter, I have huge hopes for whatever he comes up with.

Final Flash: Excellent chapter. The tone was a refreshing change of pace, we got to see a little more than expected from some side characters, and Takagi has an idea. Very fun read.

Bakuman 82

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Excellent cover page. Absolutely love the colors.

The first (non-cover) page is a perfect example of when to use speed lines and blank backgrounds! Great contrast between the large panel and the stark bottom panels.

True to life, Bleach gets some semblance of mention on the Jump cover. This brings back up an interesting discussion: What series are currently running in the fictional Bakuman version of Jump? We’ve seen several real-life series mentioned, but with also several series by fictional mangaka. I wonder if fictional Jump is simply larger to accommodate both real-life and fictional series, or if the fictional series replace any real-life series (and if so, which?).

Aiming for serious humor is a brilliant idea.

Weekly Aoki Ko! Amazing.

It’s nice to see the other authors’ assistants.

A postcard from Hattori? Huh. No idea what that could be about.

Final Flash: Lacks the impact of previous chapters, but contains quite a bit of necessary development.

Bakuman 81

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Whoa, Mashiro. Your finger. It’s huge.

I’m liking Hattori’s plan. I like just about anything Hattori is involved with. How much would this manga lose without Hattori?

“Think One Piece and [Dragon Quest II: Dai no Daibouken].” Brilliant line.

Confident-Mashiro has taken this manga to a new level. I’m glad he’s on the same page as Hattori (through Miura).

I love how Eiji can pick up on tiny personal insecurities by reading a script.

“Magma of Stopper”… may not be the best title ever. Keep going, though, you guys are great.

Finally, the culmination. Great time for color pages next chapter.

Final Flash: The great thing about Bakuman’s unique genre is that chapters such as these, which might ordinarily be labeled “transitional” or “setup” chapters, feel just as exciting, interesting, and necessary as the chapters with shocking plot twists.

Bakuman 80

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It seems Ashirogi are aware that Hattori is helping them. Not bad.

I understand culture difference, but I don’t think I could live in a situation where I could be presented with a dinner like Takagi is facing.

Money and Intelligence and Appearance may not be catchy in English, but I like the idea, and KTM is pretty catchy.

Takagi’s mention of Chanel lipstick hints that he may soon walk a very thin line between creativity and upsetting his marriage.

Top-left panel, p10: Priceless.

It’s so exciting to watch a rejuvenated Ashirogi.

“Want to take a bath together?” Go for it, Takagi!

Considering all the buildup was contained to this chapter, I’m not surprised KTM didn’t make the cut. Also, I’m happy for Shizuka’s sake that True Human did.

Final Flash: Extremely anxious to find out what Saiko realized. Great chapter.

Bakuman 79

“I don’t think we can beat him. I want to beat him.” Very intelligent, mature line.

Finally, Miura starts to support Ashirogi. It’s taken long enough.

Takagi! That’s the ambitious writer we knew.

It’s so refreshing to see Ashirogi excited again.

The faces in the middle-left panel of page 14 are hilarious.

Very interesting dialogue between Niizuma and Hattori.

Miura’s apartment suits him rather well.

Hattori and Miura working together! Excellent. Ashirogi have missed Hattori’s influence.

Final Flash: Pretty much the best possible outcome. I look forward to few series’ weekly releases as much as Bakuman.

Bakuman 78

All marital issues should be solved with rock-paper-scissors.

Top-left panel of page 5 is amusingly reminiscent of Death Note.

Miyoshi, everyone wants to play Quoits.

(Yes, I had to google Quoits.)

Wow. I had Yamahisa pegged as a shady character, but that was a pretty great speech. Too bad it didn’t go over well with anyone but me, it seems.

Miura: Learn something.

The shock reaction running joke is hilarious.

Mashiro finally displaying confidence in wanting to quit is a great step forward for the series.

Oh wow. What a last page.

Final Flash: Every change of direction this manga takes is a fresh, exciting step forward.

Bakuman 77

Very interesting conversation between Mashiro and Azuki. Beyond how great it is that they’re talking, even.

“Our love is still growing.” Hooray!

Hattori’s role is growing by the chapter. I’m not complaining whatsoever.

Final Flash: Excellent final page. Excellent chapter.

Bakuman 76

I love the dialogue between Hattori and Yujiro, particularly Yujiro pushing for Hattori to accept Akino’s feelings.

In fact, this is a fantastic Hattori chapter overall.

“I dunno about that” is perfect for how awkwardly Tanto is being treated.

Great tension and buildup towards… something? Mashiro has to crack soon.

Eiji on TV! Still as lovably weird as ever. He calls out Ashirogi as his rival! Wow.

Mashiro breaks down, directly calls Azuki while crying and confesses to wanting to quit Tanto? Fantastic.

Final Flash: Brilliant chapter, and a huge, long-awaited plot point. The series just keeps improving. Very excited to read further.