Friday, November 5, 2010

Playing Catch-Up: Bakuman Episode 5

Okay so this is the part where I'm fully caught up with Bakuman. Episode 5, for me, was a good follow to episode 4. It was an entirely different direction, but touched on another of my favorite things in this series -- the relationship between Mashiro and Azuki and the one between Takagi and Kaya. Also in this episode Mashiro and Takagi's bromance just floruishes.

Watching the two of them discuss story ideas is where you can really see it begin. I find it weird that Takagi cries so much, but aybe he actually did that back in the beginning and I just don't remember. He's such a dramatic guy though that I'm completely willing to buy it.

Kaya spends this episode reminding me why she is my goddamn favorite character in the series. Her voice took me a little while to get used to. At first I thought it might be a little too deep, but her energy and emotion is really all there and the more she spoke the more I really felt the voice suited her. Visually, Kaya still feels the most off to me of all of the female characters. Something about her eyes seems really weird, and (as with all of the other girls) I'm still not able to deal with how her hair is drawn. I'm coping with Azuki. Slowly, her anime appearance and her manga appearance are meshing in my head. But Kaya in the anime doesn't seem to suit her at all.

However her acting is great. Even if her appearance seems a little off, her actions are spot on. Her dialog, her reactions, and her vocal inflections are ust completely Miyoshi Kaya, and I can appreciate that even if her apperance feels totally off.

As I mentioned, this episode focuses a lot on the romantic relationships of our to leads. As far as the whole Mashiro and Azuki end of things, it's msotly all in discussion. Mashiro spends time talking with Takagi about the encounter with Miho at the end of episode 4 and how they are on the same "wavelength". Takagi plays with this idea a lot, teasing Mashiro for it at first, but it later comes back and it's hard to tell if he's joking or not.

The beginnings of Takagi and Kaya's relationship (my favorite in the series) is more "active" in episode 5, as Takagi stumbles into it by accident. He had found out about Azuki's dream of voice acting from Kaya, and when Kaya confronts him about talking to Miho about it, he uses the excuse that he just wanted to talk to Kaya. She takes this as a love confession and isn't sure what to do about it. For the rest of the episode, she and Takagi keep passing by and looking back at each other in a more comedic version of Mashiro and Azuki's "wavelength" moment. Takagi mentions it to Mashiro the first time, and Mashiro proceeds to write it off as a joke.

The second half of this episode takes place over summer break and is more focused on Mashiro and Takagi making their first one-shot to submit to Jump. they move into Kawaguchi Taro's old studio to devote themselves entirely to the project. This is where the bromance really blossoms. The first night neither of them can sleep and sit around discussing manga. They talk about Dragonball and then both do the (in)famous Dragonball "fusion dance", which was without a doubt one of the most hillarious things I've ever seen. I was on my semi-daily commute into the city for class when Iw as watching the episode and I was laughing behind my hand in spite of confused looks from other passengers and a conductor.

The truly endearing part of the next two scenes is watching Takagi take care of Mashiro. He's already finished the rough drafts of the story, so there's not as much for him to do. He's watching his friend and partner work constantly and push himself to the point of losing sleep. He watches Mashiro scrap the work he's done on the finished pages to start over entirely. For a while he does his best to just make sure Mashiro is eating and sleeping, and when that's not enough he starts trying to learn how to ink and tone while Mashiro is asleep.

When it comes time to apply screentones to the pages, he asks Mashiro to help and is initially turned down until he states that he was hoping they could "work toward the moment of completion together". When it's all done, the two of them are sleep-deprived and covered in screentone, hoping for the best. The look on their faces was one that I was familiar with after working through big projects.

The episode closes with the Takagi calling Jump to set up an appointment to submit a manuscript. We're about to dive into the really nitty-gritty of the series with the two of them working toward their serialization in Jump. Next week we're being introduced to Hattori, which I'm excited for, and maybe we'll get a little more Eiji? I'd like to be able to form a better opinion of him, but I didn't see him in the preview so I'm not sure if I'll have to wait a while longer to get a better look at him.

Let's all look forward to episode 6!
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