I’d like to put the disclaimer that although I will try to keep these posts as spoiler free as possible, it’s difficult to discuss chapters without properly referring to or even discussing previous events that occurred within the series. To that effect, I will post this disclaimer on every Bakuman chapter post, and put the reading jump below that so for those who are just browsing the homepage have no exposure to the written text unless the post link is clicked. I will also try my best to edit out any dialogue or text from the scanlations so as to also not reveal any unnecessary information.
After realizing Reversi‘s inherent weakness in a flexible cast of characters, it falls to Takagi to carry through this period of challenge. Though Ashirogi Muto is comprised of a pair of authors, one artist and one story writer, each aspect of manga creation is fundamentally different and both Takagi and Mashiro rely on each other heavily to make their works a success. All in all, this chapter switched its attention to Takagi’s person thoughts and stress regarding how to move forward with Reversi‘s plot. I can totally understand Takagi’s troubles as he debates what the best way to proceed is, since manga isn’t anything without its story. Sure, mangaka is basically an art form, but without a strong story core to tie the entire piece together, fabulous art isn’t sufficient. You can say meaningless art isn’t art.
I found the switch to Takagi’s perspective quite refreshing. Too often are we caught up with arcs that revolve around Mashiro and his artistic endeavors (though I’m not complaining, since he is the main main character), but with all of the story creation aspects of Bakuman being compressed into author-editor meeting panels, it’s great to get to see Takagi struggle with his own problems again. It’s actually super exciting to see Takagi’s reservation with which direction to take the series in. His constant questioning and weighing of important factors was extremely thoughtful. Even though Mashiro may not know it, Takagi (and his wife, Kaya) appear to be way more supportive of Mashiro and Miho’s relationship than Mashiro ever was. This possibly may be due to the short time that Takagi’s romance story was dealt with, but Takagi is basically a really really nice guy. Kudos, to you, Takagi, for thinking of Mashiro’s feelings.
Though, Takagi’s kindness becomes misleading as he thinks a bit too much, believing that a successful series is derived from its longevity and resilience to ending too quickly. This goal to come up with a method to create a infinitely on going series ultimately becomes detrimental to Takagi’s method of work, due to the innate fact that Takagi is much more of a rapid fire, short and sweet idea-generator. His ideas are not the ones that are broad and clear, and thus, can be expanded on time and time again, but rather, are ideas that are detail-oriented and thought-provoking (like Death Note!)
It’s clear that Takagi’s strengths lie in going all out 100% (which is nearly impossible to do for the length of an infinitely long series), so that’s what Mashiro tells Takagi on the phone. It’s so great to see Mashiro be supportive of his co-author, really understand what Takagi’s talents are, and believe in him to no end. This provides Takagi with the confidence to fight onward with his masterpiece, no matter how short.