Home > Bakuman, Episode Reviews > Bakuman Episode 24 – Sowing and Reaping

Bakuman Episode 24 – Sowing and Reaping

While last episode technically ended on a cliffhanger, the themes of the episode and the series as a whole dictated that Koogy’s entry would get slaughtered, and that’s exactly what happened. While the initial response to Moritaka and Takagi’s “Detective Trap,” Fukada’s “Kiyoshi Knight,” and Nakai and Aoki’s “Hideout Door” were all highly positive, Koogy’s intitial survey results fall towards the bottom of the barrel.

With Koogy’s utter failure removing him from the picture, the rest of the episode focuses on the end result of the contest, as the final survey determines the rankings of the three series still in competition. While it’s technically just a side show to Moritaka and Takagi finally getting serialized—which is a pretty much a sure thing at this point, but is being saved for next episode, there’s enough crammed into the episode that it doesn’t seem like the writers stalling for the inevitable conclusion. Instead it feels like a step by step exploration of how the pair’s labor has brought them to this point.

Koogy, who approached the medium as if it should be privileged to have him, gets a single scene devoted to being smacked down before disappearing from the show. May he not return

With the initial survey results being a practical tie, it falls to the  final survey to determine the winner, with “Detective Trap” and “Kiyoshi Knight” ending in an unprecedented joint win. Even so, “Hideout Door” is considered in the running for syndication, so those and other series from veterans wind up competing for the same open slots.

The board room bickering is surprisingly detailed and involved, with the editors within the story addressing the same issues of demographics and ratings that the editors in the real world (including the ones that decided to serialize the manga version of Bakuman) regularly deal with. It’s one of those peeks into the industry that I find so interesting.

Seriously, if you have results like this, I expect the boardroom bickering over who should get priority would be intense

Hattori doesn’t have enough seniority to attend the meeting, but Moritaka and Takagi’s editor still goes to bat for them. Knowing that, just as he once was, that the senior editors will be reluctant to let high school students get serialized, he convinces one the editors who will be present to present evidence that the youngsters can handle it. What evidence is there? The drafts of several chapters Hattori had them produce in advance.

It’s another sign how all the hard work of the pair is finally bearing fruit. For the first two years or so of their partnership, Hattori was dead set against the duo being serialized, for their own good. Having seen their determination and even more their accomplishments over the course of those years, he’s changed his mind, and is now their strongest advocate.

Hattori also is warming up to Niizuma and Fukada's editor (also named Hattori), as the two begin to see each other as coworkers rather than just rivals. Both are united in wanting their authors to succeed

Another one impressed is Azuki. On learning of Moritaka and Takagi’s success, she calls the latter to thank him for taking his partner as far as they’ve gone. Takagi is actually impressed that Azuki even called him; she’s known to be bad at talking to boys. Her own work as an actress has led to a greater sense of confidence.

But when Miyoshi, both annoyed at her boyfriend being stolen and eager to get Moritaka and Azuki talking again, grabs the phone and hands it off to Moritaka, Azuki hangs up. She still can’t bring herself to talk to Moritaka directly.

Moritaka's obvious nervousness, supplemented by a drawn out flashback, sets up the scene for a major romantic moment. The reversal that follows is one of the funniest moments of the show

That, alongside Azuki’s tendency to send off the shortest text messages to a boyfriend in the history of universe, indicates that she still is having trouble expressing herself and her feelings. This comes up again as her mother gently chides her for keeping herself so removed from Moritaka. A relationship as distant as theirs, she warns, can’t last.

Azuki’s mother knows of what she speaks, having had just such a failed relationship with Moritaka’s uncle. And another seed has been planted that might produce fruit later. If so, it’s a daring one; Azuki and Moritaka’s long-distance relationship is perfect for both keeping the relationship in stasis for as long as possible (and thus drawing out the story), and keeping Azuki off-screen (which is one less female character the writers have to struggle to personify). To even signal that this status quo might be coming to an end is a surprise, and a welcome one.

Azuki attempts to text Moritaka a request for his phone number, but gets cold feet before she sends it. (Yes, I am including this pic just for the sake of showing off Azuki's cat)

The end is in sight for Bakuman, and the show is beginning to wrap up important plot threads while suggesting places for further development. It’s a slow wrap up, whose tempo is more the result of the necessities of TV scheduling than good dramatic pacing, but one which nonetheless is leading to a proper climax.

Next week, we should have the official syndication results, which I suspect will lead to all three rookie series making the cut. But we also might have some form of romantic climax as well, which would be fitting, but not something I would have expected even a few weeks ago. Bakuman hasn’t always been great during its first season’s run. But with the seeds of the past few months coming to fruition, I expect the finale to reap an excellent harvest.

One last seed being planted: The man introduced last episode, still faceless and nameless, gets multiple scenes, all seemingly manga related. Look for him next season

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