I really kept my ear to the ground this week and tried to actively listen for the background music in episode 2 so that I could comment on it. In doing so, I noticed that in many scenes they don't use any background music at all. Even in scenes that are just conversation, the ambient background is often very quiet until some great revelation is point of thought is made. These choices on when to start and stop the background music are brilliant. It brings importance to certain mmoments that might not have come through as well if there had been a musical underscore the whole time.
The music itself is stunning. The tracks I most noticed were the slower, more sentimental ones, but in the final scene, during Mashiro's running montage there is a more upbeat, lively song that I also found to be absolutely wonderful. As soon as I can, I want to get my hands on the soundtrack and just listen to it straight, without having the anime along with it to distract me.
Right now, we are still in the fledgling stages of Bakuman, so it's really hard to comment on it as I would the manga right now. We haven't gotten to any manga creation, the comradere and rivalry in Jump, the first appearance of Niizuma Eiji, or even all of Takagi's lady troubles. However, Takagi's lady troubles WERE beautifuly foreshadowed in episode two in his conversation with Iwase about the exams they were about to take, punctuated by Kaya passing by telling Miho how she didn't study at all.
I'm still very iffy on the visuals in Bakuman. It's not Mashiro and Takagi that bother me, as I said last week. It's the girls. Iwase, now that she's come in, feels as equally off as Miho and Kaya. I don't know why, but Miho and Iwase have been given brown and purple hair respectively, when in the manga both of them had black hair. That is throwing me significantly.
Mashiro's blue isn't bothering me, mostly because his hair is blue in all of the color spots, and I'm accustomed to it, but even in the color spots, Miho and Iwase's hair is dark and near-black. It may have a tint of the colors they were given in the anime, but it's not nearly as blatant. Kaya's hair is also more red in the color illustrations than it is the light brown in the anime. Also her hair seems to have a lot more texture in the manga than the anime. I don't know why it was simplifed, or if I'm just imagining it, but it really pulls me out of her character.
One thing about the episode that was incredibly strange to me was how every time that Mashiro flashed back to his conversation with Miho in the previous episode, he flashed back to the moment he aske dher to marry him, and only up to her runing away afterward. The flashback never includes where she agrees and the terms that go with it, even if they are acknowledged in conversation. Also he never looks back on it and smiles.
I understand that he's feeling determined and wants to prove himself to Miho, but isn't that something to smile about? If he can accomplish his dream, he'll be with the girl he loves. Instead he looks very somber and serious, as if he's been rejected and the only way to redeem himself to her is to become an accomplished manga-ka, which isn't the case at all.
Next week looks like we're getting into the history between Mashiro's uncle and Miho's mom, and the parallels to Mashiro and Miho they draw. Hopefully we'll also start leading into Takagi and Kaya, since I'd obviously love to see more of them given that they're my favorites in the series. After that we'll likely start getting into Niizuma Eiji and the nitty-gritty manga side of Bakuman.