In Trust and Distrust, Kaya Needs A Big Ol’ Hug (Chapter 63)

Hiya, and welcome to my read-through of Bakuman Chapter 63: Trust and Distrust, in which Kaya needs a hug, we talk about Character Design, and Miura gets into a (shitty) rivalry.

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Without further ado,

Trust and Distrust Summary

Poor Kaya

Kaya pieces together her version of events with the information from the letter and thinks Shujin doesn’t think of her as anything other than a cleaning lady. She calls up Miho, so she can talk to someone she trusts.

Miho answers while practicing some lines and is shocked to learn Kaya’s version of events in which Shujin and Iwase have been romantic penpals the whole time. Miho asks for evidence and Kaya mentions the letter.

Miho thinks that’s a bit sus, given the existence of the internet, and asks if Kaya consulted with Takagi at all. She hasn’t mentioned it yet. Miho tells her to talk with him after his meeting and confirm what’s going on.

Trust and Distrust Kaya in Tears

Kaya thinks he’s been talking to her every night and she’s scared. She also knows about a date at the zoo.

Miho then gets righteously angry on her behalf and puts some of the blame on Saiko: if he knew and said nothing he’s equally guilty. She would never forgive him for something like that. Kaya – rightfully – thinks that’s ridiculous, but Miho doubles down and makes the point that he’s complicit in this situation.

Kaya defends them as being busy working on Akamaru jump and she doesn’t want to be a bother to them yet. She asks Miho not to talk to Saiko about this situation yet.

Miho thinks she doesn’t have to be so passive and a “good” girl, but Kaya is invested in their success. Miho asks whether she can handle the pressure and Kaya says she’ll figure it out.

Poor girl.

Anyhow

Miura explains that gag manga needs layers of jokes: at least three jokes per page. Shujin thinks that number is physically impossible: 138 jokes per one shot. Miura is more confident.

The characters’ names: Tanto and Meijin Daihatsu, Palette Suzuki, the title “Vroom, Tanto Daihatsu” it’s all funny and straightforward. Shujin was using those as a placeholder; it’s a car ad joke. Miura thinks that’s the genius…

Miura asks Shujin to throw in every joke and the kitchen sink and then they’ll trim the fat later. Saiko asks about the gag manga ranking problems.

Miura knows about the issue but isn’t worried because they can continue for longer periods of time with more stability than the average story manga. Saiko wants first place given their bona fides and history. Miuras’ thrilled by the attitude. They discuss the deadline: July 10th.

Saiko wants to simplify his artwork and work on Character Designs which will take some time. Miura’s more concerned about the jokes and doesn’t need the artwork to be perfect. He’s fine with Saiko’s work as is.

Saiko still wants a kid-friendly look that’ll pass the silhouette test. He wants as much time as possible. Miura doesn’t understand so Saiko shows the generic look of the MC currently.

Character Design Basics

Trust and Distrust Mewfsqueech

Saiko refers to an old-school manga: Hiroshi in Gutsy Frog. he has something distinctive about him – sunglasses – and that became iconic. or the shoulder pads from Masaru. Character design is super important; the bizarre hairdos have motivation. Miura agrees to let him come up with good designs.

They then move to the design of mew-woof-squeak-chirp – mewfsqueech- he doesn’t need to be redesigned. Miura sees it as ugly cute and Shujin likes it as well.

Saiko goes over the list of characters he has to redesign: basically all of ’em. Miura decides to meet with Shujin alone next time, then, to give him time.

They move to storyboards about mewfsqueech being created. Miura asks for another invention before him. Shujin comes up with the idea of Navi shoes on the spot which doesn’t stop for anything, even red lights.

Miura wants more brainstorming for ideas like that. And catchphrases too giving some cheesy examples of what could potentially work. Shujin and Miura talk about Meijin’s invention all being accidental and get excited over the silliness of it all. Even Saiko’s pleased with the course of the meeting.

Yamahisa’s suggestion

Yamahisa gives Yoshida Aokis storyboards for commentary. Up against the deadline, Yoshida’s inclined to submit them. Older readers will probably approve; Yoshida’s surprised she was convinced to do panty shots.

Yamahisa explains she’s still not sold on the idea. Yoshida suggests bringing Nakai back to do backgrounds and underwear. Yamahisa points out that Nakai would have to get an art credit again, were that the case, and yamahisa wants to emphasize that Ko Aoki is a beautiful female manga artist.

Gross.

Yoshida thinks that line of logic is silly. Yamahisa goes on about how Aoki’s panty shots aren’t compelling to boys and he wants to hire someone specifically to draw butts and panties.

Yoshida makes a snide remark about the internet having what he’s looking for but it goes straight over Yamahisa’s head.

Aoki gets a call from Yamahisa with approval for the storyboards and a suggestion. He tells her about the assistant who is good at drawing panties and butts – rephrased for a delicate lady’s ears – ugh, and asks to let an assistant handle the T’n’A. She asks whether it’s a male or female.

When he answers male she drops it like a hot potato: she don’t trust no man to draw panties – especially perverted ones – I mean men who are good at those illustrations. She then hangs up on him.

Yamahisa explains that she’s inexplicably developed a mistrust of men but Yoshida wonders if it’s not Yamahisa’s general skeeziness at play. Yamahisa is totally blind to his…uh, personality.

Aoki’s Trust Issues

Shujin’s still struggling with women and Miss Noa’s character so he calls up Aoki to hash it out. he asks about her career as an educator and some advice. She agrees and then asks what she’d do if a fifth-grader lifted up her skirt.

….I swear to god, Shujin.

She’d be angry and send him to detention and call his parents like a good teacher. Shujin thinks it’s harsh. She’s shocked: you gotta nip that shit in the bud as soon as starts. He could grow up to be a molester!

Shujin thanks her for the advice and leaves the conversation at that. Aoki realizes she wanted to talk longer but she remembers that she said she doesn’t trust men. Why is Shujin different?

She starts to wonder what her actual feelings for Shujin are and rationalizes that they’re colleagues but…he has a girlfriend and Iwase’s feelings for him, muddying everything.

Miura’s Rival

Heishi lets Yamahisa know Shizuka has been selected for Akamaru. Yoshida is surprised by the wait times for picking stuff out, but Yamahisa is satisfied that he gets two one-shots and two likely series to follow. Miura thinks there’s a 99.9% chance of Ashirogi raining down awesome in the next magazine.

Yamahisa goes for the jugular by agreeing with Saiko from 10 chapters ago that Ashirogi aren’t suited to Humor. He then pokes at the fact that Ten only made tenth despite all the work done on it. If he were their editor, he’d let them do something a la the world is all about money and intelligence.

Yamahisa is relentless thinking that Shizuka is going to make it impossible for them to ever get a series like that in Jump again with his own gritty dark takes. He digs even more: only two rounds of edits to make his one-shot incredible.

A gag manga will never make first place.

Yamahisa just cannot stop being a total piece of human trash and goads Miura further with BB Kenichi’s poor performance in the early results, while also apologizing for riling him up.

Seriously, Yamahisa fucking sucks. Miura demands respect from his kouhai and Hattori tells them to cut their shit.

Kaya’s Revelation

At the studio, Saiko asks why Kaya hasn’t been there since summer break started. Shujin doesn’t know and Saiko asks how he can’t know given her being his freaking girlfriend. He thinks maybe it’s something to do with letting them focus on their work. Or maybe she’s sick? He decides to call her to see what’s up.

Kaya is a depressive blob on her bed and Shujin asks what’s going on.

She immediately asks about meeting Iwase. he confirms it, but when he tries to explain Kaya only confirms her headcanon ship and immediately hangs up.

Shujin explains she knows about Iwase. Saiko tells him to simply explain the situation to her. Shujin wonders how she found out about it anyway?

Saiko then realizes he left Iwase’s book out and forgot about it. Shujin wonders how Kaya figured it out, they also remember the spare key in their Postbox and wonder if she’s really done with them.

Saiko sees the gravity of the situation and thinks he should explain.

Shujin pretends everything is fine like that dog in the house fire but Saiko thinks he should try to explain. Shujin thinks she doesn’t trust him right now so it wouldn’t work very well if he tried. He then asks whether he should also explain about Aoki

In all cases, they have to focus on their one-shot since Miura is coming for a meeting

Miura’s Determination

At the meeting, Miura likes all the jokes in the one-shot and laughs his ass off at everything. Shujin asks whether the gag with the body swap is too cliche, but he thinks it’s fine.

Miura asks Saiko about the final draft: four, no, five, no six days because he’s on his own. Miura’s cool with it and wants the chapter to be as funny as possible in five days. In between cackles, Miura suggests an edit to make it even funnier.

He ends the meeting and provides them with the list of Akamaru’s line-up. They see Aoki and Shizuka as their biggest rivals, respectively. As he leaves, Miura tells the boy they have to get first place to get serialized.

He confirms they’re meeting tomorrow in the studio – so Saiko can listen in – and leaves. Ashirgoi can tell something’s different. He’s more serious than usual. He’s invested in their success.

Trust and Distrust Tanto's Character Design

The second storyboards are completed on schedule and the main character is given heart-shaped hair with a scarf even in summer. The pages are turned in at the nick of time.

Kaya and Shujin still haven’t seen each other as of August 8 when Akamaru comes out. Vroom, Tanto Daihatsu has the color and cover pages. They remark on how similar it feels to the world is all about money and intelligence but also different at the same time.

Then they flip the book open and… the chapter concludes.

Trust and Distrust Reaction

Kaya on the Struggle Bus

Someone needs to give Kaya a hug because holy shit her boyfriend is a fucking idiot. Jesus.

Like, it’s one thing for him to unintentionally engineer this whole stupid situation from the get-go – maybe don’t go behind your GF’s back next time, kay? – but for him to not only make the situation bad, and then not even notice when his girlfriend has gone conspicuously absent due to overwork? Like, what? Bruh.

And look, Kaya’s misreading of the situation obviously isn’t great either, and unhelpful. Dramatic irony is a thing. But honestly, I don’t entirely blame her for seeing the situation this way, given that that’s how dramatic irony works.

Do I wish she had taken a moment to hear Shujin out to get the facts of the situation? Yeah. I prefer when people behave in level-headed ways. But honestly, she’s a teen girl who thinks her boyfriend is untrustworthy and she has just enough evidence to support that assertion. And it doesn’t help that Iwase never heard the phrase “Be Hungry, Not Thirsty” and is all up in Shujin’s business with that letter which, Jesus.

Alls to say, poor kaya. She needs a head pat and some love.

And maybe a little less Miho.

Miho’s a bit of a nutcase

So we all kinda already knew that Miho and Saiko were, ahem, a little bit touched in the head when it came to their relationship, but honestly, her whole “He’s guilty by association he must suffer” schtick was legitimately nutso. Like, her boyfriend isn’t making the situation better – in fact, he’s helped contribute to making it worse

But he’s not going as far as Miho wants to take it. This black and white thinking is something I despise, generally. But here it just comes off as nuts.

It also doesn’t help that it’s supposed to be engineering a larger conflict. Characters make extreme choices based on faulty information, which is one of the most frustrating tropes in all of storytelling: let’s not simply ask the main characters what’s going on and get some clarity because obviously I’m right and I read the situation with total accuracy.

I hate it. So much.

Also, Miho’s enabling poor communication skills. And I hate the poor communication skills thing. Because open communication is the tits, man.

Anywho.

Now that this situation has started to blow up in their face, but not enough for them to do anything about it, I wonder how it’s going to go. With Ohba’s penchant for quick story resolutions, he may just have the situation resolved in a few chapters. Or maybe Kaya’s gone forever.

Oy.

Sausagemaking sequences: Character Design and Gags

So I actually really liked this sequence and helped to counterbalance some of the “what is you doing?” vibe, which has been running pretty strong for a hot minute now, and having Saiko layout the whole artistry of character designs and the importance of good design was just a genuinely nice little side note.

I had some knowledge of this already because a.) I’m studying it for my own manga and b.) I watch Gintama. And Gintama, like Bakuman, loves its meta-commentary. And it introduced the concept of the Silhouette test.

The test is as such: when your character can be drawn in silhouette and instantly be recognizable, it’s a good design. If you just saw Goku’s silhouette, or Gon’s, or any pokemon, you should be able to identify that character instantly.

So Saiko’s right on the money with that one, which puts Miura in a somewhat questionable light. Although it’s good he’s at least listening to Saiko’s suggestion.

What was more alarming, and also fascinating is the 3 gags per page. Which holy shit, that’s ridiculous. At 19 pages a week that’s almost 60 gags A WEEK. Jesus fucking christ.

It does explain why a lot of gag manga have absolutely no chill. I actually had to reread this chapter to see how many gags appeared on each page. Given that it’s not a gag manga it wasn’t 60, but there was definitely a higher volume than at the start.

Because, and say it with me: whenever Bakuman comments on Manga it will also demonstrate that comment in its storytelling, which is a unique strength of metafiction.

I also have to say, the redesign of Tanto is actually freaking great. The heart-shaped hair and the scarf are just definable enough to make him interesting, but he’s not so overloaded with stuff that he’s visually complicated.

Good shit.

Speaking of design elements, although ones I don’t want to talk about.

Aoki’s Panty Dilemma (Sigh)

This may be the dumbest conflict I’ve ever seen in this story, and that’s saying something, given that the entirety of volume 6 features Saiko being an asshole.

But Aoki having to find an assistant to draw panty shots is pretty, Uhm, not good.

And I’ve been pretty negative lately, so I should go out of my way to make clear: I still like the series, and it’s still well done. I’m reacting to the characters, not the storytelling. the storytelling is still good.

But man, Yamahisa’s scumminess has kinda bottomed out. While I like the silly rivalry with Miura – even though he’s a dick, he’s entertaining in that regard – his relationship with Aoki is all kinds of gross and uncomfortable. And his suggestion that he get a dude off the internet to draw perverted panty shots was the worst we’ve seen from him so far.

It was legitimately upsetting that he doesn’t recognize how uncomfortable Aoki is around men – and justifiably so – or how much of an ask it is to get 3 panty shots, not because there is an actual quota, but because Jump assumes it’s necessary to sell romance to teen boys.

*Cries in Reiwa era romance manga*

And I really don’t blame Aoki for her mistrust of men – minus Shujin – because she’s had no truly solid examples of decent dudes who want to work with her for any other reason other than she’s attractive. And don’t think I haven’t noticed that Obata redesigned her character to be curvier, presumably to make her more appealing. The same thing happened to Kaya, where she just magically sprouted huge boobs one chapter and, like. ugh.

It’s also worth noting that, by technicality, there were three panty shots in the panel where Yamahisa was talking about Aoki’s deficiencies in this department. A brassiere too.

I hate this storyline, and I’d really like it to end.

I also like that Yoshida called out Yamahisa for being…well himself, Aoki’s probably not being helped by his overt perviness, especially with the suggestion that Nakai join her while giving her sole creative credit to sell manga to horned up readers.

His objectification of Aoki to push manga is legitimately disgusting and the most bald-faced example of literal objectification I’ve seen in a minute.

With that in mind, Shujin’s not a whole lot better with that whole question about fifth-graders and teachers. Like, who thinks that way?

You know what. Don’t answer that.

Sadness.

Yamahisa and Miura’s rivalry

I’m all for a good rivalry, but this one is, eh. It’s mostly because I don’t particularly like either of these two characters and since my headcanon editor/mangaka ship for Ashirogi is Hattori x Ashirogi, I don’t really want o Miura to do well.

that said, I really don’t want Yamahisa to do well since he’s so, well, *points above*.

That said, it was pretty funny to see Miura get so easily riled up by yamahisa who is one of those shitheels who likes to antagonize their colleagues for shits and giggles. Who doesn’t want to work with someone like that? Their rivalry was also played as a gag, which I mean, yeah. Neither are particularly fun to be around. Hopefully, they make each other better? Honestly, I just want Yamahisa to disappear

But with Both Shizuka and Aoki, I don’t see it as likely. SIgh

There is also Miura’s acceptance of Cliche which is a bit too easygoing. But who knows, maybe the boys will do well in Akamaru.

I will say, it was good to see the Shujin and Miura warming up to Miura early in the chapter and connect over the gags. Even Saiko seems to think he might have been wrong. So maybe I was wrong too.

Perish the thought, I’m never wrong.

*looks at read-throughs to date*

Well, almost never.

Anyway, that’s all I got right now.

Hopefully, the explosion from Kaya isn’t too destructive.

Hopefully.

Until next time,

Peace

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