Bakuman 15

Hattori tries to convince them against their decision and points out that there’s nothing original about what they brought in, and while this may be true for other series as well there are still a few pillars that must be kept. An easy to understand setting, a clear reason for what the protagonist is doing, an interesting villain of similar strength to the protagonist, and a cute heroine doesn’t hurt either, along with comedy and tear-jerker scenes.

The problem with the latter though is that it can’t be done in a way where the readers would think it’s forced, at this point Eiji reappears behind them with his solution, just write about what comes to mind as if the characters have a life of their own with him seeing himself as the one who helps them move. To Hattori this isn’t something that would help them, especially since he doesn’t write names, however for Mashiro it has. As he tells Eiji to make sure that he stays serialised at least until they’re serialised as well, and when Eiji thinks that he’ll be number one by then he boldly suggests otherwise. Because of this Eiji leaves with a smile on his face and as he’s packing away his things, Hattori finds one last page that impresses him.

On the taxi ride back Eiji tells Yujiro about how he has a bad feeling about Ashirogi Muto going for a battle manga and how he has a feeling that they will become his biggest rival, simply because of how Mashiro’s eyes were like those of a battle manga hero. As they walk back what happened not too long ago has convinced Mashiro that they should write a manga where they calculate and think ahead while making it not look like that, something that Takagi finds difficult but of course Mashiro will help him with it.

Surprisingly the focus then shifts to Azuki where her instructor encourages her to keep going after she had failed to get the role she auditioned for, and the agency she’s associated offers her the role of a student in an upcoming anime, St. Visual’s Girl’s Academy. However while they’re looking for inexperienced voice actresses, some singing ability is expected, so Azuki accepts and is handed a script for her audition. After this she meets up with Kaya at the train station just as she’s about to message Mashiro, and they head to her house while Kaya’s disappointed that she didn’t get to see her uniform.When they get back to her house they hang out in her room, where Kaya asks about her next audition and Mina is sure that the all other voice actresses are secretly out to get each other. Despite all of this encouragement, Azuki still appears uneasy.

After dinner Kaya takes a bath while Azuki sings a few lines but still has some doubts about whether or not she should audition, once she’s changed into her pajamas Kaya tells Azuki’s mother and sister about Takagi, with Azuki overhearing how he and Mashiro are always trying hard. As they’re about to go to sleep Azuki tells Kaya about how she doesn’t have much confidence in what she’s doing but she will still keep trying hard since she’s sure Mashiro is doing the same. The next day Kaya heads back, and before she goes home Azuki picks up a copy of St. Visuals Academy and practices her singing in a karaoke booth. Just before her audition she bumps into someone also auditioning and helps them up, after which she auditions for the role.

It then goes back to Mashiro and Takagi’s side of the story where Takagi is still having some difficulty in planning out the story and is kind of intimidated after he saw Eiji do it all on the spot. He also looks back on how a year has passed since he first asked him to team up with him, thinking that time flying by is just part of life. When they’re back at the studio Mashiro receives a message from Azuki telling him she got the role, and though Takagi points out they’ve already had their debut as well, he still feels like he’s falling behind. But at the same time he isn’t worried as he congratulates her and resolves to create a role for her as the heroine in their manga, he then steps outside and wonders if he’s a masochist but Takagi thinks he’s more of a Narcissist.

Next Episode:


Thoughts:

After how good the last two episodes were this episode may have been kind of disappointing, but at the same time it was pretty nice. While we didn’t see things on Mashiro and Takagi’s front move forward that much, it was still kind of nice to see it shift to Azuki’s side of the story, primarily because despite being the main heroine in the story she doesn’t receive much focus. As short as it seemed it was also great to see some discussion on the primary aspects of battle manga, and as always Eiji’s antics were entertaining.

To start with how the episode started with things that could be the pillars to shonen battle manga was pretty interesting, as the things that it brought up were kind of true in some ways. With the similarities that it mentioned coming down to things like an easy to understand setting, a protagonist with clear motives for doing what he’s doing, and interesting antagonistic characters, not to mention a cute heroine thrown in on the side with some comedic and tear-jerking moments along the way. All being things that can be pretty common in shonen battle manga, but saying that it all came down to how the author packaged it would be something that I think is an overstatement. The episode also seemed to give that impression as well through Hattori telling them how they have to make it all natural, simply because the readers can see when they try to add humour or emotion otherwise and it has the opposite result.

How Mashiro and Takagi parted with Eiji was also a nice scene, where they actually talked and parted ways as rivals with them both accepting that. As before this point the rivalry itself had been pretty much one sided, with Mashiro and Takagi considering Eiji their rival yet him being completely oblivious to them, except for how much he loved Money and Intelligence. So those parting words that Mashiro said to him about not being able to be number one so easily were nice to see, as they seemed to cement the fact that they were rivals on both sides. Not to mention how Eiji talked about them on the taxi ride back, seeing Mashiro as his rival simply by the look in his eyes, which he interestingly enough compared to the sort of hero you would see in a battle manga.

Despite how dull it may have been I also thought that how the episode chose to give Azuki some focus was kind of nice for what it was, as despite being the ‘main heroine’ of the manga she’s pretty much shoved into the background for the most part. And even how as a character she appears kind of boring is something that I think is because of that, so giving her a bit more time to develop as a character was something that I liked about this episode. Also showing that on her side of the story she was still doing her best and faced her own troubles through out it, with this episode showing how she didn’t have much confidence in her ability yet would still try hard simply because Mashiro was doing the same. Seeing her make her debut as a voice actress almost in parallel to Mashiro and Takagi as Ashirogi Muto was also something that I thought was kind of nice to see.

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