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

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