Hi-ho Soldier and welcome to my read-through of Bakuman Chapter 49 Recall and Call, in which nonsense just keeps going, but we have some grace notes.
If you are not caught up, please use this awesome index to catch up. There are no spoilers past the current chapter. Read without feah.
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Without further ado, the chapter.
Recall and Call Summary
Yoshida asks whether Team Fukuda is serious about the boycott. Fukuda points out Saiko’s effort and willingness to keep drawing even while hospitalized. Aida points out that they’re only going to upset Saiko if they all go on hiatus: he’ll take responsibility. Fukuda explains their foolproof plan to not tell him about it…
Cool. Cool cool.
Fukuda doubles down on their plan to go on hiatus should Trap’s Hiatus remain in effect.
Yoshida asks for how long: until the end of Trap’s hiatus next April. Hiramaru is cool with that because of course, he is. Aida reminds them they won’t be able to pay their assistants if that’s the case if they aren’t paid for a year which freaks Nakai out.
Eiji steps in and offers to pay for all of their costs given that he casually has 100 million yen he doesn’t know what to do with. He offers to support Ashirogi as well. The editors are collectively horrified by Eiji’s casual and obnoxious success, Yujiro tries to recall his actual sales figures.
Hattori asks them what concessions they’d be willing to give, like, if the hiatus was dropped until after they left the hospital would that satisfy them? Fukuda’s stumped by this possibility and Hiramaru sticks to the initial claim of waiting until Trap is back in Jump. Yoshida tells him to can it since he only wants to delay work as long as possible.
Hiramaru claims that it’s totally because he was inspired by Fukuda and his desire to protest the office in solidarity with Comrade Ashirogi which is obviously bullshit.
Hattori asks the rest of them what they plan to do and whether they’re open to further negotiation.
Fukuda doesn’t fall for the trap and says he’ll decide pending the editor-in-chief’s actual decision. Yujiro seems pleased by his ward’s rebellious attitude. Eiji interjects with the fact they’ll all move to another magazine if it goes on for several months. Yujiro finally realizes his ass is on the line with this. Eiji apologizes and offers to stock up on new chapters regardless because he just wants to keep drawing.
Aida asks if Nakai and Aoki understand the implications of their behavior. He points out that Hideout Door is not in Crow’s league and cancellation is damning in their case. Nakai’s alarmed and Aoki has enough Big Dick Energy for the both of them, pointing out that if the Editor-in-Chief is this unreasonable then she doesn’t want to work for him. She’s sticking to her guns on this one. Fukuda and Hiramaru both express their admiration before getting frustrated with the negotiations and deciding to go to the source of their frustration directly.
Aida tries to get them back but Yujiro, resigned, decides they should go and do what they’re gonna do.
Aida tries fruitlessly to get Yujiro on his side. Yujiro explains that he also thinks the Editor in Chief is wrong and that all four seem determined to do this. Plus he wants to see what happens, like Hannibal Lecter. Aida reminds him of their jobs and Yujiro says Aida can do that with HIdeout Door; Yujiro knows Eiji and Fukuda well enough to realize his protests will not work. That said, he presses them to get their work done in case the Editor-in-Chief does ultimately bow to their demands. Fukuda and Eiji understand, Hiramaru looks horrified.
Yoshida uses the opportunity to press the issue, and Hiramaru dejectedly agrees to it.
The editors decide they’ll try and negotiate with Sasaki and asks that they all stay out of it for now. When asked, they say they’ll only cause more trouble and weaken their cause.
Saiko and Geezer
Saiko draws late at night with a lamp and from across the sheet, another patient asks what’s going on. Saiko apologizes for waking him up.
The old man says it’s fine since he sleeps during the day. The old man wants to know about Saiko’s job as a mangaka. He explains he wanted to be an actor and despite only ever getting bit roles, he doesn’t regret shooting his shot because he put his all into it. Saiko’s impressed that the guy was in the movies. The old man tells him to keep up the work and wishes him luck.
At the office, Aida and Yoshida give Sasaki the bad news about the upcoming Hiatus. Aida backpedals a bit and explains he’ll try to get them to see reason, but they’re likely to go through with it regardless. Yoshida agrees.
Sasaki dresses down his subordinates for not keeping the mangaka in line: if the manga isn’t done, it’s the editor’s fault and he’s responsible for the editors, so it’s his fault. He tells them to get the pages. Aida tries to intercede on behalf of the mangaka but Sasaki’s decision is firm.
Miura and Yujiro worry about Issue 32 and how it might cause a seismic shift and internal restructuring.
Hattori has a realization and asks whether he’d reconsider the time frame for the hiatus to the end of Saiko’s hospital stay. Sasaki’s decision is final. Sasaki then pulls out the drill sergeant and orders them to do their damn jobs and come up with backup plans in case it doesn’t pan out.
Aida and Yoshida lament the frustration. Heishi thinks it might be good for Mangaka not to get too friendly with each other.
A budding romance of two idiots
The next day Saiko and Shujin discuss Miho coming by and Chapter 19’s progress. Saiko gives him some orders for the assistants while Miura prepares to come in. Saiko reassures his mom that he’s fine when Miura enters.
Saiko lets Miura know that it doesn’t matter that the chapter won’t run, they’re still going to push forward. Miura understands and will still take the chapter and submit it regardless. But the editor is not one to change his mind. Kaya think she might compromise after the operation, though if Saiko’s consistent about his deadlines…
Nothing has been learned. Nothing.
Miura apologizes for being unable to stop Saiko but Saiko’s mom has resigned herself to her son’s workaholic tendencies. Saiko explains his plans to get the storyboards done for the next chapter on time after the operation. When asked to give himself rest time, he says he’ll draw while recovering…
Nothing has been learned. Nothing.
At that moment, Miho comes in and Miura and the rest rush out to let the two lovebirds be. Miho asks them both to stay but Kaya says the two need to be alone for some kissy time.
Saiko tells Miho the operation will be next Monday and she gives him a good luck charm. She also says she’s going to take the day off school to be there. Saiko worries about her school’s strict deadlines and especially for an operation that’s 99% safe. Miho wants 100% safety so she’ll be here.
Miho mentions they’re both seniors in high school and she reminds him that Kaya mentioned kissy time. Saiko panics and asks whether it has to do with the possibility of him dying. Miho asks why he’d bring that up. He mentions that if he dies, they’d never kiss. Miho clarifies that she wasn’t thinking about naughty things and if it’s strange that she isn’t. Saiko actually gets it: just being around here makes his brain go blank and he’s happy. Miho feels the same. Saiko thinks it’s unfair, but she is content with this information.
Ashirogi finds out the news
That Friday, Miura gives them volume 1 of Detective Trap. Saiko explains he was given general anesthesia and was totally knocked out. By the time he could see visitorys, he felt some soreness from the incision.
Shujin tells Saiko to take it easy after surgery; Saiko says he’ll draw while recuperating. Shujin asks him to give it a day at least. Saiko asks about the deadline, but he assures Saiko that the assistants are taking care of it. He decides to relent and take a single day off.
Saiko notes they were able to meet their deadlines for Chapter 20 the week after the operation.
Following that deadline, they learn of the hiatus to their alarm. The editorial office is also in shambles and Aida is surprised Nakai and Aoki also went through with it. Fukuda, Nakai, and Hiramaru all act appropriately in character about the decision.
Saiko asks what’s up with this nonsense and Miura explains Team Fukuda’s gambit. In the chapter notes, they list it as due to illness for Ashirogi and “Creator Convenience” for Fukuda and the others. Saiko panics about the implications and tells Miura that the others shouldn’t withhold their own dreams on Ashirogi’s account. Miura asks him to calm down. Saiko panics about the fans too, waiting for their favorite chapters.
Miura begs them to accept a hiatus that goes on until the end of their hospitalization. They ask why when they’ve already turned in the chapters. Miura tries to reconcile all the different parties’ needs and wants and explains that he believes that under the right pressure, Sasaki might relent and allow a hiatus after their hospital stay is concluded.
Shujin gives Miura the go-ahead while Saiko says nothing.
July 11th, the issue with the hiatus goes on sale and the Jump office is bombarded with calls from fans about the situation. It’s so bad that it’s even on the news; ironically, the manga is selling better than usual.
Aida yells at his subordinates to stop chatting and to start fielding angry phone calls as the chapter ends.
Recall and Call Reaction
Panel of the Week
If I had to guess, this panel was done by an assistant with a lightbox, tracing a reference photo they took at the Jump Offices. But even so, it’s a banger. I particularly like how Obata and his team draw copies of Shonen Jump with photorealistic detail down to the linework on individual pages so that they resemble the colored demarcations of the actual magazine.
But also, the phone and the magazine make a nice visual statement on the chaos going on in the background. Especially with the nifty canted angle of the shot which runs at the same angle to the action lines up at the top, and counter to the ringing onomatopoeia.
It creates this fun little power dynamic where the impersonal magazine and phone lines are the most powerful objects in the office right now. And the detail of having four copies of Jump – representing the four series that are on hiatus – gives a nice little touch to the proceedings.
Now onto the stuff that continues to drive me nuts.
This Dumbass Shitshow continues
Y’all, I’m beyond tired of this arc. I’ve gone over why I’m tired of this arc the previous several chapters at length, but ugh. It won’t end. It just won’t end.
I don’t think I’ve been this frustrated at a series before.
And I should probably make something clear: the storytelling and art are still top-notch and well done, and I’ll try to be chipper about some of the entertaining elements of this chapter.
But ugh. This arc has been going on for 5 chapters, and it feels like 50.
I feel like everyone minus a few key individuals are just being stupid children, and I don’t like reading about stupid children.
Confirming my suspicions last chapter, Fukuda’s opposition is to the hiatus itself, and not the length. Which is dumb. Objectively. And as stated last time, if it were purely a matter of relationship to Uncle Nobuhiro it’s one thing. But, as Saiko seems to be doing and the narrative seems to be pushing, he’s going to get his dumb fucking way because he narratively has to, but also the series is not at all critical of his decision to literally potentially work himself to death.
I am not ok with this.
The fact that Saiko seems to have gained nothing from this experience is genuinely alarming, and probably the single most frustrating element of all. He’s still pushing for the chapters and deadlines. And sure, he seems well enough to do right now, but the dude neglected to eat, got hospitalized, and now needs to get surgery. How does this not potentially alert you to the fact that maybe you should change your goddamn behavior?
*takes a stiff fictional drink out of frustration*
Alright, I think I’m probably going to mention this again. because this arc’s central dilemma is so in my face and aside from Hattori who, thank god, has the remotest ounce of sense and care for the boys, Sasaki, and maybe Miura, this argument is just: should artists be allowed to kill themselves through total neglect of body and mind in service of making manga?
That’s not a real question. But it’s being posed as one.
I feel like Mashiro’s mom, here. Just tired and annoyed, but ultimately powerless. Also, poor Mrs. Mashiro, having to reconcile yourself to the fact that your son is suicidally inclined to work like the uncle who died of it.
I’ve said that a million times.
Anyway….let’s talk about the rest.
The negotiation scene – minus the stupidity – was actually pretty fun to watch. It felt like a nice bit of political maneuvering and it revealed one of the key elements of politics: vested self-interest.
The thing that knocks Nakai out is his need for four assistants, Fukuda’s the idealist and Yujiro is his enabler. Eiji has no skin in the game because he’s wealthy enough that he doesn’t have to worry about shit. Hattori and Aida are mediators and have some grasp on the gravity of the situation.
Welcome to politics.
And that it reads politically elevates what would otherwise be an incredibly frustrating read *sees above* it elevates it in spite of it. because it feels real. And it feels like how compromises and political maneuvering should feel. Substantial even when abstract and off-screen. It’s the sausage getting made in a different way.
And again, Eiji is a free agent and his absurd wealth is hilarious. So he gets to be chaotic for its own sake.
I really do feel for Nakai, here, though. I mean, points to Aoki for having the absolute meaty clackers to just stick to her guns. It’s in character and it’s ballsy.
But also, Nakai just got his dream job after 12 years, and he wants to keep it. And his position is dire. Like, he’s in no position to negotiate. And for him, this question of his manga succeeding is, in fact, an open question. It’s not clear that he’s going to get through it unscathed. Hiramaru doesn’t want to do manga or at least openly grouses about it. And Fukuda is all bluster.
And if this goes pear-shaped, I feel like Nakai will eat the most shit. Because as mentioned Hideout Door isn’t doing well right now.
I do find it suspect that Fukuda just decided not telling Saiko would be a good idea. Given his whole Byronic savior complex and obsession. But Fukuda doesn’t strike me as the thoughtful type. So maybe that’s on me.
Speaking of Saiko.
His and Miho’s relationship is weird
I said it. It’s been weird from the start. But here we hit a whole new level of bizarre. but, also, importantly, it’s not bad.
I think it’s important to recognize that most people are weirdos. Fundamentally and irreconcilably so. And that weirdness is just a function of being human, man. It also manifests in different ways.
That Miho and Saiko’s relationship is relatively chaste, and quiet, but strong is, well, actually kind of nice to see depicted. Because not all relationships have to be overly lovey-dovey and hot and bothered. Some people are introverts who just need someone by their side to reassure them that the abyss is not on the horizon.
So, I actually like it. Although I do find it a little gross that it is so idealized and representative of the mangaka – and Shonen Jump’s – vision of a kind of ideal love. I don’t think I can get behind that. A love so pure the lovers cant cross the line and go get some Korean BBQ afterwards. Nah, love is messy and dirty.
But I’m cool with a localized depiction of atypical romance at least for now. If their relationship doesn’t develop past this, I foresee problems. But for now, it’s cool.
What isn’t cool, though?
Sasaki’s Hardheadedness and the Old Geezer
The acting anecdote was legitimately frustrating in context because Saiko very much has shot his shot and continuing to shoot his shot. And he’s not doomed if he waits. That’s not how it works. Clearly the Jump offices like him and Shujin enough that they have another opportunity to get into Jump. Like, bro, you just started your career.
But Sasaki’s adherence to the bloated hiatus is, eh, well, mildly frustrating. Mostly because he’s doing it out of reflex and frustration at a lack of subordination. I don’t think the time frame is unreasonable in the abstract. But if Saiko healed it would probably be fine, even though I’m not ok with a lot of what is going on I’m not totally unreasonable.
But Sasaki seems to be doing this because he’s hardheaded and not because he thinks it’s the best option. it feels a bit artificial to keep this silly arc going. And I don’t like that. Or because the story demands conflict. But I digress.
Although Saiko getting dick slapped with an overblown hiatus would be just, if he’s healed, it’s not necessary. And if he takes care of himself. I think Sasaki is overdoing it for length, but his reasoning is sound.
This arc cotninues dramatically.
Please tell me this arc is going to end soon. As fun as it is to see the absolute chaos erupting in the jump offices with the announcement of 4 hiatuses, I want the series to move on. This is taking all of my energy not to get even more annoyed at it.
With that in mind. The final few pages were delightful and chaotic and if it were a smarter, better-argued storyline, would have been an excellent inflection point in this chapter.
As it stands.
Until next time.