It saddens me to say this, but this episode of Bakuman brings new meaning to the word cheesy.
There’s always an element of “cheesiness” when the story is about following ones dreams. Something you accept willingly after 70+ episodes of Bakuman, yet this episode took it to another level. A level I’m not fond of. a level that degrades the franchise.
It didn’t start off like this. Mashiro’s inner conflict regarding the fairness of Miho’s appointment to the role of Naho was more than justified. Not only is it cheap to end with her getting the role that easily, it’s an insult to Miho herself. She may have had the least amount of screen time, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t working herself to the bone in preparation of getting through on her own merit when the time came. In some ways, it’s as much about her as it is about Ashirogi Muto.
That was the part of the episode I had no qualms with. More Miho meant we’d get a little more drama associated with seiyuu fandom and the idol culture in Japan. I also welcomed a change of perspective to something other than the manga business. What didn’t sit well with me was how the audition was adapted.
The sheer amount of cheese that came with the competition, I can’t even begin to describe. From talking behind people’s backs to acknowledging a true rival, there was nothing natural about it. Even the veteran seiyu’s reactions felt cartoonish and so by the book it was just painful to watch. That of course meant the announcement lacked any punch and was just the expected course of events. A huge disappointment to say the least, given the impact the chapters of the manga had.
I won’t go on for much longer. Regardless of how poor the execution was, this does constitute a big point in the finale. Now that Azuki has earned the right, Bakuman continues in the final stretch to wrap up the story with one big bow. The next episode will go back to Ashirogi Muto’s struggle with creative rights.
Final Note: Bakuman subs are a bit behind; episode 24 aired on the weekend.