Blogging powers … ACTIVATE!

The second week of the new season has brought us some new premieres, some solid second episodes, and some other stuff. Let’s get to it!

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Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi are Ashirogi Muto.

Yay, it’s finally over! No, a third season of Bakuman has been announced. Honestly the second season showed significant improvement over the first season in several ways. First, it had some great dramatic moments, second, it didn’t waste as much time on the romances, third, the artwork was definitely improved, and finally, it ended strong. If the series had been more consistently like episode 25, I would probably say this was a pretty good series. Unfortunately Bakuman hasn’t demonstrated the ability to consistently string together entertaining episodes.

When it is good, it is very interesting, because the premise is so unique, and people have told me that the arc that recently ended was some of the weakest material in the manga, so I guess I understand why a third season is forthcoming. I also think it is a positive thing for J.C. Staff to be working on, because it is so unlike their other shows, which have a tendency to be formulaic. I just can’t feel excited about a third season.

Saiko gets that "I didn't expect that!" feeling.

I haven’t written much about season 2 of Bakuman, but I am pleased to see that after a first season that was disappointing, and a second season (or at least 21 episodes of it) that were occasionally entertaining, but also dragged quite a bit, Ashirogi Muto seem to have finally got it back in gear. I enjoyed the enthusiasm on display in the first few episodes of the first season, and was willing to write off the entire first season as merely the story of how the real story started, and there were some good parts of this second season, but most of this second season has been Ashirogi Muto struggling to put a successful idea down on paper. That might be realistic drama from the manga industry, but that mixed with sub-standard romantic faire wasn’t satisfying for me. Finally (FINALLY!) in episode 22 of the second season, the boys seem to have hit upon a successful idea for a manga. This is the first idea they have had that actually sounds interesting to me. Hopefully this season will wrap up in a nice fashion, and I can feel good about dropping it. Bakuman season 3 has already been announced for Fall 2012, but I think I have given all I can on this series.

Mashiro would rather die than give up on his dream.

Shounen powers ACTIVATE! Episode 6 of Bakuman’s second season brings us perhaps the most shounen episode of this franchise yet. Mashiro has collapsed from the strain, and for some reason the quack doctor thinks removing part of his liver will help. Mashiro refuses to stop drawing, however. Even if it kills him, even if he loses the love of his life, he will continue to draw manga. In particular he is working on a color spread, which gives us another chance to check out his art tools — this time some nice color markers.

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Being professional manga-ka is serious business.

This is a first impression of season 2 of Bakuman. For an introduction to the series concept, see my first impression of the first season. I was somewhat negative in my final thoughts on the first season, so I wanted to give the new season a chance to make its case (and stand or fall on its own merits). To sum it up, the first three episodes of season two has focussed on the stronger aspects of the story, without completely overcoming the first season’s weaknesses. If you loved the first season, then season two is a great continuation. For those who felt disappointed that the first season dragged, and spent too much time on the romance between Mashiro and Azuki, the second season has, so far, avoided this particular pitfall. I still think the artwork is uneven and not up to the standards of J.C. Staff, but with this stronger storyline, perhaps the second season can finally deliver. Read the rest of this entry »

Truth in advertising: the composition of frames in this series isn't always this interesting.

Episode 25 of Bakuman has aired, bringing the first season to a close. Here I survey reactions from around the ani-blogisphere before concluding with my own perspective. To the studio!

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Bakuman 23 – stipple

March 20, 2011

The stippling technique.

Episode 23 of Bakuman is the first in a while that has referenced artistic techniques in a meaningful way. It also used what has turned out to be one of the great strengths of this show: the compression of time. As much as two months elapsed in the course of this one episode. Speeding up the boring parts! As a result this was a decent enough episode, although the series as a whole has been a bit of a let down.

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In episode 22, everyone gets together -- for no particular reason.

Bakuman is heading towards its climax, which looks like it will be the battle for the Golden Future Cup. I can’t say I love this show, but I am attracted to some aspects of it. On occasion, it has captured the intensity and drive that a good shounen story should present. The drive to be #1 at something is the core of the generic shounen story, and Bakuman manages to present that struggle in a novel arena — the world of professional manga artists. On the other hand, there is something thin about both the story and the presentation. I won’t dwell on the disappointing visuals, except to say that I find it ironic that a show that is in part about the art of illustration should be so flat, awkward, and generally uninteresting to look at. The story itself has also fallen flat at times. What follows is my reaction to what (did not) happen in episode 22.

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Hello all. I’ve been having computer problems lately that directly impact my ability to deal with video, as well as general system stability, thus watching anime has not really been possible. Until I can replace this computer, I will have a hard time keeping up with the season. A bit of a shame since I enjoyed some of the new shows.

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The face hidden behind the mask is revealed in Otome Youkai Zakuro.

I’m catching up on a bunch of titles. This seems to be the part of the season that shows use for filler-ish material. After this the mad rush to make things seem like they are coming to a conclusion will begin, so this time is often taken for side-tales and development of minor characters. The one real exception in this batch was Zakuro, which is slowly but steadily developing a real plot.

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