Bakuman 2 – 08

Fukuda, Niizuma, Hiramaru, Aoki and Nakai tell their editors they’ll all join Ashirogi Muto on hiatus until the Chief Editor ends the TRAP hiatus. Mashiro’s surgery is successful, but he and Takagi are furious when they seen the four other manga missing. The phones ring off the hook at the editor’s office, but the Chief Editor won’t budge. When Mashiro is discharged from the hospital, he, Takagi and Miura confront him one more time with eleven piled-up manuscripts, and he finally agrees to return TRAP to Jack as soon as possible.

Well, that would seem to have been resolved rather quickly! Putting TRAP on hiatus brought the whole point of the series – Mashiro achieving his dreams – to a screeching halt, but through it all, Miho was ever-supportive, Mashiro’s friends stuck their own necks out for his sake, and he never stopped drawing. We’re not entirely sure passage of time was handled as well as it could have been, but what’s important is that they managed to convince the chief editor to end TRAP’s hiatus before they graduate, which is as good an outcome as they could have hoped for.

Of course, while Miura considers the backlog of manuscripts to be some of Ashirogi’s best work yet, it was all produced without knowing how each story would be ranked. The next episode’s title incliuding the words “low ranking” suggest Mashiro and Takagi’s next major challenge will be dealing with a sudden and perhaps prolonged decline in popularity, just when their first volume has been released. And unpopular manga don’t get turned into anime (usually).


Rating: 3.5

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Ben-To – 07

Matsy presents Sen’s club with free tickets to a Hawaiian swim park, but after a long, expensive train ride, realize they’re missing one, so Satou has to buy his own, leaving him short on cash. Not only Nikaido has also been invited, but Monk, Endo, and other wolves. Since this is a park owned by Ralph Store, it also offers half-price bento a half hour prior to closing, so a battle ensues, with the added challenge of taking place in a pool. Satou makes the most of the result of Shaga’s “attack” on him and manages to grab the honor stamp.

A pool episode we didn’t hate would have sufficed, we weren’t expecting this: an innovative swimsuit episode that takes that trope and adds all of Ben-To‘s own distinctiveness. Just about every cliche had a distinct purpose: Inoue’s cameo uses up Satou’s ticket; his lack of cash makes half-priced food his only choice; and the Montage of Fun Events serves both to tire people out and make them hungry, preparing them for the pool battle. At first we thought Sen was being too serious and diligent when she came out in a sporty one-piece (worn under her clothes) and spent a lot of time stretching and doing laps. But she was just making sure she was fully-prepared if battle came – and it did.

The battle itself was full of great practical details. Fighters were hampered both by the sudden malfunction of sexy bikini tops; the distraction of said malfunctions; by cramps; even by the sting of the chlorine from all the splashing. The bentos themselves were floating around in clear plastic balls, requiring totally different tactics from store battles. And after suffering a long, intimate Shaga Hug, Satou makes ingenious use of his hard-on as a goddamn rudder to maneuver his way to victory. Heck, we were even made privy to the origins of Sen and Shaga’s noms-de-guerre, and learned that Satou’s is “Freak” (Hentai), which considering the manner of his triumph, is quite fitting.


Rating: 4