Bakuman. 2 – 02

With their TRAP team all settled in, Mashiro and Takagi adjust to their new system. The ice is broken after lots of awkward silence, and even Takahama eventually speaks up to Mashiro. Miho is faced with a decision to make a photo book to advance her career, but she doesn’t want to, and knows Mashiro doesn’t either. She gets depressed and refuses to pick up her phone, prompting Mashiro to hear to her place, risking the manuscript deadline. Takagi calls Miho, and Miho calls Mashiro off. They have a long and fruitful discussion, and agree to tell each other everything from now on.

Oh, we’re sure it can be exceedingly easy for many to get turned off by a pair of lovebirds like Mashiro and Miho. We just don’t happen to be ‘many’. We’re not exactly sure why, either. Their progress thus far has been excruciating. They’ve taken “taking it slow” and “fulfilling dreams” to heights we never thought possible. But goshdarnit, they’re so pure, so honest, and so on the same page, it’s exceedingly hard for us not to love watching their little trials unfold. Last week there were a lot of changes in Mashiro and Takagi’s world, but this episode established that many things remain constant.

Mashiro and Miho will keep their distance, though they’re now bold enough to talk on the phone more. Miyoshi is an excellent girlfriend. And, both of the guys’ love interests are constant fonts of encouragement, distraction, and temptation, all rolled up together. They’re muses. Takahama mentioned to Mashiro how they both dream big, while the other assistants are content where they are. If there’s anything this world needs more of, its people who see cold reality staring back at them with their big ideal dreams and say “I’m going for it!” Easier said than done; we know.

Rating: 3.5

Working’!! – 02

Taneshima tries to get Takenashi to compliment Inami, to no avail. Yamada misses Otou, and tries to stalk Souma with Taneshima, to no avail. Taneshima tries to get back at Satou for always picking on her, to no avail. Otou returns, and Yamada hangs off him constantly, wanting him to adopt her. When he leaves again, Yamada finds solace in the busts of her co-workers.

This was a pleasant enough episode. There was nothing exceptional about it, but it did execute its various trifling plots competantly. There are some things that worry us, though. First of all, Takenashi and Inami’s relationship actually grew closer quite a bit as last season progressed. So why is it she’s acting pretty much how she did the first day she met him? It would be nice if this season eventually acknowledges the progress they had made. Nothing changes fast in this series, if at all, though.

The second worry: Where is that girl with the weird hair? I thought a new character would show up this week, as the last episode hinted; perhaps she’ll show up later. We don’t watch Working’!! to be blown away by the story or have our sides split. We watch it because it’s relaxing, and for the charm of the myriad characters, and because its lived-in feeling world is essentially limited to a restaraunt. So it’s a relaxing microcosm.

Rating: 3