Bakuman 8 – FUCK YEAH BEAM SABERS
The actual process of coming up with the story Mashiro and Takagi eventually submit for the Tezuka Award is my favorite part of this episode. So many little bits that remind the viewer of their age, even though Mashiro and Takagi have been relatively mature in how they have gone about making and submitting their manga. “Let’s throw in some robots! And swords! Not just swords — BEAM SABERS!!!!!” Haha.
Amid everything else, that is at least one thing Bakuman has excelled at thus far — balancing Mashiro and Takagi’s maturity (actually having a plan for becoming manga authors, being totally professional and hardworking with their craft, etc.) and their childishness (the stories they come up with). They’re not aiming for high art here; they’re writing fairly pulpy stuff that has some kick to it, and adding in whatever they think is cool and will appeal to other people. But that’s more realistic for them anyway. I couldn’t even write high art now, much less when I was in high school. (I’m pretty sure everything I wrote in high school was terrible.)
Robots, beam sabers and near omnipotent evil supercomputers are all cool anyway. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t at least peek at that story if you saw it somewhere. I didn’t expect it to be good enough to win the Tezuka Award outright (way too early in the story for a big victory like that), but hey, getting there in the first place is a solid accomplishment. Mashiro gets a bit mopey for a while (I think any kid would, especially after letting his or her imagination run wild like his does the whole time), but at least he bounces back quickly. Nothing to do but go back to the grindstone and pump out another story.
This was my second favorite part of the episode. The only way this romance appeals to me is through ridiculous fantasies. It’s certainly funnier and more interesting than Azuki sneaking approving glances at Mashiro’s work and looking like a sad puppy dog when he doesn’t show up for school because he is moping after losing out on the Tezuka Award. The ancient Greeks make everything better, I’m telling you.
That’s a big part of why this episode is so much better than the previous one — there’s only so much you can do with a romance where all the tension exists because the two potential partners won’t even speak to each other. Where’s the fun in that? This is why overly romantic ideas kind of suck in reality: They are secretly not really fun at all.
(As a side note, I liked RP’s point about Mashiro and Takagi’s respective motivations for creating manga. Mashiro obviously wants to be a manga artist, but he probably would not have started if Takagi and Azuki weren’t there to give him the kick in the ass he needed. He has that external motivation going right now, but what happens if/when he and Takagi actually make it, and then he gets with Azuki? Will that fire disappear? Takagi is the one totally motivated by becoming a manga author, inside and out. That might be why his storytelling progressed just a bit more than Mashiro’s art . . . or, of course, the magazine could have more rigorous standards for art than story.)
This ending is just begging to have the Falcon Punch sound effect added on, right? Alas, if only Takagi had a beam saber with him as well.