In Artist and Manga Artist, Everything is Rehashed and I’m Sad (Chapter 102)

Yo Yo yo, welcome to my read-through of Bakuman Chapter 102: Artist and Manga Artist, in which we rehash a lot of stuff, and it’s very meh.

If you’re not caught up, please use this sweet ol’ index here to do so. There are no spoilers past the current chapter.

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Artist and Manga Artist Summary

Shujin’s New Opportunity

Picking up on literally the same page as the previous chapter, Shujin is asked whether he’d write for Shiratori’s series.. Shiratori is excited by the possibility of focusing on the artwork. Shujin won’t do anything without Saiko’s consent.

On the spot, Saiko is supportive of Shiratori’s wishes and also is fine as long as it doesn’t interfere with their own work. Only for Saiko to parenthetically ponder the fact that that would mean Ashirogi’s second series would be fucked, in that case.

Shujin wants to be sure that Saiko’s OK. And Saiko, still queasy, plays it off as fine. Just don’t make it better than PCP!

Artist and Manga Artist Saiko digging himself into a hole

Oy.

Shujin takes the bait, and Shiratori takes that joke seriously (double oy), but Shujin explains he’d like to focus on PCP for now, so he can’t give a firm answer either way. He doesn’t mind taking the writer cred for the one-shot, however.

Hattori agrees that that’s the best path forward and decides to delay further talks depending on the future success of Loveta & Peace.

Shujin recognizes a different issue: given his focus on realism, he’s not as well suited to the more fantastical world of Loveta. Shiratori thinks he did excellent with it, though.

Shujin sees it as an opportunity to improve as part of Ashirogi and another “feather in his hat.”

Takagi will be credited as the writer for this one-shot in all cases. Hattori asks Shiratori to revise and submit a final draft. Shiratori panics when Hattori gives him only twenty days to make 45 pages of content to make it in time for the treasure rookie to be aware, but Shiratori – seeing an opportunity – explains that he’ll have the time since this is his only job.

Hattori is privately thrilled by Shiratori’s motivation. Saiko also wants him to get it in on time because Aoki will be a judge for the award, and she’d be partial to a heartwarming fantasy like Loveta & Peace.

Saiko inadvertently shoots himself in the foot (again) as Hattori sees the brilliance in that suggestion: applicants can request judges to review their work. Shujin agrees that would be a good idea, too.

Everyone’s pumped up to get Loveta & Peace made, except for Saiko before Hattori and Shujin remember that they must focus on the currently running manga. Shiratori offers to head out to let them talk.

But Saiko…god bless his nice little heart, offers to let the meeting continue as their meeting wasn’t supposed to start until 11 PM. Hattori agrees – it won’t take long – and they decide to finish their meeting.

Takaaki Kido

Artist and Manga Artist: Saiko on the struggle bus

The meeting with Hattori continues, providing editorial notes about how the dog talking should be communicated. Meanwhile, Saiko watches and ruminates. Hattori and Shujin’s help means the story will be great, and Shiratori’s been working with them for over half a year. Even so, Saiko’s not convinced he’ll meet the deadline of 45 pages in 20 days. Saiko, however, does recognize Shiratori’s speed.

At 10:22, the meeting concludes, and Shiratori, thrilled, offers to start working on it immediately and will get the final draft by the 31st.

With that out of the way, Hattori starts the PCP meeting.

Shujin and Hattori are exhausted after the two continuous editorial meetings, and Shujin asks how Saiko thinks Loveta & Peace will do.

At a bare minimum, Saiko’s confident it will get an honorable mention. He doesn’t want something Shujin wrote to do worse than that.

Shujin sees his point: it would reflect poorly on Ashirogi if their one-shot got slammed. Sako points out it’s not Ashirogi, though.

Shujin recognizes that Ashirogi is their collective pseudonym, so he comes up with another on the spot: Takaaki Kido.

Saiko thinks it’s random, but it would work as any dude’s name.

Shujin reiterates that he’s doing this to improve Ashirogi regardless of what else is happening, which seems to cheer Saiko up a bit. The two decide to go home.

On the bike ride back, Shujin asks whether Miho’s been informed about the status of PCP’s unlikely anime adaptation. There’s no point, according to Saiko. He pushes the question back onto Shujin. He hasn’t told Kaya yet; she thinks it’s a sure thing.

As do I, but whatever.

Kaya even let it out that Miho’s probably going to be Mai, which Shujin apologizes for. But he decides that the best thing is to focus on PCP for now. They’ll get an anime with the next one.

Saiko remains lost in thought at the idea of their subsequent work.

Manga is an honorable career.

At Shiratori’s mansion, Jesus, Shiratori admires a painting of a doggo and their owner, totally in character. His sister comes in and remarks on it. She also observes that Shun has been coming down to look at it since he was a toddler. For her part, she doesn’t get why it’s so valuable.

Shiratori agrees and recognizes the artists themselves probably just painted it out of love for the craft so they could eat or something. His sister recognizes that the capitalist art dealers are the ones who make any profit off of it. She thinks the collection is a waste of money.

Shiratori quotes their grandfather: when it comes to painting and women, love at first sight is the most important thing of all. After you get a hold of them, the only thing that will change is the woman, not the painting.

Eek.

His sister sees that Shiratori is a true connoisseur of art and brings the mood down by telling him that their mother can’t bear to bring up the fact that he’s a manga assistant, so she’s preparing to send Shiratori to Paris for training—a very “her” thing.

Double eek.

Shiratori asks whether being a mangaka is really that bad. His sister reminds him that they have a reputation to uphold, and he wants to be a painter anyway.

Shiratori waxes philosophic about how he’s free to admire the painting, but his grandpa paid a boatload just to lock it up for himself.

Manga, by contrast, can be enjoyed cheaply. It’s egalitarian, communist, and meant for everyone. It’s an honorable career.

He wants to see how far it can go, and he excuses himself to work on his final draft.

October

On October 14th, Shiratori shares the news with the other assistants. Orihara’s surprised, and Moriya mortified. Shiratori explains the revision issue. Orihara’s concerned about that page count in 2 weeks, but Shiratori has been sacrificing sleep to make it happen.

Orihara asks Shiratori, assuming everything goes well, and the series gets published in Jump, if Shujin will be the writer. Shiratori demurs that it’s too early for that kind of talk and that his work has gotta get chosen first. Saiko watches as Shiratori fantasizes regardless.

On October 30th, Orihara is thrilled to see they finished their work a day earlier than usual. Saiko explains that having had the series for eight months, he’s been getting faster at it. He also wants his assistants to have more time for their work. Saiko muses to himself, however, that, despite wanting PCP to be successful, that leaves him only one other option for an anime.

Ruh roh.

Shiratori, looking like a dog who has run too much himself, explains he’ll be able to finish his one-shot by the deadline after all. Saiko’s impressed – and surprised – that Shiratori managed to get that absurd page count in 20 days. Saiko wishes him good luck and praises him for his work ethic.

On Halloween, Hattori thinks the one-shot is excellent. He’s confident it will be successful. Shiratori accepts the praise and explains his work as an assistant has gotten him used to drawing schools, which helped.

Hattori will turn it into the Treasure Rookie Award. But before Shiratori leaves, he asks if Shiratori has changed his stance on becoming a mangaka. Hattori thought he didn’t want to be one.

Shiratori answers:

Cream rises to the top

Aida chews out Hattori for trying to submit something to the treasure rookie – again – with Shujin’s name on it and reminds him of the shenanigans that happened with the treasure rookie award last time.

Hattori – and I – totally forgot and Hattori explains that Shujin’s only in charge of the story so he totally forgot. He asks Aida for advice on what to do with it.

Aida grills him a bit: he should have shown it to Aida as a storyboard before doing anything.

However, despite the lashing, Aida sees gold in the work. As a loophole, they’ll just have to skip a competition and go straight to publishing it as a one-shot in the magazine directly—either Next or Jump. Hattori is delighted and shocked.

Hattori would prefer Jump and would like reader opinions asap, too.

Aida promises to try with the higher-ups but guarantees nothing. If it’s not in Jump, he’ll shoot for Next, and if not that, they’ll toss it. Hattori thinks that’s harsh, and Aida says it might have been able to get a center color page if the story was by Ashirogi, but given that it’s from another pseudonym, tough titties.

Five days later, Shiratori receives a call from Hattori.

Hattori congratulates Shiratori on the good news: Loveta & Peace will be placed as a one-shot in the November 24th issue. It will run as a center color page, and Shiratori will need to redraw the title page in color immediately.

Shiratori gives Shujin the excellent news: it’s going in Jump.

Shujin and Saiko are surprised at jumping the line directly to Jump, while Moriya is silently devastated. Shiratori explains that tehy were gunning for either Next or Jump, btu they werent confident it would makeit. However, a one-shot opened up in Jump. Perfect timing.

Yay.

Orihara thinks it’s Shujin’s story that got him the gold. Shiratori agrees and feels lucky. Orihara asks Shujin to write him a story as well. Shujin points out he just advised on the storyboard. Orihara hasn’t shown him any storyboards himself. Orihara’s enthusiasm dampens.

Saiko gets nervous at what is likely to happen next if the one-shot succeeds, but Shujin looks at him, so he pretends to be excited.

Copium

Back home, Shiratori is tackled by his dog, Peace. Shiratori shares the good news about Peace’s fictional counterpart getting published in Jump.

At that moment, his mother comes down and asks what this “Jump” is in the most hilariously on-point depiction of rich obliviousness to date. Shiratori explains that Jump is a manga magazine.

His mother breask the news to him: he’s not allowed to work as an assitant. She’s already set up his studies in paris if he wishes to purasuehte arts.

Whn eh explains that he’s not assisting, but getting published his mother soclds him to get over manga. It’s nothing but sensleess drivel. He mustn’ tbe selfish.

Shiratori is gutted by her response, and defdends manga: it’s challenging and worthwhile. It’s something people enjoy.

His mother is confused, but lays down the law: he’ll work for his farhter or go to paris. Those are his choices.

Shiratori sits in despair as he weighs his options. There is a third: leave this place and go his own way.

At the Takagi household, Kaya prods Shujin about working with Shiratori and how it’ll affect his working relationship with Saiko. Shujin points out tha Siako didn’t seem bothered by the decidsion and sgugested he got for it.

Kaya points out the obvious fact that Saiko’s the kind of guy who wouldn’t speak up about something like that. Shujin doesn’t believe her, but she’s certain. Shujin promises not to slack on PCP, and he points out that Hattori won’t do anything unless the results are truly unreal. Kaya asks him to consider that possibility.

Shujin offers to talk to Saiko about it if that happens. But Kaya’s unmoved: he won’t say how he feels about it if that happens. Shujin disagrees: they don’t hide stuff like that from each other.

Meanwhile, Saiko huffs extreme amounts of Copium about how this is a good opportunity for Shujin to become a better writer as the chapter concludes.

Artist and Manga Artist Reaction

Ughhhhh….

Alright, so Bakuman is never truly bad, but man, we’re getting into the post top tier arc into this arc and it’s already way less compelling and slightly more frustrating.

The major frustrating component here is Saiko: he’s expressing one of his major character flaws, which is letting things he doesn’t want to happen happen because he’s afraid of crushing another’s dreams or goals. It’s noble on some level to recognize an advantage and let the person take it.

But we already resolved this one with Miho, like ten chapters ago. Almost exactly.

And that is why I’m not looking forward to this arc.

I’ve been bingeing Cobra Kai after getting very sick and around season 5, there is a similar issue. Many of the existential problems have been dealt with. So how do we continue to keep things existential while still grounded?

The results are still great – I love Cobra Kai – but they’re also diminished, in some indefinable way,. There’s little left to accomplish, so what is left to accomplish isn’t as personally satisfying.

Which is what I feel this arc is going to feel like on the whole. And it’s endemic in Saiko’s exxaggreated response to what is narraitvely induced unexpected success, although that part doesn’t bother me nearly as much.

It’s clear Saiko will not relay his concerns to Shujin about splitting the group up. And hhis charcter flaw is one of the more funtional, all things considered. But this issue could be easily resolved if Saiko were open about his feelings and not denying them to himself. So it feels a bit like a rehash of previous conflicts.

And that’s…simply not super interesting.

I don’t necessarily foresee this driving a wedge between the boys as it would otherwise because they’re pretty solid now. Still, I see it as trying to manufacture conflict more than previously.

Blegh.

Anyway

Shiratori’s Background

So we get some info on Shiratori this chapter and it turns out he’s a wide-eyed, moderately spoiled, rich kid. Don’t get me wrong he’s nice, and seeing his perspective on manga change from a way to mtake money (pfft) to seomthing a little more genuine has been a nice, slow, progressive thing, a la Ohba’s best writing.

But he’s not a super interesting character, and having rich oblivious parents isn’t the most thrilling conflict. His mother is going to create trouble for the boy, based on this early introduction to her, but that’s a given.

I guess I’m just not enthusiastic about this turn of events. Shiratori is bright-eyed and sweet, but he has no definable flaws or interesting character quirks. And I’mnot counting loving his dog as a character quirk.

I’m usually Ok with cinnamon rolls, but Shiratori needs to step it up a bit for me to be as engaged with his struggle as he is. Although that said, his dedication to getting published is admirable, and I like how he is taking manga more seriously.

I also like the chooice to create a background against his feelings for more conventional, well regardeed art against the nature of manga, which is for everybody. It’s a nice little gracenote on the art vs commercial property riff we had several chapters back. And it’s anice twist that true “art” gets hoarded and hidden by rich people while the “not-art” gets consumed and admired by everybody.

But, again, there’s not much there.

I do find his dog Peace adorable. It reminds me of Bond from Spy x Family, and it’s clear why he has such an excellent foundation to get into manga.

Speaking of which.

A winning Gag

I did love how Saiko indavertnetly accelrated processes for Shiratori through his character flaw. As a gag, it’s pretty hilarious, because it’s so clear he doesn’t want it to happen, so for everything to be sped up throuhg his own suggestions—comedy gold.

And it’s made worse by the fact that Shiratori is actually good at what he does, so everyone around the characters are convinced that he’s going to make it, and so accelrate his work even further. It’s one of those little acts of serendipity that makes the struggles of the characters harder, which then makes things infinitely funnier.

But yeah, that’s only a small gag.

I guess there’s also Takagi, who is kinda overlooking one of his boy’s chief character flaws because he wants ot improve as a mangaka amd because this opportunity fell into his lap. At least he’s putting up a fight to protect Ashirogi. I think this wouldn’t work quite as well if Takagi was more gungho about doing Loveta & Peace.

But he mercifully isn’t. He’s concerned about PCP and Saiko. And Kaya has to reiterate to him how Saiko do, which is another rehash.

I really don’t have much to say about this chapter. There were a lot of good moments—and SHiratori’s movement forward was pretty satisfying. But i’m still in the post-rival battle tristesse, so it’s going to be a chapter or two before we get into something more substantial.

We still have about 4 or 5 chapters left in this arc

Where could it go from here?

I kinda of hope it doesn’t involve Saiko and Shujin growing apart, but that is being setup right now. In fact, driving a wedge between the two seems like the likeliest route given the trajectory. But I’m kinda hoping it goes for something novel, even if it ins’t as inteersting. Because, again, that would be a rehash.

Oh well, let’s see where Shirartori goes from here.

The one thing I can guarantee is that he’s going to get a series. It’s without question going to happen. Let’s see how that affects Saiko nd Shujin.

Blegh, sorry, I wish I had more to say.

Until next time,

Peace

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