Bakuman3 and PSYCHO 4, Hidamari 5

Well, THAT problem got out of the way fast.

Bakuman 3 4 slipped by me; often when I realize I hadn’t watched a show for a while it’s because I wasn’t looking forward to it, and so I consider dropping it. But I’ve invested too much time in this show to drop it now, and it’s too good. Besides, how will I get by without learning if PCP passed Natural, or even Crow? They take care of that plot point early on, and then the head editor says the obvious: the manga is too popular to cancel. Which is a better way of putting it than “you beat this other manga in one particular week, so we won’t cancel you,” I guess. So now with PCP in no danger of immediate cancellation the show can start seeding the next arc. For a “crisis averted” episode they manage to keep things moving.

Mashiro, you don’t mind if Takagi writes another manga in his spare time, do you?

Our boys aren’t complacent, but they’re comfortable. Making their manga has become routine enough that they discover they have some limited free time. So you know the show is going to mess with that, first. Shiratori, one of the assistants, decides to make a manga of his own after Mashiro and Takagi encourage him. And since we also visit his home it’s clear that this is going to be one of the strands of the next arc. Shiratori is a good artist but his wealthy parents disapprove, etc. Not very interesting, but it’s already messing with the other plot point. PCP is popular, they get a drama CD (with Miho!) and a novel–but no anime. Hattori bluntly tells them that they won’t get one, either; apparently PCP is corrupting Japan’s youth, which is a noble thing to do but not popular with parents. How will Miho and Mashiro achieve their dream?? Hey, they got time, now. Make another manga series! But Hattori suggests Takagi and Shiratori collaborate on HIS manga … the plot wheels never stop spinning in Bakuman. About the only time they stop to breathe is to give an inspirational speech …

Undercover work.

PSYCHO-PASS 4 gives us our first two-parter of the series. It’s hard to make out the point of it yet. We get a missing, later dead man who was a popular online avatar character, yet the avatar is still going strong. Akane, who hangs out in these online places a lot sets up a trap through another avatar, who happens to know way too much about her. But the people behind the murder pick up on it. Two things intrigued me. First, Akane was visiting Talisman, the first avatar and asking him advice on how to handle Shinya, and it looked for a moment like she might have actually gotten that advice from an AI of some sort. Not a new idea, but still one with interesting implications. The other thing is that the murderers are adamant about keeping the victims’ online presences alive, which begs the question: why are they killing them in the first place? Do they feel that the spirits of the avatars are something important to the community and should be left alone? Talisman was supposedly straying from the things that made him popular before the murder, and as for Spooky Boogie, making a deal with the Feds … well… So are they sort of online enforcers of avatar purity, or are they simply covering their tracks? We don’t see much of the murderers, only that they’re rather bloodthirsty, so I figure we’ll get the answer next week.

Hidamari Sketch – Honeycomb 5 features the two newest girls, though they’re not all that new anymore; it’s been over a season now since they first moved in. But it struck me that we don’t really know all that much about them.

Fried chicken practice.

First we turn to Nazuna, the dullest of the main characters, capable of being cute and helpless and that’s about it. Now she has to make dinner for her visiting parents, you remember, the ones who up and left town without her because the father got new work and claimed he’d be helpless without the mother taking care of him. Well, apart from that they’re lovely people and quite proud of their daughter even though they could tell she got extra help with the fried chicken dinner she made for them. It’s interesting that Nazuna turned first to Yuno for help (Yuno spends the entire episode as a side character) instead of Hiro, even if Hiro gets involved pretty quickly. Sure, Hiro is a senior and studying a lot, but maybe Nazuna considers Yuno a more accessible upperclassman. I was also pleased to see that Hiro had Yuno make the miso soup. Yuno HAS learned a few things. It’s also nice that Nazuna actually did most of the cooking herself in the end. It was the rice(!) that did her in. Nazuna is still a dull character, but since everyone else gets involved it didn’t turn out so bad. And Miyako got plenty of leftovers!

Oh oh, here we go …

The second half had the more interesting combination of Nori and Sae. Apart from brief Natsume moments we rarely see Sae without Hiro around. Here the two spend some time together after Nori has a nightmare. Nori’s more fun than Nazuna, more mature, outgoing, and outspoken. Plus she’s a computer nut, even though she doesn’t save her work (er, excuse me … ctl-s) often enough and uses Shaftsoft Wonders rather than a Mac or Linux distro (Hmm, which character would use which distro, I wonder?). And we learn from their pointless book vs. computer argument that she can be as headstrong and stubborn as Sae, and mature enough to pull back before going too far. But I kept getting distracted by the sparse arrangement of Sae’s room, and the repeating books on her shelf and that poster … what do all those numbers mean?

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3 thoughts on “Bakuman3 and PSYCHO 4, Hidamari 5

  1. Since the murderers intended to continue using the Spookie Boogie avatar, I don’t understand why they would antagonize the avatar, and publicly reveal the user behind it to be a hypocrite. They want Spookie Boogie to retain a large following, but it was even stated that once an avatar starts declining in popularity, it would be very difficult to reverse the trend, which would mean that their actions made little sense. I guess I’ll wait to see more with episode 5.

  2. I still like this series, though it is, really illogical. Why, or how, would there even be a real world party for people who meet in the cyber-world?* I like that this seemed to occur to the writers. My favorite part is the “Liverty” dime costume. More irony?

    This is tangential, but the earliest IA advice I remember was an old SF story (50s? 60s?). I want to say by Asimov, but I’m not sure. The hero, his best friend, a girl he knows and a robot go off on an adventure. The unlikely group beat the bad guys. Our protagonist is standing with the girl when a voice tells him “Just kiss her stupid!” So he does, and it’s a happy ending. Except the protagonist’s friend later denies saying anything- so he realizes he took love advice from a robot. – I wish I could remember what the story was, now.

    *other than as a plot device

  3. Vincent: I’m not sure why they would publicly humiliate Spooky Boogie either, but on the other hand Talisman’s character was under suspicion before his owner got murdered. Maybe they’re more interested in maintaining the avatar’s true essence rather than rankings …

    David: Real world meetings happen all the time. I’ve been to a few myself. … I don’t know who first came up with the robot giving humans advice deal, but it’s been a staple in SF for decades. PK Dick used it a lot, and since there’s a Blade Runner feel to this series I’m suspecting Urobochi’s been doing his reading.

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