Thursday, November 4, 2010

Playing Catch-Up: Bakuman Episode 4

Bakuman 4 might end up being my favorite episode, you guys. This episode was incredibly special to me for a handful of reasons, but most predominantly in how completely nostalgic it was. I've mentioned here in the past that I'm a Cartooning major, and that drawing comics is how I want to make a living for myself. This episode brought back so many memories of when I first decided that, and when I really commited to learning what went into making comics, what tools I needed, how to use them, and how to make a comic page the best that I could possibly make it.

A big focus of the first half of this episode is on Mashiro and his commitment to learning to use a G-Pen. This is a REAL type of pen nib, and one that anyone in comics and pen+ink drawing will be familiar with. It's a long-time standard for manga-ka, and has recently become a standard for American cartoonists as well.

I have to commend the animation tea for their accuracy in the first half of this episode, and for the little things they included that made the first half of this episode so real to me. When Mashiro wiped the edges of his pen on the side of his ink bottle, I actually had to pause the episode for a moment in shock. I knew that gesture. When I worked with a G-Pen, I had done the exact same thing a hundred times. The way they portrayed the motion was so natural. It was perfect.

Mashiro demonstrated the difference between the Kabura pen line and the G-Pen line to Takagi (also later breifly mentioning Maru pens), and it was such a surreal experience for me, having lived this, knowing what he meant, and feeing the same as he did. He was explaining to Takagi all of the things I've learned over the years. The degree of accuracy in the drawings of the nibs, the gestures made when Mashiro uses them, and the lines they create was just phenominal. I have to commend them on the attention to detail. I guess with this series you have to be accurate or it just seems dumb, but even just slight details of this seires that a causal watcher wouldn't know were accurate or not are perfect. And that makes this seires so much more special for someone like me, who's had to learn these things.

There's also something to be said for the "Kawaguchi Taro School Of Thought", which is Mashiro's uncle's three rules for becoming a successful manga-ka.

This rang true in the manga and it rings true now. You have to believe in what you're doing and put all your effot into it, but a lot of actually getting out there is being in the right place at the right time. You need to know people.

So, in order to get better, Mashiro spends the weekend drawing and learning to use the G-Pen and Takagi sits down and reads as much manga as he can in order to come up with a good story. They show Takagi surrounded by piles of manga, and all of the are actual series that have run in Jump! I'm actually amused by how much "Death Note" (also done by Ohba and Obata) and "Hikaru no Go" (which Obata did the art for) show up in this. There are glimpses of them everywhere, and Takagi keeps making "Death Note" jokes.

The latter half of this episode is about Mashiro and Takagi committing to being manga-ka and planning their futures around it. They make decisions about school and make the decision to try and talk to an editor at Jump. They begin making plans to do a one-shot over their summer break to try and get in to talk to an editor. The first stages of Mashiro and Takagi's fanstastic bromance begin to emerge, especially around the key to the studio that Mashiro gave Takagi.

And then we have a breif encounter between Mashiro and Azuki. This is the whole "on the same wavelength" scene, which, admittedly, Iw as worried wouldn't translate well to the anime. It was a very slow, still scene that was about reactions more than anything else. But it actually came out very well.

And finally, episode 4 gives us our first glimpse at Nizuma Eiji in the last 30 second of the episode, on the phone with his editor about moving to Tokyo todo manga. We onyl get close ups of his mouth and a shot of him from behind, and all he does is make bird noises, but it's a good sign of what's to come.

Man, this one sure was image heavy! But this episode has been my favorite so far and there was just so uch I wanted to cover!! I'll be looking at episode 5 tomorrow, and then I'll finally be caught up!

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