Bakuman 2 – 16

When Aoki comes to Ashirogi seeking help drawing panty shots, Kaya suggests she meet with Ishizawa, but that proves a bad idea, as he turns out to be worse than Nakai. When Fukuda hears that Aoki and Nakai were in a fight, he drops by Takahara’s to confront Nakai, who tells him he’s “comfortable” where he is, and working with Katou. Rather than leave it there, he decides to coach Aoki himself, giving her pointers while he draws and having her fax him work to look over. Her resulting work gets her a shot at serialization in the same time Ashirogi’s Tanto is up for it. Meanwhile, Iwase meets with Hattori, vowing to draw a manga based on her novel that will surpass Takagi.

Fukuda can be loud and obnoxious, but he’s also kind (in his own way), and fiercely loyal to his fellow mangakas. We see a lot of him this week, juggling his own Kiyoshi Knights manga with the new task of helping Aoki essentially loosen up. This isn’t just about inserting panty shots; it’s about showing the right imagery at the appropriate time. It’s not simple. Fukuda’s direction really perks Aoki up, as she’s put Nakai and even Takagi past her and is going for it. We like this new, more emotional, more assertive Aoki a lot; she’s just got this spark right now, and her heated conversations with Fukuda are very fun to watch.

Fukuda isn’t just doing this for her. For him, doing what he does just isn’t fun if Niizuma, Mashiro, Takagi, Nakai and Aoki aren’t doing it too. He wants everyone trying to outdo the other, because that will result in everyone putting out their best work. Friends are the best critics, because they can communicate feedback to you in a way someone else may not be able to. Takagi and Mashiro may have had a better chance of being serialized if they put Aoki’s request on hold, but they didn’t; they helped her because she was a friend in need, and because Nakai really was a bastard. We’re not sure what to make of Iwase yet; she’s just starting out like Ashirogi Muto did with Hattori; but she’s a bright cookie, and it’s not unrealistic to think she’ll rise fast.


Rating: 3.5

Advertisements

Guilty Crown – 14

With the school cut off from the rest of Tokyo and emotions running high, President Kuhouin struggles to keep order, leading to a vote of no confidence in her leadership from a rabblerouser named Nanba who is prepared to use force to grab power. Things get worse when the quarantine walls move inward, crushing and killing anything and anyone in their way. Chief Segai sends a message to the school that they’ll all be freed if they hand over members of the Undertakers. Nanba apprehends Ayase and Tsugumi, and Kuhouin loses control, but Shu, encouraged by Hare, stands up and calls for order. With the help of Tsugumi’s void, which can create holographic dopplegangers, Shu proves to Nanba and his followers that the government wouldn’t make good on the deal. Yahiro then calls for a vote, and Shu is elected the new school president.

Faced with the prospect of being locked behind walls that are closing in on them, and mass murder that even Daryl Yan finds distasteful, Shu & Co. find themselves in a desperate situation where calming the mob is key to their survival. Nanba and his ilk strike us as overproud bullies taking advantage of the situation to ingratiate themselves, but they aren’t pure evil or anything; they just want to survive like everyone else. This week was all about the school finding someone who can lead them. A big group like this needs direction, and ultimately, they choose someone who never asked for it but nevertheless possesses all the requisites for leadership. They crown Shu.

Since rescuing Inori, Shu has gotten far more tolerable as a character, and considering how many friends he’s made, he has no excuse to not rise to the potential his ability presents. This week he finally uses that power on Tsugumi, who has an extremely useful power. And Yahiro exhibits a change of heart about the guy who couldn’t save his brother, and eggs the student body to choose him. But it ain’t gonna be no picnic: Yahiro also proposes they start ranking people by how valuable their void is (on a scale of A to F; like school!), creating what is essentially a caste system to ensure King Shu has the most powerful voids at his disposal to deal with the threats that are coming. And they are coming. Chief Segai is a sick bastard.


Rating: 3