In Defective and Outline, A Boring Arc Has Its Moments, But is Still Boring (Chapter 105)

Howdy ho, children, are you ready? For my read-through of Bakuman Chapter 105: Defective and Outline in which a rich boy being a spoiled rich boy doesn’t have enough narrative juice to keep my engaged.

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Defective and Outline Summary

Shiratori’s Homeless Adventure

Shiratori is disappointed that he’s unable to secure a spot that allows pets. Without a co-signer, he’s struggling to sign a lease, and he only has two days before he has to work. He muses that he could find some places if Peace weren’t with him, which makes Peace whine, but Shiratori quickly comforts the massive dog: he’d never abandon him. They’ll stay in the park again.

D’awww

At the office, Shujin wants to try something different for the next arc of PCP. When asked, he wants to have their leading trio use their skills to capture a real criminal. Saiko thinks it’s fine, but Shujin is concerned it’ll be too much like a Detective Trap.

Saiko isn’t concerned by the thematic crossover, but he’s not satisfied with the criminal angle. He thinks it over and offers an alternative: PCP is a known quantity, yeah? So why not have another group pin bad things on the group instead of a criminal?

Shuijin is surprised by the insight, and Saiko continues: Akechi could deduce it’s not PCP, which would be an excuse to add him to the proceedings. Shujin thinks it’s a good idea and will run with it.

Privately, he recognizes that simply by working with Shujin for years now, Saiko knows what goes into making a story himself. He may actually be able to pull off a story on his own. Shujin is not, however, as confident in his ability to do Loveta & Peace. Shujin also notices that Saiko’s draw speed has increased. Not enough for another series, though.

Saiko asks about Loveta, and Shujin explains Hattori wants the first chapter, but Shujin is having writer’s block. Saiko gives him words of encouragement.

Shiratori needs an intervention

Shiratori is in high spirits in the park and looks like a Charles Dickens orphan. He laments the weather and talks to Peace about including this scene in his manga. He suggests a girl offering him a place before thinking that it is too cliche. He then remembers Shujin and Hattori are pro cliche – as am I – so he decides to draw in the cold December weather

While he muses about the joys of writing, he reminisces when he drew a picture for his mother and, proud of his work, put it on the window.

His mother – like a narcissist nutbag – freaks out about it because guests are coming over and swats it off the window.

At school, his teacher remarks that he’s smart enough, but he only applies himself to drawing. His mother chews him out as an embarrassment.

This…hits close to home.

Shiratori falls asleep while drawing, his dog looking worried.

On Thursday, the assistants are hard at work, and Kaya notices something is up with Shiratori. He smells awful, and he’s greasy, which is unusual because he almost always smells good. Saiko also notices that Shun hasn’t taken a bath for at least a few days.

Defective and Outline: Shiratori Smells

The next day, he’s literally radiating smell waves off him – thanks manga! – and Kaya, Shujin, and Saiko are worried about it, so they ask for him to stay after for more info.

The three are collectively shocked to learn that he’s moved out of his house and want to know what Peace is doing. Kaya, in particular, freaks out since there are pet hotels where Peace could stay. He might get taken to the pound. Shiratori reminds her that his best boy is a good, smart boy who is waiting at the park.

Saiko thinks they should hurry.

The three watch on as Peace—who is bigger than they all imagined—plays with Shiratori. They want an explanation.

Adopted parents: Kaya and Akito

They get the skinny on Shiratori’s ultimatum. Saiko doesn’t understand what the problem is so Shiratori explains that his mother thinks manga is pointless.

Saiko asks about his dream of being a manga artist. He wants it badly, which is why he left. He used to be happy just drawing, but he was excited to work in Jump. Knowing that millions read it means a lot to him and makes the suffering worth it. Kaya agrees, even filling in the screentones is fun. Saiko understands,s, but, maturely, thinks Shiatori should still be in contact with his family.

Shiratori says it’s fine: he gave his parents the studio’s address.

Defective and Outline: Daddy's shujin and saiko grilling shiratori.

Shujin and Saiko enter dad mode and firmly tell Shiratrori he can’t sleep in the park. His parents would be even more worried if they knew. Shujin offers to let Shiratori stay at his place. Kaya objects: her undies are drying!

Shujin tells her to put them somewhere he won’t see them.

Then, the literally old married couple starts arguing about their ability to have intimate fun with a stranger there. Shujin thinks it’s inappropriate to discuss this here.

Also, pets aren’t allowed.

Shiratori offers to remain in the park (yikes), but Kaya offers to let Shiratori stay at her parents’ house. Her dad does real estate, and can find him a good place. He doesn’t want to be a bother, but Kaya won’t take no for an answer.

While staying at Kaya’s house, Shiratori suffers from rich person syndrome while looking for new apartments to live in. He finds them tiny while the real estate agent points out that it is a standard one-room apartment.

Fortunately, he finds an apartment by the end of the day and officially moves in that weekend.

His woes don’t stop there. After failing to properly do laundry and make rice, he relies on Kaya to instruct him on how to live like a functional adult on his own. Kaya is not amused.

Though I am.

Just the basic outline

At Shiratori’s family’s house, his father talks with his sister, Hitomi. His dad tells Hitomi to chill a bit, but she points out that their mother is the one flipping out.

She then shows her father the Jump featuring Shiratori’s one-shot.

Adorably, his father mentions being behind on reading Jump recently—once a Jump fan, always a Jump fan—and when asked about it, he explains he reads every now and then.

He immediately recognizes that the two characters are based on Shun and Peace. When asked if he wants Shun to run the company, he recognizes that Shun would be terrible at it, but he thinks the comic itself is credible.

Legitimately heartwarming.

On Wednesday, the next day, Saiko is late for work, and Kaya chews him out for lateness. He apologizes, but is relieved to see Shun has settled in.

Shiratori has a note about the background for a page, offering to add some characters to give it more life. Saiko approves the change. Shiratori asks if Saiko wants to see detailed rough drawings of the kids first. When asked what he means, Shiratori explains that he usually just sketches an outline before inking.

Saiko has a revelation and asks Shiratori to show him how he draws Makoto. Shiratori is surprised but asks what pose Saiko would like. Saiko asks for the classic pose and asks to see it before Shiratori inks.

Saiko is shocked by both the speed of the output and that it’s just the rough outline of the character. Saiko’s more shocked that he can do his work on such a basic sketch.

Shiratori doesn’t like his work, so he draws the face in to make it look like him, although Shiratori points out he can’t draw Saiko’s characters.

Saiko immediately tries for himself, having done detailed pencil work before inking. He finds the initial result off balance, and he realizes he’ll have to do detailed eyes at least. But if he tries this, he can simplify a lot of his workflow, and it will just take some getting used to.

The Shiratori family Intervenes

The doorbell rings, and Kaya asks whether Hattori is supposed to come to meet them. Shujin confirms that’s not the case, and salesmen don’t usually come this late. It’s Shun’s mother, Hitomi, and his father.

Shun’s mother has lost her patience and demands Shun comes home immediately. Shun refuses now that he has his place. Kaya’s supportive and mentions it allows pets.

Shun’s mother finds him living in a cramped apartment unacceptable. Kaya is rightfully offended.

Saiko asks his mother why she’s offended by his drawing manga.

Shun answers for her: being an assistant is degrading. She thinks the eldest son of the Shiratori family should be occupied with more weighty concerns.

Shun bites back: It’s all about the family’s reputation, and when Shun failed to meet the family’s expectations, she tried to send him away to cover up their shame. His whole life has been controlled to save face.

Shun’s mother is offended, but she’s given in to his wish to make art. She goes to his father for backup, who sides with her.

Shiraotir, however, points out that there is more to art than just painting.

Shiratori recognizes that he always drew in notebooks since he was young. Manga is the perfect art form for him. He was happy when people praised his manga. He thinks it is fun.

Shiratori’s mom is not impressed by such petty things as happy and fun. (what a fucking champion). This seems hardly different from meaningless scribble.

At that point, Saiko and Shujin intervene, pissed off at the audacity of this lady telling them their job is meaningless. They defend their work and point out that Shiratori has worked incredibly hard to earn his place, even losing sleep and leaving home.

Shiratori’s mom wants them to mind their own business, and Shujin asks Saiko to calm down. Saiko doesn’t tunderstand why shujin’s killing the moment. Before Shujin tag teams into take this lady down.

YEAHHH BOI. GET IT.

Shujin confronts the mother: He wasn’t sure whether he could handle Loveta & Peace before, but he’s taking it back. He’s fired up now. He promises that he and Shiratori will come up with an amazing series. They’ll create something the Shiratori family can be proud of.

Shujin and the family are both shocked as the chapter concludes.

Defective and Outline Reaction

It’s Fine. I’m Fine. This is Fine

Yeah, this dry spell of compelling stuff continues with my least favorite arc taking center stage again.

Look, I’m not going to say that this whole arc is a waste of time – it’s well written – and I don’t think I’ve read a chapter yet where I think, “This is dogshit” (no pun intended), but the Shiratori family struggles continue to be bronze level conflict.

Ultimately, this story has been told a million times and way more interestingly, and I have not thought for a second that the absolute cinnamon roll that is Shun Shiratori is ever going to be in legitimate danger or financial peril.

So this is blannnnd.

Some of it connects, like the Mom getting angry at a child for a drawing, which, woof, reminds me of some moments from my own youth. But for all our sakes, it’d be best if I didn’t go into it.

And, like, Shiratori’s a cute kid. He’s so pure, so it can be cool to see a cute kid not knowing what he’s getting into kind of learning the hard way that life is complicated and weird.

But also, he’s going to get serialized. It’s not even idle speculation on my part; it’s more of a narrative guarantee. So he’s going to be bringing in money. And I hope no one thinks that the parents are actually going to be a legitimate impediment to Shiratori’s future as a mangaka. He’s definitely going to be one. We’ve even got some handy foreshadowing about it.

Mainly because

Shiratori’s Dad is the Most Interesting Family Member

I hope you weren’t expecting me to say the mom because she’s such a boilerplate narcissist that she has no real flaws worth going deeper on. The one thing I do find interesting, and, more to the point, believable, is that she would think that compromising on her desires for the boy’s success by doing something he doesn’t want to do (Paris) but is closer to his actual goal is a narcissistic compromise, but also evidence that she does care.

But aside from Hitomi, who is the most likable of the family, Shiratori’s dad is simply the most compelling of the group. Because he’s actually, you know, chill.

Although it’s a microscopic moment, the second he mentioned that he’s behind on Jump – not that he’s not read it in ages – but that he just hasn’t been keeping up, is such a wonderful little detail and feels like a particularly Japanese grown-up who grew up on Jump response to not reading it. And I think it’s essential to highlight that Jump has an enormous cultural reach around the world now – Demon Slayer, MHA, JJK, Bleach, Naruto and basically every popular manga you know – but for Japanese shonen boys, it’s also a fundamental part of growing up.

It’s cheap enough for kids to buy and consume, and in some ways, it’s one of those things that never really leaves you, even as you grow older. And I don’t mean, in my sense, like a formerly lapsed weeb who has made it a part of my personality.

Shun’s dad is a wealthy businessman who still thinks of himself, on some level, as a Jump reader. He’s just behind on a draft or two; he hasn’t stopped reading in its entirety.

That’s also the tip of the hand that Shiratori is in no real danger whatsoever because any self-respecting successful adult, regardless of cultural attachment to a magazine, who can be so chill about reading Manga would obviously not find it impossible.

For the record, this is a Jump property, so there is a degree of “Oh look at how great we are, even older men still read Jump” thing going on here. But I have a few Japanese friends, and this sort of casual love for Jump is a very real thing. So I totally buy that a stuffy senior executive going to a conbini and grabbing the latest copy of Jump.

This retroactively makes me like this chapter slightly more because

This makes a great point about the value of Manga as an art form.

The chapter hasn’t been resolved yet—and we got that goofy declaration from Shujin—more on that in a bit—but Shiratori’s whole arc has been about the value of manga as art and commerce. Shiratori’s dad has clued us in that it’s both. He still loves Jump; he just hasn’t had the opportunity to read it.

Further, he’s impressed by Shiratoris’ One-shot. He recognizes its value even though he’s “behind.”

The fact that it leaves such a massive emotional imprint on people that they can go years without it and still feel connected speaks to the power of manga that the series uses Shiratori – and, to a lesser extent – Moriya to point out.

It’s lovely.

But still doesn’t make this arc that much more enjoyable. The dad being a lifelong manga fan is a great touch, but it can’t save the series’s attempts to make Shiratori’s struggles interesting. His character is too lacking in legitimate flaws for that.

On the flip side, his conversion from manga agnostic to full-on believer just isn’t super compelling. Again, it underscores the point well enough, but at this point, I’m not invested enough in Shiratori to justify his arc and spoiled rich kid gets values is, again, something I’ve seen done better elsewhere.

But what Shiratori is good for is….

Ashirogi Shenanigans

We’ve already been told that Shujin will help Shiratori realize his dreams, and now this declaration doubling down on it has made that even more obvious. But how will it impact the boys?

I’ve speculated, mildly, that it is another tactic to create a wedge between the two, to give Shujin more work than he can handle and manufacture some drama.

Is he going to work on Loveta & Peace and end up in a Tanto situation? Maybe, doubtful, but who knows, perhaps the series needs a second Shujin series to get to the end.

But it doesn’t seem that way, at least at this juncture. It’s not an Ashirogi thing, it’s just a Shujin thing.

And on that note, it is really funny to see the boys taking on surrogate dad roles for Shiratori, who seems so totally oblivious to how the real world works that it almost counts as a character flaw. The gag of him learning to be an adult did get a chuckle out of me. And the lack of washing, the lack of understanding of his dog being in danger, all good stuff.

But he’s really here to create friction between the boys as they try to get an anime. And I’m not really sure how well it works, honestly.

There is one thing that works gangbusters, though

Training Arc Epiphany

For the time being, it does legitimately seem like Saiko is going to go for a second series, so the Shiratori Lineart method was actually super interesting and well done. I love that. But I also love those little epiphanies that lead to drastic growth. It’s just fun for me. I enjoy it.

Seeing Saiko put the pieces together about how Shiratori is so fast was deeply satisfying. I’m interested to see how this plays out, though I still think the second series is not going to pan out, so it also feels kind of…superfluous.

I will say, however, that Saiko’s getting his bearings with storytelling was also satisfying. Speaking from personal experience, if you do stuff regularly, you develop those insights, so it’s just a matter of utilizing them.

And if I’m being honest, this really highlights Saiko as protagonist. He is going through his training arc and planning to do his own series.

Will he do his own series as the climax? I honestly can’t say.

I don’t know, man; we’re in a weird stretch.

But I am confident we will get back on track soon.

Until next time,

Peace

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