The roller coaster ride of extreme emotions that is Bakuman~
~Oh, why is it always Bakuman that I must sacrifice and save to do a huge recap post for? I don’t think I’ve done one this big since Bakuman’s previous season in January. Luckily my first semester at college is winding down a bit at the moment, so let’s get this on before the work starts piling on again!
While Takagi and Mashiro worked their way at Jack New Year’s party, Azuki was presented with an option to do a photobook; something which could make her a popular idol and become a stepping stone into becoming a popular voice actress as well. If she doesn’t do it, she could lose her chance at becoming a voice actress all together. Mashiro and Takagi come across their own problems as well as they try to get used to their assistants and face the possibility they could be cut from their third chapter. All the while, Mashiro notices that Azuki hasn’t messaged him in a while. He manages to ask her if she’s fine one day after school, and she tells him about the photobook, which might include some swimsuit shots. Alarmed, he tries to call her, but Azuki doesn’t answer.
Mashiro ends up getting her address from Miyoshi to go see her for himself. With their manuscript still needing work, Takagi tries to stop Mashiro but fails, and instead has Miyoshi call Azuki’s home line so he can talk to her mother. He has her give the phone to Azuki and he tells her about Mashiro coming to her house. She finally calls Mashiro, telling him that she didn’t pick up because she didn’t want him to hear her sounding depressed….In the end, Azuki still gets an audition, a sign she can continue her voice actress work, and the boys get their first chapter serialized. Hoping they’d get first place, it turns out TRAP gets third place. While Miura tells them they should be happy, they still don’t feel quite as satisfied as he is.
Meanwhile, Aoki, refusing to edit the plot for Hideout door, decides to start a serialization with KOOGY. Words get to Nakai and he rushes to Aoki’s house, pleading with her not to. As she tells him that it’s his art that can’t convey the story, he promises to practice every night after working at Niizuma’s by sitting at a park bench that’s behind her apartment complex. Word gets out even to Mashiro and Takagi, who start to worry, and end up calling Fukuda for details. Every moment he’s not working, Nakai gets out and draws in the park, just like he promised, even fending off bullies who almost beat him. One night it starts to snow, finally prompting Fukuda to force Nakai out of the park, especially after a worried call from Mashiro. Nakai of course refuses to move when Fukuda tries to get him alone. As he, Ashirogi, and Miyoshi, came back from the train station, they find Aoki holding an umbrella over Nakai, telling that she was doubtful of her story, but didn’t want to admit it.
Ashirogi began to clash with Miura in episode 4 as TRAP’s ranking starts falling slowly. With this realization, the sudden announcement of Fukuda’s Kiyoshi Knight and Nakai-Aoki’s Hideout Door beginning serialization, and the quick cancellation to Baked Cheese, a manga they were following a similar path to, Takagi suddenly decides to change Chapter 7’s storyboard. Miura is frustrated by this and starts wondering if the path TRAP is taking is good, even asking around the Editors’ office for opinions (which end up conflicting and confusing him even more).
At their meeting, Miura tells them firmly that he thinks their current place of 9th place is good enough. Takagi however thinks they should be trying to aim higher and improve, but Miura continues his argument by saying their best option is to stay patient and let the mystery get established. After some thinking to himself, Mashiro decides it is better to stick to what they’re doing, saying that Takagi’s stories are good and that Niizuma himself thought it was great they’re doing something different in Jack. Takagi finally agrees, giving no changes to chapter 7.
TRAP’s ranking falls as suspected, but with some feedback from Takahama, Takagi decides to make it more light-hearted by studying comedy. Miura comes with a similar idea as he brings books of famous quotes, saying he should polish the dialogue. Suddenly, TRAP’s ranking starts to rise, and as Mashiro watches Shuujin and Miura working hard to improve, he decides to do so as well with his art (where he starts to look more noticeably ill each moment). More exciting news rolls in as TRAP’s 14th chapter ends up tying for third place with Crow! Their first volume also gets 100, 000 prints, which is rare for a newly serialized manga to get. Ogawa even compliments Mashiro on his stunning improvement on his art. One morning however, Takahama and Kato come into the studio to find Mashiro collapsed on the floor. When Takahama makes a joke about him being dead, Kato screams, which surprisingly doesn’t wake Mashiro up. Still being unresponsive, the panicking sets in…
Miura is soon called and he quickly goes to the hospital with Hattori, who saw the stunned look on his face. At the hospital, Mashiro’s mother, Takagi, and even Kato are there, all waiting to hear about Mashiro’s condition. It turns out he needs a surgery to remove a part of his liver with three months of rest to follow. Mashiro wants to continue working while in the hospital, but his mother, the doctor, and Hattori strongly urge him not to. Takagi even starts to feel that it’s a bad idea when Mashiro secretly calls him to bring the manuscript to his room during visitor hours. In an attempt to stop him, Takagi calls the one person who could possibly convince him more than anyone…
The next day Azuki suddenly visits Mashiro, only standing by the door to fulfill their promise of not meeting until their dreams come true. She tries to make him say to her he won’t draw until he’s out of the hospital by saying she’ll hate him. Mashiro doesn’t fall for it, knowing she wouldn’t be able to. Azuki then begins to tell him about when she first started to like him. In 4th grade, she really liked a painting he did for a festival and became interested in him. Then in 5th grade, at the swim meet where Mashiro first noticed her, she did her best to convery her feelings to him by staring at him from across the pool. While Azuki’s story still doesn’t get him to stop drawing, it does get him to actually meet her on the way to calling Takagi to bring the manuscript.
Niizuma decides to visit after hearing the news, but upon seeing Mashiro working on the color spread for Chapter 20, he goes back with a smile, knowing he’s just fine. Yuujirou however sees this and calls Miura, who quickly comes by. While trying to show just how fine he is enough to draw in the hospital, Mashiro starts bucking over in pain, still refusing to stop. Azuki even goes along with him, helping him hold up a color pen…~
End thoughts: Oh boy, where do I begin with five episodes worth of inner rants, fangirling and freak-out gibberish? First off, I knew something bad would happen! Too many good things were going on, man! Not to mention they made Mashiro look more terrifyingly sick almost every scene change. It’s just so tragic to see all their worries finally get settled, their work to finally tie with Eiji and raise all this hope, to then have something…scary just plunge them back into worry. Episode six become incredibly tense, especially with Mashiro’s poor mother being there as well. I honestly would be a bit offended as well hearing Miura talk about finishing the manuscript with my sick child in the hospital. I literally cringed at that part; it’s just bad. Yet as tense as it was, I think episode 6 was probably my favorite episode out of this bunch. It was well-done animation wise, along with the lead-in that was episode 5.
Speaking of tense episodes, episode 4 was pretty nerve-racking as well. Their little showdown with Miura was interesting since I had been waiting from them to sort of stand up to him. He’s just so calm about their declining rank. It’s not following the extreme we-can-always-improve-and-make-it-even-better attitude that they have and that even I’m used to. It sucks to see that Hattori can only watch now! As for the Nakai and Aoki conflict in episode 3, I honestly think Nakai is kind of creepy and sad, but he actually had his noble, but crazy, moment when trying to get Aoki back to work on Hideout Door with him. KOOGY better not show up again though. He is not needed at all in this story now or ever again in my opinion.
I keep forgetting what a cute couple Azuki and Mashiro are. Seeing them FINALLY together in episode 6 makes me realize this. AZUKI ACTUALLY WENT TO SEE HIM, WAH~ I think I might have fangirled a bit on that scene, even more so when they were actually close to each other. It was great to finally get Azuki’s perspective on how she started to like Mashiro, which turned out to be oh so cute. Now I can understand and actually believe her feelings for him better than just hearing about promises and such. Their scene together in episode 2 though honestly had me wanting to laugh a little. It just seemed so overly-dramatic animated. I mean, in the manga I actually took it seriously since you can tell it’s on purpose for style, but their faces, the music; it was too much for me. All in all, Bakuman has taken a faster pace without any sort of agonizing lulls (at the moment) and a interesting, but a bit scary, turn of events that’s quite pleasing to watch. Now time for the agonizing wait to see what the editor-in-chief has to say about TRAP~.
I think we all know pretty well Ashirogi won’t accept a hiatus of any sorts, but can they really go up against the editor-in-chief and his decision concerning TRAP’s serialization? Until next week then~!!