After a one and half season hiatus I’ve decided to review the second season of Bakuman. I needed something non-offensive, light, airy and altogether so-so, for me to get back into the swing of things. I some what enjoyed the first season and am now all caught up on season 2. Read on to examine my pitiful attempt to reinvigorate my interest in anime, by way of two over-excitable young men and their dreams of being mangakas!
If I remember the first season correctly, middle school students, Takagi and Mashiro, daydreamers and part-time lovers, form a lifelong partnership after discovering their shared interest in manga. Takagi writes and Mashiro draws. Mashiro is the nephew of a kind of successful serialized author and victim of manga itself. That’s right, manga killed Mashiro’s Uncle.
Both guys also have hot girlfriends. Takagi is dating the under-dressed tomboy, Miyoshi, one of my favorites in the first season. Mashiro is together, but not together, with the doll-like Miho Azuki. After a dramatic confession, the two plan to get married and make lots of beautiful babies, but only after they both recognize their dreams. Boring, but whatever.
The guys take on the pen name, Ashirogi Muto, as they enter the shounen world of manga publishing. It’s pretty much standard tease and denial. They’re very talented and keep doing their best, but new challenges and rivals always seem to pop up. There are setbacks, blah blah, and blah blah. Let’s get on to this season, since it’s wrapping up fairly soon.
The season begins as the two have their manga, “Detective Trap” serialized in Shounen Jack. I like Detective Trap, and was angry when it was dropped early in the season. One of the big changes the pair face in the second season is a new editor, Miura, after Hattori is removed to work on other things. Miura is a stupid fat jerk who I hate. It feels like he’s the tool (heh), that the creators have used to advance all the challenges Ashirogi Muto face. He makes horrible decisions, has a horrible sense of humor and is laughed at by his fellow editors behind his back. I would think he is anyway.
Let’s see.. what else happens? Miho Azuki, the walking precious moment, continues her own struggle to become a voice actress–even showing some integrity but not participating in an idol photo book. I wanted to her to do it. All the other mangakas return in the second season as well. Nijuima Ejzi is still the king of Shounen Jack and still considers the main duo as his main rival. Fukuda, the bad-ass prematurely gray author, and the timid Ko Aoki are both serialized at the beginning of the season season.
There’s a lot of time given to the other mangakas in the second season, which I liked overall. With the exception of the overweight Nakai, who showed his true colors–no, not beef and pork–as he becomes number one Bakuman stalker. My favorite character in the season season is easily Hiramaru. Shown briefly in the first season, he’s the guy who picks up a manga for the first time and decides to quit his day job and create his own series. All of his Otter 11 scenes in season 2 are easily better than all the other scenes put together times two. Whether it’s his continued attempts to avoid work, his multiple photographs of Aoki, or the Otter 11 scenes themselves, Hiramaru is a nice gag-like compliment to some of the other so-so humor of the series.
There’s also the return of Iwase-san, Takagi and Mashiro’s classmate from middle school, who provides an interesting, but not really that interesting, spark later in season 2. She returns to renew her rivalry with Takagi, by joining with Nizuma Eiji to create a new top-rated serialization.
The return of Iwase also furthers the relationship of Takagi and Miyoshi, who get engaged by way of misunderstanding, and later get married in episode…something. I forget. The Mashiro X Azuki relationship also gets a little heavier as the two come face to face after some medical problems arise. They even touch each other. It was hot. Beyond that, it’s much of the same “overcoming challenges” type fare we’re accustomed to with Bakuman. In episode 22, the fellas once again hit their stride, working on their new title.
One thing I find really enjoyable about the series is the manga editing and publishing scenes. It’s interesting how they cater to demographics, almost panhandling to their readers by way of gags, girls, panty shots, battles and a variety of other things–all while Bakuman itself is doing the same thing. My sensibility would almost be offended by this, if only I gave a shit.
If I had to summon up the second season in one word, it would be–repetitive, repetitive–with the extra repetitive for added emphasis. The small time skips are nice and almost aid in moving the season along, but seriously, the same things happen over and over. So much damn struggle! It’s frustrating to watch at times for this very reason. If Hattori remains their editor, Ashirogi-senpai is an international star. Can’t the editor-in-chief in all his infinite wisdom see this?
I don’t have many more thoughts. This is an easy to watch series, at times slightly humorous, sometimes touching, very, very repetitive, but steady to a certain degree. I will say that the above screenshot cracked me the fuck up! If there was one false-manga created by the characters in the series, Otters 11 would easily be my choice. What do you think?
I’ll be writing about the last few episodes of Bakuman 2 as well. I don’t know when it ends, but it would be nice it if was sooner rather than later. Also, I’ll take a look at the upcoming season to see if there’s anything worthwhile. Thanks for reading!