Bakuman 22

The members of Team Fukuda make their way up to the editorial department, quite easily at that thanks to the aura that Fukuda gives off as they go for their most senior editor.

Once they get there they accuse Koogy of cheating by using his popularity as a musician to pull in votes, however Yujiro counters that in choosing to leave the music scene to draw manga, he’s also taking a risk. Not only that but he also goes on to state that the contest is one based on popularity, leading to Fukuda grabbing him by the collar and Aida stepping up to tell them to drop out if they don’t like it. His words about how they only have to please their readers also happen to remind Mashiro of the Chief Editor Sasaki’s words about a manga just having to be interesting, and having thought through it he’s realised that they just have to write something that can beat Koogy. Fukuda is content with this sort of answer and completely agrees with him, even suggesting that they go over each other’s work at Eiji’s place.

So they pick up some extra copies with Hattori cheering them on, when they all meet up again outside of the building where Eiji’s place is, Nakai has them get a few things and tidy the place up to impress Aoki and they’re surprised at just how big Eiji’s studio is. Once again Aoki gives off the same dignified impression when she arrives and just as they’re about to start, Eiji jumps in wanting to join in. As they all read through each others work they see just how tough it’s going to be to beat the other, however once this is over Aoki still feels that her story is the best and gets into a brief argument with Fukuda, where he tells her how he thinks it’s good to push the limits of what they can publish and piss off his reader’s parents, and in the end this exercise turned out to be pointless.

Due to this they decide to ask the only neutral party, Eiji what he thinks about them, where he tells them that two of them will be tied for first and the other will be third, and feeling sorry for who will come in third he refuses to name them. After this they all head back and on their way, Mashiro tells Takagi about the doubts he has after seeing Fukuda, and Nakai and Aoki’s finished works, let alone what Koogy is capable of as a mangaka.

Some time after this Azuki sees that even her fellow voice actresses will be cheering Koogy on, expecting her to do the same, they then all go on to do a live performance of their song. Following this Kaya shows Mashiro and Takagi some pictures from the event, and upon receiving a message telling him to fight, Mashiro wants to redo the name for Shady Detective Trap.

Next Episode:

Thoughts:

Even though nothing much came from Team Fukuda’s confrontation of the editorial department, it instead chose to allow the competitors to have a chance to see who they’re up against, allowing them to judge them and wonder if they really could win. As it may have already done before, the effect that Koogy’s popularity had was also done nicely, it was as if everyone around them was against them.

Seeing things start with Team Fukuda taking on the editorial department made for a pretty fun start, with Fukuda intimidating just about anyone who would have stopped them and trying to take it as far as possible. After that the editorial department’s answer to the issue of Koogy entering against them was reasonable, as a musician he was also taking some risk in entering and if they didn’t like it they could drop out. As really, why should they care about a few newcomers throwing a fit when there were others who desperately wanted the chance they were given. It was something that showed that Koogy just couldn’t walk away if he failed and that the aspiring mangaka on the protagonist’s side of things were nothing more than a group of newcomers who had just had a few things published, without even a single series to their name.

Following this it was also nice to see Mashiro use the Editor in Chief’s words to realise what he had to do, draw something that would be good enough to gain those votes (with the Editor in Cheif even acknowledging this). So in order to do that leading to a criticism session was great, allowing the characters to see just what the others were capable of and see that winning might not be as easy as they had thought. Not to mention that it also gave us, the viewers an idea of what the entries other than Detective Trap were about, where Hideout Door was a beautifully written fantasy story with art to match, Kiyoshi Knight was a violent yet humorous. So despite how it may have been pointless it still served to do a few things.

The reactions by the characters during this were also pretty fun, with Aoki still acting in an arrogant and dignified manner about how she thought her story was the best, Fukuda thinking that writing stuff bound to piss off parents for being too violent or crude was a good thing, and Eiji just enjoying the whole ordeal. At this point in the story I guess that it wouldn’t be too hard not to like Aoki due to the way she acts as if she’s above everyone else, however having read the manga I can say that she gets better later on so maybe that’s part of the reason I like her so much. As for Fukuda in this, watching him get into an argument with her turned out to be pretty fun due to how he sought to push the limits of what could be published, which would be bound to make his work stand out.

Once again the episode also did a good job at showing that the odds were stacked against our duo, where just about every bystander around them was bound to vote for Koogy, and were even practically encouraging their friends to do so as well. It even managed to somehow show up on Azuki’s side of things through her fellow voice actresses, showing just how far his popularity spread and increasing the effect that it had a bit. So having her witnessed this as well and encouraging Mashiro not to give up somehow made for a nice ending point.

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