Bakuman 15

Bakuman continues steadily progressing as a year has passed in the series timeline. Moritaka and Miho have both made strides toward achieving their goals. Miho doesn’t believe herself either pretty or a good singer, while Moritaka is well aware that there are better artists out there than himself. Still, they work hard, and both are gradually getting results.

I like how Moritaka didn’t immediately reciprocate Niizuma’s invitation to friendship: he’s their rival, after all. He is honest and forthright and makes his position clear: his goal is to surpass Niizuma. Niizuma, who became a much more interesting character last week, reacts exactly as I’d hoped: nothing petty or immature, just a firm, enthusiastic “you’re on.” Even in private, he says he liked their work (proving he wasn’t patronizing them), and probably likes the idea of a direct challenge.

Then again, Niizuma and Moritaka/Takagi’s approaches can never be the same, so it will be intriguing to see how both attain success with their wildly different methods of creating manga: Niizuma’s visceral, spontaneous, freeform style, or Moritaka and Takagi’s calculating, precise, by-the-book style. The latter will have to get a move on though, as Miho has entered the world of voice-acting. Rating: 3.5