Bakuman 2 – 07

Despite Mashiro’s determination, Chief Editor Sasaki decides to put TRAP on hiatus until next April, when Ashirogi Muto graduates from high school. His reasoning is that he doesn’t want what happened to his uncle to happen to him. Miho tells him she’ll wait for him regardless, as she promised, but Fukuda, who’s in the room, won’t let the decision stand. He organizes a boycott with Niizuma, Hiramaru, Aoki and Nakai.

Sometimes, secrets are a necessary, even crucial part of a successful business. The fact that everyone now knows that Mashiro is Kawaguchi Tarou’s nephew isn’t that big a deal. What is, though, is that Fukuda and Hiramaru are present the moment Sasaki lays down his edict. Fukuda then begins instantly fomenting dissent, and the artists’ editors are caught with their breeches down. Five manga on hiatus is officially a shitstorm.

Is it highly unlikely four other people would put their livelihoods on the line just to stand in solidarity with Mashiro? Perhaps, but that could just be our cutthroat supercapitalist American sensibilities talking. It’s no unreasonable to have a hiatus until Mashiro recovers, but making him wait until he graduates to continue drawing is overkill, especially when it means Jack is going back on its policy of hiring high schoolers. It’s going to be very interesting to see where this goes.

Rating: 4

Ben-To – 06

Tadaaki Endo AKA Monarch doesn’t care about food or territory, he wants the title of the strongest wolf, once held by his senpai Matsy, now God of Discounts at the Ralph Store. To do so, he must defeat Sen. Sen leaves her territory in You and Hana’s care and goes after Monarch alone, but when Shaga shows up to warn You, they rush to help the ambushed and outnumbered Sen. Their hunger proves stronger than Monarch’s and they win the day. Matsy disbands the Gabriel Ratchets.

One thing we noticed immediately this week was how firmly and confidently the episode was directed. The pacing was perfect and the characters moved smoothly and effortlessly from place to place, helped in no small part by Taku Iwasaki‘s phenomenal and deliciously conspicuous music. There were no gags or fanservice. Everyone knew the score, and knew what to do, and did it. The energy level never dropped, but kept building until perhaps the best battle of the entire fall season, a downright lyrical spectacle: Sen, Shaga, and You vs. Monarch and his gang.

Sen keeps the west and learns she’s no longer a lone wolf. Shaga redeems herself by warning You and coming to their aid. You gets Monarch back for the beatdown he recieved. Matsy, who along with Endo and Nikaido was very much like Sen in her youth, vows to clean up the mess she had left the East after retiring. Just as Sen was Wizard’s successor, Endo wanted to be Matsy’s…but he lost sight of the most important things; the thing that gives Sen and You their power: honor, pride…and of course, the food, and eating it with people you care about when the fighting’s done.

Rating: 4