With the previous episode setting up the fight, this episode of Bakuman shows us how exactly to compete with your fellow mangaka. There’s certainly a lot to discuss here.
One thing we learn this episode, is that all authors are calculating types at one point or another. For some like Takagi this is second nature, as for the others, it’s a skill gained over time. This on its own breaks away from one of the very first things we heard in this series: calculating types don’t make it big.
Whilst the conception of a manga bears more fruit from the romantic instead of the calculative, no one can ignore the technical side of things. Character introductions, climaxes, arc endings etc. all play a huge part in a mangaka’s learning and performance curve. Even someone like Fukuda does his homework by researching the works of others, in this case Toriyama whilst taking into account the impact of new characters and colour pages. Just another way of saying that the Bakuman cast has grown, and that mangaka never stop learning.
Colour pages themselves have a lot of meaning to them for a magazine like Weekly Shonen Jump. If you’re unfamiliar with them, they are used to reward popularity and in turn thank the readers. There’s a fan service element – not that kind – which really helps a manga in its search to become the most popular. Of course in real life, the series that get covers and colour pages in Jump are limited but that doesn’t stop Bakuman from making a good point with some exaggeration.
I don’t know why I didn’t notice, but Nizuma has been more villain-like recently. Whether this is the anime’s take or my poor memory of the manga, he gives off a certain arrogance that I don’t recall. As if taunting his fellow writers, he acts excited about them making progress towards beating him. Not the Nizuma I remember for sure, and the editors remarks make him even more of a villain.
Business aside, the editors bring up an interesting point; a manga published by them means it’s no longer the author’s sole property. Excluding the company, readers and possibly animators become invested in the series. It’s not just the writer’s any more and this point of view puts Nizuma in the wrong. Possibly more personal experience being put into Bakuman
As far as episodes go, I find this one to be the most interesting. It shows the many ways a mangaka can grow and the more intricate workings of Weekly Shonen Jump. Bakuman just knows how to give us just the right amount of insight.