Bakuman3 18, Chihayafuru2 5
Bakuman 2 has just wrapped up one of the more interesting story arcs I’ve seen. As you remember, our boys, not to mention the rest of the Shonen Jack artists lose in their challenge to dethrone Eiji from the top spot. The “conflict,” if it can be called that, is typical Bakuman stuff, each character relishing the challenge in their own way, and with no actual animosity from anyone, the rivals are friends concept this show does so well. It’s odd to see a story like this end with the “good guys” losing, even if I’m personally glad because it means the artist is permitted to end the series as he wants to. And now the story turns a page and we get a new arc with both major rivals coming out with new works! Who will prevail?
It starts with an episode so loaded with story that I could barely keep up. Eiji submits a one-shot, Zombie Gun, that sets a record for one-shots. Mashiro and Takagi’s one-shot, Reversi, comes out the following week and breaks the new record by two votes. It’s on! But there’s not room in the magazine for two series each from two artists, and so the show begins what feels like an expansion, as Reversi is chosen to shore up the new monthly, Hisshou Jack. The repercussions from this smart decision by new chief editor Heishi (a sub-story the show managed to fit into the craziness) affects everyone.
Hattori is despondent because he wanted to edit Reversi, Eiji is disappointed because his new work won’t compete with their new work. I was wondering why they chose a “standard battle manga” to go into a new monthly magazine that has a wider target audience. Well, at least Mashiro won’t have to overwork again. Well, it gets cleared up, with the new team leader Yujiro making the right decision in the end. Now, with Miho landing a big acting role (ANOTHER thing they managed to squeeze into this episode!), I’m sure the series will tilt back into romance.
Chihayafuru 2 5 has the rematch with Hokuo, so you knew from the start that the episode will go badly for the good guys. That the Hokuo team feels the pressure of their former ace Sudo reading the cards and argued about the player order guaranteed it. It’s hard to enjoy the first half’s comedy when you pretty much know that things will take a turn for the worse. Indeed, it does get bad for our heroes, and like always when Chihaya or Taichi lose a few cards early it means they fall into self-doubt and endless internal monologues which, in this case, made me shout at the computer “get on with it already!” It’s especially galling because Chihaya falls behind to some kid whom I want to strangle (to be fair, I want to strangle Chihaya much of the time, too), apart from a significant card at the end, so maybe that’s the turnaround she was looking for. At least Porky’s loss, significant though it is, leads to some comedy. And Kanade’s big-titted revenge (so far) gives me some satisfaction, so she’ll probably lose, too. Probably our guys will lose since they’re going to the nationals anyway, and they’ll get their revenge up there.