In Complaints and Aiming Up, Disappointment Comes From All Angles and Leaves me Exasperated (Chapter 101)

Hello There, Fellow Kids, and welcome to my read-through of Bakuman Chapter 101: Leeway and Trap, in which inside baseball doesn’t do enough to make me enjoy the disappointments here.

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Complaints and Aiming Up Summary

PCP Can’t become an anime?!

Picking up after the last chapter’s bombshell, Hattori rephrases: it’s unlikely that PCP will become an anime. Shujin wants an explanation, especially given the Drama CD and Novel. Hattori points out that the Novel and Drama CD are under Shueisha’s direct supervision, but Anime are more complicated beasts requiring outside sponsorship.

And Sponsors will be tough to find for PCP. Shujin points out its popularity and the fact that cute kids are emulating the series in real life…

Hattori points out that IS the issue. Hattori finally reveals the truth: the series has been the subject of numerous complaints ranging from letters to phone calls. Although anticipated by Jump, PCP’s share of calls is larger than usual, with the most common concern being that it will inspire real crimes and pranks.

Complaints and Aiming Up: Saiko and Shujin learn that PCP will never become an anime

Hattori continues: he knows that most people are, well, generally logical and have common sense and that PCP doesn’t actually promote that behavior. But he’s not like other, more conservative people. Hattori is also sympathetic to the parents who are concerned that their kids might want to try committing these perfect crimes.

Shujin finds the whole situation absurd: he understands the issue, but he can’t appease everybody writing a series. Hattori shows sympathy for the boys: they haven’t done anything wrong, and Jump chooses to let PCP run. In his opinion, kids should be trying the harmless little pranks.

Saiko then sees the truth: because it’s so realistic, the crimes are more plausible, unlike the special powers you see in battle manga. Hattori confirms that that is the double-edged sword they are working with. It’s curiously realistic.

Shujin thinks about the “Crimes” and then vows to do things that could never be imitated.

Saiko stops him: the series will lose its charm if the crimes aren’t realistic. Don’t fuck with the recipe if it works.

Hattori backs Saiko up and thinks changing gears would only harm the manga. PCP is the ideal Ashirogi piece, a popular, non-mainstream manga. Hattori reiterates that they’ve done nothing wrong and that what they’re doing is drawing the best out of them.

Why an anime?

Shujin is disappointed by the lack of an anime, which confuses Hattori. He asks them what the deal is with them and getting an anime adaptation. He chastises them for being so myopic when they’ve been a true success story among the ranks of Jump. He wonders if they think that getting an anime is the goal. It should be a bonus, not the focus.

Shujin wants to explain, but Saiko stops him. Shujin refuses to be quiet and explains that it has been their dream since they started to get an animated adaptation of their work. They want to be animated, no matter what.

Hattori’s shocked and then points out a hard fact: if they wanted an anime adaptation, they should have factored it into their careful calculations, especially since they are all calculations.

PCP is not suited for an anime, and that is that. Shujin admits he didn’t think that far ahead. He was too focused on Nizuma and staying not-cancelled.

Hattori emphasizes that that is the root of their success: they focused on making something good instead of angling for an anime adaptation. Manga should be made for its own sake. Otherwise, it’s doomed to failure.

Shujin is undeterred: he’ll ensure their next work is anime-makeable.

Hattori admires the ambition but still doesn’t get why Shujin’s so pressed on this topic. When Shujin explains, Saiko deflects and feigns contentment with their lot as successful mangaka. He claims they should focus on PCP and focus on the next steps when they’re done. Shujin’s iffy on it, but Saiko points out they’re still young.

Hattori doesn’t kill their hope entirely, either: they might still make it as a late-night anime akin to Otter 11. Shujin’s fine with a late-night slot, but Saiko points out that he’s telling them to focus on making PCP the best it can be, which brings Shujin back to reality. Again.

Oof.

Speaking of Otter No. 11’s Anime

In a pretty hilarious match cut, Yoshida informs Hiramaru that Otter No. 11‘s anime is ending, much to Hiramaru’s histrionic shock. Hiramaru throws a tantrum, asking for Yoshida to save the anime’s bacon: the toys are selling, the ratings are good, what gives?

Yoshida reminds him: it was only slated for a two-season run and ran for a whole year. He should be proud. It might get a sequel….maybe if Hiramaru keeps working hard.

Hiramaru – in classic fashion – takes the wrong message from this and asks how much money he would need to live without working for the rest of his life. Hiramaru pulls out his account statement.

In a genuinely hilarious moment, Yoshida’s shocked to find that Hiramaru has – miraculously – saved up one hundred twenty million yen despite all his ridiculous spending and Otter No. 11’s sales being down this year. Hiramaru, with a gremlin face, has already paid his taxes for the year.

Yoshida continues the bit: he might make it with a billion yen.

This is a critical hit to Hiramaru. Yoshida goes further: accounting for inflation; it might be 2 billion. Hiramaru realizes, to his horror, that he’d have to keep drawing for the rest of his life. Yoshida tells him to get writing, but Hiramaru – in a rare moment of clarity – complains that Yoshida’s manipulation is weakening, as is the lifespan of this gag.

Ideal Marriage Age?

On the way home from the studio, the boys discuss their shock and poor luck with PCP. Saiko is grateful for Shujin interceding, though. Shujin takes the blame for not adequately accounting for their whole ass future like a literal prophet, which even Saiko finds too much. They’re successful because of him, not despite him.

Shujin wonders how long PCP will run for, but Saiko thinks that’s premature. Shujin is thinking ahead, as he does: if it goes for ten years, they’ll be thirty without an anime. That’s ok, Miho wants to get married by 40.

That was likely a joke. Likely.

These two dingbats.

Shujin requests Saiko text Miho and figure out when she’d like to get married. Shujin clarifies that it matters whether her ideal marriage age is 22 or 30.

Uhhhh…wat.

Saiko tells him not to be concerned and to focus on PCP’s story.

At home, however, Saiko is disappointed and prepared to text Miho about the ideal marriage age. He mercifully stops himself from sending something so weird and boneheaded and reminds himself to be cool. He still wants to beat Eiji and Crow.

Saiko has a minor epiphany: Eiji works on two stories, with Crow being all him. They’d have an edge if he and Shujin were to make something similar. Something with an anime in mind. They are also getting more free time…

I don’t like where this is going.

Saiko, mercifully, snaps back to reality a bit. Focus on PCP, and don’t worry about the age. Besides, if there’s an opportunity, he’ll consider it.

Shiratori’s Storyboards

Shiratori arrives 2 hours early to the studio to get a critique from Shujin on his storyboards. He apologizes for bothering them, but Shujin lets him know that he’s also getting something out of it. He critiques Shiratori’s storyboard, and Saiko sees that Shujin also has much more free time than he used to. Maybe they can start another series sooner.

Shujin returns the storyboards to Shiratori to correct since he has an hour to do so. Saiko also offers to have Hattori review the storyboards as well. Shiratori’s surprised, but Saiko lets him know it’s no biggie.

Orihara is happy that the group is getting faster as they finish the final draft by 8:30. Saiko realizes that Hattori isn’t coming until 11, so he calls and asks him to come down at 9. He explains they finished early and gives Shiratori the phone to ask Hattori to look at his storyboard.

Moirya is shocked to see this turn of events. Shiratori politely asks for Hattori to review, and Hattori is happy to do so. Moriya asks for the phone and tries to get in on the action. Hattori’s pleased that the group is so motivated and agrees to look at his, as well. Moirya gives Shiratori a smug look, while Orihara panics because he doesn’t have one.

Bless your heart, Orihara.

Review time

Hattori arrives at the studio and asks to read Moriya’s story first because he’s older and more experienced. Moriya, smug as ever, gives him the storyboards.

It isn’t Jump material. Too complicated.

Thunk.

Hattori isn’t convinced by the central conceit that people would want to help feed a living town without explanation. Moriya breaks the first rule of critique club: he defends his work, and he wants the readers to consider the connection between the character and the town in light of their relationship with planet earth.

Hattori explains that most readers don’t want to be lectured. He declares the work beyond revision and suggests Moriya start from scratch.

Moriya’s gutted. Shiratori is nervous, seeing Hattori’s strictness in action. But he has nothing to worry about.

It’s good. Both Shiratori and Moriya are shocked, and Moriya, humiliated, makes a graceless exit along with Orihara, who has nothing to show.

As they leave, Orihara encourages Moriya: this is the nature of the business. Shit happens. Moriya deflects: some people don’t understand art.

Oy. More on that in the reaction.

Meanwhile, Hattori praises the emotional relationship between the boy and the dog. He also likes the novelty of the dog and boy talking to each other, but not with literal conversation. He’s surprised by how solid the work is. It could be placed in the treasure award or even the next issue.

Everything you want in the worst possible way.

The boys congratulate Shiratori, but he doesn’t want to take responsibility for the work. Hattori wants clarification because it has serious potential. The boys are supportive as well.

Shiratori explains that he didn’t create the storyboard. Shujin reviewed it three times before Hattori saw it. Hattori asks for confirmation. Shujin points out that he did do that.

Hattori sees it now: it did seem too good for a first try. Shiratori is privately disappointed but also relieved as he wouldn’t know what to do with a series.

Hattori asks to see the original storyboards, which Shiratori still has. Hattori sees the Shujin influence immediately.

Hattori wants to show the storyboard to his boss but warns that if he does, the original concept and art will be by Shiratori but, Muto Ashirogi – no Akito Takagi – would have to be the writer.

Saiko is dumbfounded, as Hattori explains Takagi would be the best author for it. Saiko looks on, realizing that if Shujin can work on two series, then…

Hattori points out that Shujin has the free time since PCP is in hand. It would be a while from now, but Hattori asks if he’d consider writing it.

Shujin wants Saiko to sign off on it before he does anything.

Put on the spot, Saiko agrees to it as long as it doesn’t affect PCP. He wants to see Shiratori get a series and a bunch of other rationalizations, but his face says it all.

On this face, the chapter concludes.

Complaints and Aiming Up Reaction

Plausible disappointment

Alright, so I do get it, but it’s still kinda bullshit. As always, the inside baseball here is impeccable: it should come as no surprise that Jump fields complaints every day within a certain level of volume. They have to field it; it’s one of the unspoken rules of being a media company. That said, it does royally suck that it is affecting the boy’s future in a plot convenient way.

Although I will say, to some degree, that this chapter really does highlight the weakness of the initial story engine that was set over a hundred chapters ago (heheh, I like saying that).

Because it is a tenuous reason to push themselves at this point. They’re both established mangaka with an enviable career overall. Still, because Saiko needs to justify his relationship with Miho – which I remind you is ongoing – they will find every way to stop it from happening.

I’m actually with Hattori and his general…well, if not disgust, then distaste with the diminishment of their success. They aimed to be a mangaka; they have succeeded in doing so. And the fact that Saiko doesn’t want to spill to Hattori isn’t wrong, but it is tonally quite weird.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we know Saiko very well at this point, and his whole joie de vivre of not telling on himself when he doesn’t want to is well-established, but here, it feels like plot-induced stupidity. He doesn’t want Hattori to know the frankly idiotic reason for wanting an anime because Httori would likely recognize that it’s a dumb reason.

However, they’re so connected to Hattori at this point that it’s also so silly that they’re not talking to him about it.; He probably would find it a SILLY reason, but he would still ultimately try to get them a shot to make it happen. They’re more than editors and wards at this point.

IT SO DUMB.

Alright, my outbursts are done.

I will say Shujin’s borderline survivor’s guilt about not accounting for everything was kind of endearing, although, again, this is all very stupid because the premise is very dumb.

ANYWAY. We’re going to switch gears to:

The Hiramaru Gag was Funny?

Yes, you heard me right. This gag actually got a chortle out of me. It’s mostly for meta reasons. The fact that he’s peeking behind the curtains and recognizing this abbot and Costello bit he has with Yoshida is partially a put on that they’ ‘re both aware of and exploit for their own reasons.

But also, Otter No 11‘s anime is getting canceled, and Hiramaru is loaded. Those are both genuinely surprising facts. I think the fact that Hiramaru is loaded is pretty surprising only because he’s shown himself as a shameless spendthrift throughout the series. But also because it gave him a momentary leverage over Yoshida, and seeing the parry riposte these two have finally put a dent in Yoshida’s armor was delightful.

The more surprising thing was Otter No. 11, though. It’s a really great little detail , and it’s nice to show the progression over time. The rise and fall of series that aren’t PCP have been somewhat recessed lately, aside from +Natural and Crow, so to see that Ohba has been keeping tabs on the author’s success is excellent. It also feels authentic. Having a series get cancelled is a pretty big deal and really speaks to the declining popularity of a pretty straight gag.

This isn’t the last of HIramaru. God knows what we’ll see of him later, but for now, it’s interesting to see. I wonder whe’re he;l go next.

Speaking of Failures

Moirya’s mortification and the new arc setup

Ok, as someone who has been Moriya in that situation and someone who also grew out of that phase of my artistic existence, I absolutely ate up the sequence where Hattori critiqued the two writers’ works.

Cause look, I was a pretentious kid growing up. And I was a bit of a covert narcissist. It wasn’t something I had a lot of control over at the time, but I remember several critiques where I was privately convinced my work was the absolute shit, only for it to be torn to shreds mercilessly. And that is part of the game.

Fortunately, I have since grown past those precious feelings toward my work, but those scars persist. But also, it’s all nice to see a smug bastard get told his work is doggy-doo, mostly because smug is profoundly annoying.

Anyway, clearly Shiraotiri’s new series is being set up for this new arc, and I’m….about as disappointed in that as I expected.

Aside from the very classic setup of the humble boy being told his work is good while the pretentious know-it-all all is given the boot, Shiratori has been so consistently “good” in that ineffable way. Humble, good at his job, and kind, that it was obvious something was being built up.

But we just came down from an excellent arc, and I’d be lying if I said I was as interested in Shiratori’s emotional development as I am in literally anything else.

Not that I didn’t expect something of a comedown. It’s hard to top a rival battle, the story has to persist untitl they get their anime.

But blegh, Shiratori is fun, but he’s not that interesting.

I also don’t like the subtext of the new conflict because it sounds like…

Saiko wants to do two series.

Eugh. That’s…sigh. That’s not good. He’s not Eiji; that’s not humanly possible. It’s just a terrible idea and I don[t like it. And this is part of the challenge of late-stage storytelling. Now all the big existential issues are passed, so now we have to find a way to be existential without those major challenges.

And the existential issue of overwork has already been covered. Been there, done that.

But that’s where we seem to be heading.

I also don’t like that we appear to be having a situation that might split up the boys. Since the end of this chapter indicated that Saiko’s not going to do anything to stop Shujin from working on Loveta and Peace because Saiko is incapable of speaking up for himself when it comes to emotional moments.

Gahhhh

These are two things we’ve seen before. Although I guess ShIratori is new. But I don’t know how it’s going to be able to match the majesty of the previous arc.

Then again, maybe it doesn’t. As long as it ferries us to a new, more interesting arcs in the near future, all will be forgiven.

For now though, I’m not super looking forward to this next series of chapters.

I hope I’m wrong.

But we’ll see

Until next time

Peace

Stray thoughts:

–Moirya’s manga actually sounds interesting, though not very shoneny. Derp.

–Marriage age is stupid. Don’t get me started.

–I still think PCP will probably get an anime, but it will take a minute, at the very least. I don’t foresee them starting a new series any time soon.

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