Bakuman 4 – Work to the Max

As someone who tried to draw once upon a time but gave up because I was terrible at it, I don’t exactly lack in respect for artists. To draw down to every detail — whether doing so realistically or not — is fucking hard. But I was ignorant about the actual start-to-finish process of creating even one manga page (and probably still am, since I doubt this episode covers everything); this shit is ridiculous. Then again, doing anything at a high level takes a truckload of work, so with that in mind, it’s not especially surprising to see that even one drawing on a single page takes a lot of patience to see through.

Have to say it’s also cool to see Mashiro and Takagi be practical and hard-working about this even though they’re utter goofballs with just about every other aspect of their lives. The “pride/arrogance, effort and luck” bit especially strikes me as valuable for them to know. Obviously you have to believe in yourself to succeed; if you go into something expecting to fail, then you set yourself closer to failure. And effort is a big “duh” too. If you’re talented enough, you can probably coast on your skill for a while, but eventually a wall is going to come, and the more you coast, the harder that hit will be.

Luck, though . . . Takagi is skeptical about that aspect, but I think it’s because he is viewing it the wrong way. While I’m a believer that people make their own luck (by being flexible enough to adapt to unexpected circumstances, for example), I also believe that is true only to an extent. There are many circumstances and conditions that either aid or hinder people (age, economic condition, location, etc.) that are simply out of people’s control. Certain people exist in better conditions for success in certain areas, and they achieve success by having the foresight to see their advantages and push them as far as possible. That might not be exactly what Mashiro means by “luck”, but I think that’s how it best applies to their situation — if an advantage falls their way, they have to be ready to use it.

I did lol at Mashiro being practical to the point of building his entire student life around having as much time as possible to draw manga. This is every kid’s dream, right? Except I built my student life around having as much time as possible to play video games. Oops. And I don’t even play video games that much anymore, so look how well that turned out. Clearly I did not plan my life nearly as well as Mashiro.

Also can’t wait for Mashiro and Takagi to have creative differences. Like Scamp, I think Takagi will probably an inflated idea of how good his stories are, at first. I wrote some stories when I was 14; they are uniformly terrible and embarrassing. If I so much as think about any of them today, I want to slam my head into a wall. Granted, I’m not some genius storyteller, but I doubt Takagi will be to begin with, either, especially if the show is going to push the hard work angle with him as it is doing with Mashiro. Sit down and pound the keys, brother!

One more thing that made me laugh: This scene where their two friends suggest they go watch some X-rated flicks. Haha, I wonder if they have a seedy porno theater in town like we have here? (Not that I’ve ever gone there, of course . . .)

4 Responses to “Bakuman 4 – Work to the Max”

  1. Your way of thinking about Luck reminds me of Machiavelli:
    “Machiavelli compares fortune to a torrential river that cannot be easily controlled during flooding season. In periods of calm, however, people can erect dams and levees in order to minimize its impact. Fortune, Machiavelli argues, seems to strike at the places where no resistance is offered.” (quoting Wikipedia)

  2. Luck is underrated. We are so enamored with our skill and abilities, but in a surplus of similarly gifted individuals luck makes a critical difference. A better reference than Gladwell is Nassim Taleb, with his Black Swan, and Fooled by Randomness.

    • Indeed, we often don’t take into account the enormous amount of outside influences that can have an effect on us without our knowledge — it’s just too much to think about. When we apply to a job with just a resume, and there are dozens of other similar resumes, how can we get that job other than by luck?

      I’ll have to give those a read some time!

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