Black Rock Shooter – 05

Mato and Yuu realize Yomi is acting more and more unusually, culminating in her uncontrollably cutting her hair in class; her mother takes her home. Yuu confronts Saki, blaming her for Yomi’s state; Saya tells her hearts have to be wounded so they can heal and become stronger. Later Saya tells Mato if she wants to save Yuu, she nees to die for her, and puts her hands around her neck. When Mato can’t find anyone who remembers Yuu, she runs out to the river, where Yuu is there, and uses some kind of power that connects Mato with Black Rock Shooter, who has already stabbed Yomi’s counterpart.

This episode tried to provide a lot of answers, but it just left us with more questions. Even if Mato didn’t believe it until the end, we were pretty good on the whole existence of a parallel world where badass avatars duke it out and shoulder all the grief and suffering of the angsty girls on the other side. Thanks to Yuu, we also know that Kagari and Kohata’s avatars were destroyed, freeing them from all that suffering. The result was like a reset button: they’re almost different people, with holes in their memories.

There are still a few things we have yet to work out: like what the real deal is with Yuu, for instance. Is she some kind of part-imaginary friend who freaked out Yomi? The clues point somewhere around there: identical bracelets, Mato’s her only friend…their builds…and Yuu serves as a medium between Mato and BRS, actually putting one in the other’s skin. Clearly she’s no ordinary girl. As for Saya, she shows her true colors like it’s nothing. Was she just bored pretending to be nice? What’s her plan?

Rating: 3.5

P.S.: 1000th Post! WOOT! Also, the opening theme is growing on us. Call us ig’nant bitches if you must, but we just recently learned the vocals are by Hatsune Miku. No wonder they sound so artificial and precise!

Bakuman 2 – 21

As Tanto winds down, Ashirogi Muto struggle to find a new idea, until Miura suggests they bring back Money & Intelligence, but add “Appearence” to make it KTM. Takagi is fired up and has loads of ideas, butwhen they submit the manuscript for serialization, it fails. Rather than improve KTM, Miura orders them to do a mainstream fantasy in the vein of One Piece, but the resulting manuscript doesn’t even make it to the serialization meeting. Miura arrives with Hattori, who wants to help in anyway he can. Meanwhile, Iwase reiterates her ‘interest’ in him, and he gives her a set amount of time to win his heart.

When we learned there’d be three serialization meetings, we imagined three episodes in which Mashiro and Takagi come up with three manga ideas, and naturally the first and second would be rejected. But things went faster than we expected, with them breezing through two manga concepts in one week, leaving them with one more shot: if they fail again, they’re through with Jack. One annoyance of this series is how it’s paced: earlier in the first season, an episode would only cover a day or two – now weeks can pass with nary a label to indicate it.

Pacing aside, clearly there’s plenty more material to come – there’s a third season coming later this year – and that makes us wonder, just how long is Ashirogi Muto going to continue these cycles of small victories followed by failures. When will they finaly surpass Niizuma Eiji, like Hattori and others believe they can? As viewers, we’re starting to get a little antsy. Is Bakuman merely stringing us along, or will there be some eventual gratification? We know, for one thing, Mashiro’s goal of getting an anime with Miho voicing it is still a long way off, and their marriage with it. So until then Bakuman has to make a case for itself. Something good’s gotta happen.

Rating: 3