Bakuman 2 – 09

Mashiro is discharged and returns to the studio, but TRAP begins a precipitous drop in rankings, to the point that they are warned that they won’t be safe in the next meeting. Meanwhile, Miho continues to get anime roles, Niizuma’s Crow anime starts, and Takahama gets runner-up with a one-shot. In the end, both TRAP and hideout door are terminated, all but killing Muto’s confidence, until a text by Miho insisting they get married before she turns 40 re-energize’s Mashiro’s passion.

Granted, this series has never been one to pull punches or bring out ridiculous twists in fortune, but wow, that was kinda surprising. TRAP is dead. It never recovered from its hiatus and new stories that competed for detective readers. Now Mashiro and Takagi are back at Square One. Considering how high they flew all season, we finally got an episode with another huge, crushing setback that brought back similar feelings of apprehension and disappointment from last season’s many setbacks.

We knew Mashiro would get better. We knew TRAP would drop in rankings (the episode titles tend to be spoilers in and of themselves). But we weren’t sure if the series still wouldn’t turn things around with one final, amazing chapter. It just doesn’t work that way with Jack. They have a tried-and-true system for picking winners and losers, and Trap lost. Miho revising her promise to only wait for him only another couple decades and change provided sufficient incentive for Mashiro to break out of his pity party and start coming up with a new, better manga. Something called Bakuman, perhaps?


Rating: 3.5

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Sket Dance – 34

In the first half, Roman presents her guide to manga for newcomers to the Sket-dan for inspection. As per usual, her artistic skills are dubious, but all of the instructional knowledge is there. However, once Roman’s protege Fumi intensely studies the guide, her drawing becomes crappier.

In the second half, Remi puts on a klutz’s clinic, making countless mistakes in her lesson, then abusing and throwing out her beloved “Specter” doll by mistake. The Sket-dan helps her search for it, and in the process they bump into a group of preschoolers in trouble. Remi shows her strength in leading young children, suggesting she’s more cut out for teaching preschool than high school.

A somewhat pedestrian dual effort this week, as Sket Dance gives Roman and Remi more airtime. Unfortunately, we’ve seen funnier and generally better Roman episodes and Remi episodes in the past. The bombastic commentary of Bossun and Himeko as Roman gives her manga spiel is entertaining enough, but we’ve already been here. In the second half, Remi does her best to prove she’s too ditzy to live. It would’ve made more sense for her to quit as a high school teacher, but that never panned out here.


Rating: 2.5

Ben-To – 08

When Sen loses in quick succession to Shaga, Asebi, and You at Sega, she throws it out the window. You leaps out to catch it, but ends up in the hospital, covered in bandages. A pair of twins from Shaga’s school mistake You for the Ice Witch, whom they’re extremely interested in meeting. They disguise themselves as nurses and visit him one at a time. When one twin removes the bandages and sees what’s beneath, she races through the hospital yelling “freak”, unaware at the time that that boy is actually You, AKA Freak. They abort their mission, then hit up a supermarket and instantly dominate everyone else there.

The Bento Club’s normal operations are interrupted by a rather reckless – but very poetic – self-defenistration of You Satou, and much of the episode revolves around the exploits of the Sawagi sisters, whom he haven’t met before. By episode’s end, it would seem they’ll be more competition for Sen and her pack in the near future. The only Bento battle happened at the end, and we didn’t see it, but we saw all we needed to to get that these twins mean business. However, unlike the Monarch for instance, these twins seem to have a lot of esteem for the Witch, and would consider it an honor to fight her and an even greater honor to defeat her. Of course, they could just approach Sen and talk to her directly, but we guess that wouldn’t be as fun as all this subterfuge…

Though they look alike, one Sawagi twin (voiced by the higher-pitched Yukari Tamura) is impulsive and emotional (like Shaga), while the other (voiced by a lower-pitched Yui Horie) is more stoic and analytical (like Sen). You has the misfortune of wearing more bandages than he needs (Asebi’s family owns the hospital, and Shaga got them to overbandage him) when the twins descend upon him, albeit one at a time.  His squirming and confusion with the dual personalities of who as far as he knows is only one hottie nurse, provides much of the episode’s comedy. His subsequent romp through the hospital corridors as his bandages unravel, and getting tangled up with Asebi and hot milk, only further justify his nom-de-guerre. The things we do for Sega.


Rating: 3.5