First Impression: Bakuman Season 3
As its third season begins Bakuman has already established a plot, has tons of characters and ran us through at least 10 or so fictional manga series. This series knows how to push buttons and remains a fun watch despite some stagnating elements and the lack of romance between the main characters. The one thing Bakuman always excelled at was providing real facts about the Japanese manga industry. Mashiro and Takagi have always worked to succeed in the “real world” of manga publishing. Embarrassingly enough episode 4 marks the series’ first blooper as Mashori and Takagi run into an obstacle that in reality does not exist.
It’s no secret that I’ve always enjoyed Bakuman and am glad to have a new season of it to watch. So this time around I’ll leave the praises aside and jump stright into the problematic beginning of the third season. In episode 4 Mashori and Takagi are informed that their manga can never be animated because it features risqué elements that kids might try to mimic. It makes sense that such a series cannot be made into an anime because we wouldn’t want children to pull elaborate pranks over each other. Except it does make sense at all! Has Tsugumi Ohba (Bakuman’s mangaka) forgot that 90% of anime airs during late night? And what about the PCP manga itself? It’s being marketed as a shounen manga and appears in Shounen Jump (Urrr…Shounen Junk) – the most popular magazine of all among kids. So basically it’s ok for the biggest magazine to show PCP but it would be a problem to make an anime of it? Excuse me but that is just a bogus excuse not to make an anime (and prolong the Bakuman manga). In the real world such a problem would never arise.
There’s also a second issue that has been bugging me. The third season begins by showing us some story elements from PCP. As Mashiro and Takagi dive into their first episodic case we are shown how they work hard to make the story and characters blend together in the most effective (and thus fan-appeasing) way possible. Personally I’m still not convinced that PCP is a good manga. Despite being the best plot Takagi could come up with the first episodic case of PCP is shallow and left a bad taste in my mouth. How is misleading a person to guess you would light fireworks in one place and then lighting them in another remotely interesting? If PCP really existed could it entice readers on a weekly basis? In its current state I doubt that very much. This isn’t a problem in the strict sense (we are obviously watching Bakuman, not PCP) but if Bakuman can’t convince us that Mashiro and Takagi are making an awesome manga the overall charm of Bakuman will suffer in the long run.