Saturday, May 26, 2012

Anime review: "Bakuman", second season

So, quite fast after fighting against and then succumbing to the first season, I watched the second season of "Bakuman". The good news is that third season (last one, I think) is following this fall. I am looking forward to it. Only thing I can object about it is that is was so good that I watched 20 episodes in one day (Sunday), which resulted in 4 hours of sleep that night and a very sleepy morning at work next day.

As I wrote in my review of the first season, "Bakuman" is a shounen anime flirting with seinen. This is even more notable than in first season. Mashiro "Saiko" Moritaka and Takagi Akito continue struggling to fulfill their dream of becoming the first-rate manga-ka for Shounen Jack, so Saiko can marry Miho (whom he had seen one or twice since their middle school). I know: a typical senseless shounen plot. But for some reason, it works great. In this season even their relationship become a bit more realistic (but still a far away from normal).

In the first season the duo succeeded in getting a serialization of their manga. This made their goal seem quite reachable, but it also brought one shortfall - instead their genius editor Hattori, they are now transferred to a junior editor Miura. Will the new editor be show good enough to support them? And more important, will they first manga prove to be enough to get an anime adaptation?

This biggest plot starts at the beginning, and is resolved toward the end, but there are few side-roads taken around the middle. This is a good thing, because this side plots are used to evolve the characters (I almost used the word setting, but this is a character-centered anime, setting is irrelevant), the new one and the old one. Cast is widened so much that it would be a trouble to remember everybody, if they were not so unique and unforgettable. I didn't expect such evolution of what I thought to be side-characters - there is much character development in this anime. Characters are also more mature. I think that focus of this season is removed from creation of manga toward relationship between them, although manga stay the center that everything revolves. All in all, I think that this season was composed nicely - nice pace, not too slow, but neither too fast; and always interesting.

I read some comments that anime adaptation rushes through the manga, which means that there is probably more material there. This series is completed, so I would like to read the manga original, although after the fiasco with "Black Lagoon", I am somewhat weary. I will keep this one on mind, but not for the close future. Anyway, this season takes around three or four years (in anime time)!

The humor is simply great. There are lots of gags, and it kept me smiling most of the time. But the funniest character of the series so far was Hiaimaru. And to believe that he was introduced so sinister in the first season... I think that I laughed in every scene featuring him. Otters...

There is not much to say about audio or visual side - they are mostly mediocre. I wanted to said that unique design of characters follows more from authors' (Obha Tsugumi  and Obata Takeshi) weak skill that from intention. But I then checked Wikipedia and saw that they are responsible for "Death Note", which was drawn much better, so maybe I am wrong. There are 25 episodes, again.

For conclusion, I think that it is enough to say that second season of "Bakuman" is even better than the first. A nice catch for those who like slice-of-life or comedy anime. Special recommendation for the fans of "Genshiken".

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