I’m getting the feeling that Bakuman has settled into a basic flow, a combination of scenes involving either work, interviews with Hattori, and some time left for personal drama.
We start with the first of two interviews, rather different than the ones before. Hattori brings Saiko and Akito to the editorial offices on the fourth floor, then settles them down for a chat. We get an idea of the push and pull the magazine undergoes between typical Shonen Jack material, and stuff that’s not quite so mainstream. You get the idea that there is no clear boundry, but the general thought is that their stories are too cerebral. Come up with an eccentric main character, and just present “names” for now. The editor-in-chief drops by, purposely drops Saiko’s uncle’s name, and gives them the lowdown on how things work around there. So the boys have a plan which they proceed to screw up.
Did anyone out there think when Kaya said she wouldn’t interfere, she was lying? I didn’t think so. And thus we get a scene where she drops by the studio in order to do just that. Of course, I have a little sympathy for her. It’s no fun when your significant other is off working all the time. There’s not much to this scene except that a compromise is made, and she becomes nice and helpful. There’s some shock when she brings up that she knows about Saiko and Miho’s little agreement, but why the hell shouldn’t she?
So then it’s more work scenes, and then back to the interview room. This scene confused the hell out of me. After rejecting the submitted names for being too ordinary, a strangely bleary-eyed Hattori goes off on a scheme where if 20% of readers love the story, it’s considered a hit, but it doesn’t work that way with NEXT magazine, but aim for that 20% and keep trying to get in NEXT! That’s the way I understand it, anyway. I think the upshot is they should use their idiosyncratic ideas and not dumb anything down. Or maybe not. I told you it confused me.
Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru 9 gives us two good stories, and a nice opening bit. And we see more of the life of antique dealer Shizuka.
After Shizuka repeatedly buys and sells (at a profit) a vase the husband loves and the wife hates, but that’s just a quickie. We turn to the girls at gym class. After Hotori’s vault seemingly enters a physical warp she watches Toshiko and Harue, she of the teeth, duel in a table tennis match to the death. It’s played out as dramatically as possible with an unnamed character giving commentary, ending with Toshiko deciding that she’s good, but not great, with anything. A good story, played well, but routine.
The second story is definitely not routine. A man learns that his favorite sweets store is shutting down, because nothing sells. He buys the entire stock and apparently hands them out to people on the street. Shizuka gets one, a “Rainbow Delight,” via her grandfather and is entranced by it, and so we have a mystery to solve. The wrapper has a phone number but it doesn’t work. The address is a mystery. She visits a few places, asks locals, discovers that she’s not the only one trying to track down these Rainbow Delights.
They throw in dream sequences, Shizuka doubting her own memory. Toshiko and Hotori try to recreate one. Weird theories are presented, and it leads to a final scene that’s out there even for this series. Let’s just say time travel paradoxes can be fun!