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This is why Hiramaru is one of my favourite characters in Bakuman.
In terms of comedy, this is one of Bakuman's finer moments. It's not funny in an obvious way, but funny nonetheless. Nothing you wouldn't expect from a character like Hiramaru-sensei and his neurotic tendencies and laziness.
What makes Hiramaru a great character isn't so much him. Doesn't sound right does it Well it does when you consider the characters around him. Especially Yoshida. Their relationship was always one of my favourites in the series and it's always the best one for the continuous comedy. Yoshida's
slave driver "talent cultivator" act is always a good laugh because it always comes at the expense of Hiramaru's happiness. Case in point: lowjacking a car and driving around on his motorbike to stop a date.
All good fun, but there is more. Since Bakuman has had an ongoing romantic plot for quite some time, Hiamaru x Aoki has been the other couple in the spotlight. Technically Kaya and Takagi were the first couple to get there, but their relationship didn't hold the same significance. In a lot of ways, Hiramaru and Aoki resemble Mashiro and Azuki. Not entirely on purpose, just a result of Yoshida's meddlesome ways.
With that taking up most of the episode, it was easy to overlook the manga industry part of the episode. One year of serialisation in a magazine like Shonen Jump is a big deal. This year alone the magazine has axed more or less 6 series that didn't make 50 chapters. Without this knowledge many viewers might write off Ashirogi's accomplishment, but it truly is an important milestone for any author in Jump, the most popular manga magazine currently out there.
Recognizing this accomplishment is a big part, and what comes with it is the right to judge. Just like Takagi said, it doesn't feel right for new authors to judge but it's yet another perk of accomplishing a milestone as grand as this. As usual certain details from the manga were left out:
- Nizuma and Iwase were there for +Natural's 100th chapter milestone.
- Hiramaru was there for Otter 11's 200th chapter milsetone.
- Fukuda and Takahama were there for their 50th chapter commemoration also.
- Kaya got some flowers from Shueisha.
I'm most unhappy about the last one being excluded. Kaya doesn't have a huge presence in the story, but it's important nonetheless. It would have been great to see her rewarded for her effort. The other info isn't as important but I guess there would be confusion. Of course these weren't the only achievements. Fukuda got an anime for Giri! Great that another young mangaka is gaining momentum.
Next up it's Nanamine arc! This should be good. Don't want to give away too much, but its one of the most interesting arcs out there.