「壁とキス」 (Kabe to Kisu)
“Wall and Kiss”
I didn’t think Bakuman could have any significant plot twists. Since the beginning it’s been the same wash and rinse sequence of writing mangas and getting pretty close to winning, but never winning. While it didn’t feel overused, I thought it was starting to feel a little old. Which is why I was surprised to see a huge cliffhanger right at the end of the episode. Plus they covered two chapters of material, which seems like the perfect amount to not have a boring episode.
Like I said earlier, the whole process of submitting a manuscript to Hattori for some contest started to feel a little old. Even though our duo has managed to consistently improve after each of their submissions, they still weren’t getting anywhere near becoming number one. Using their latest manuscript for their shot at mainstream manga as an example, I was surprised just to see how far they plummeted. After they didn’t even make it past the first round of judging, I was afraid we’d have another arc of trying to learn the basics of manga.
But right at the half-point mark in the episode everything started to turn around. Beginning with Azuki and her fame as a seiyuu slowly gaining interest in the media and Kaya realizing her dream of wanting to become a writer, I was really starting to question where the series was heading. Plus with Takagi and Mashiro revitalized after receiving so much positive feedback over their failed mainstream manga attempt, I was surprised to see the stresses of life catch up to Takagi. His job of being a writer for Mashiro, his school work, and his commitments to Kaya — all of his responsibilities seemed to suddenly start eating away at him giving him a bad case of writers block.
The big surprises came right at the end of the episode. As Takagi decides to take a break from making manga in order to figure out how to get past his writer’s block, I never expected things to move the way they did. Takagi inviting Kaya on a date seemed innocent enough, but after his revelation of how guilty he felt for hindering our duo’s progress, I wasn’t sure what was going on in Takagi’s head anymore. Too make matters worse his guilt prevented him from voicing his opinion against Hattori’s request for Mashiro to become Nizuma’s assistant — something I don’t think a clear headed Takagi would have let happen in a million years.
With Takagi battling a handful of emotions, Kaya asking him if she’s a nuisance to him probably was the last thing he wanted to hear. While I give him props for bluntly explaining how he feels about her, it couldn’t have been at a worse point in time — when Mashiro happened to be looking as he was passing by. Seeing how Mashiro is subjecting himself to working with Nizuma in order to become a better mangaka, I bet he probably feels like he’s getting the short end of the stick right now.
* Just like how I find reading manga inside an anime as sort of ironic, it’s even worse when I’m watching an anime inside another anime! [/sarcasm]