*Warning spoiler heavy rant*
So I watched the seventh episode of Bakuman a few days back and to be honest, it was the first episode I didn’t enjoy watching. The main reason, it focused nearly completely on the most stupid romance plot I’ve come across so far and I’ve read my share of teen romance books.
Basically the driving force of this entire anime series is a promise between the male lead, Mashiro, and his flame Azuki. The promise each other to get married once they’ve achieved their dreams. For Mashiro this means becoming a mangaka and Azuki wants to be a seiyu. So far, so good and pretty cute too. I mean a couple driven by a promise, cheering each other on is something I enjoy watching. However, the mangaka’s who created this story felt it was necessary to add a twist: until they achieve their dreams they won’t speak to each other only communicate through e-mail.
How bloody retarded is that? Pardon my Klatchian, but this just annoys the hell out of me. If you truly love each other, then why, why would you make a promise like that? Wouldn’t you want to get closer to the object of your love? I know I wanted to. Also with this promise, what happens if you don’t reach your goal? As far as I can see they plan on just giving up then and never pursuing this course again.
To me this raises some questions about the Azuki, who was after all the one to suggest this. Why did she suggest it? Is she so naive that she just straight out believes neither of them will fail and it’ll all just be plain sailing till they get married in 5 years or so? I find this kind of hard to believe for one reason: didn’t she get this idea from her mother? After all her mother had a very similar romance, which went absolutely nowhere, because the object of her affections couldn’t reach his goal before she decided to marry someone else. Considering the huge house she now lives in this plot device is starting to feel like a test to me. Either become good enough to provide me with a stable income or I will marry someone else.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into this. Perhaps Azuki really is that naive and seltered. That doesn’t take away from the fact that this is an absolutly ridiculous romance plot which I would prefer to see axed as soon as possible.
On a side note, what was up with Shujin suddenly turning around and saying they’d compete for the Tezuka price after hearing that their first manga didn’t make it as a finalist. Shouldn’t that fact just go towards proofing his point that they need more time to craft a well-rounded manga? Oh well, I guess the plot demanded more action. Next time more manga please and less of this excuse of a romance.
So it’s been several years since I wrote this post and boy have I learned a lot since then. Mostly I’ve learned a lot more about the patriarchy and how it works and influence our media. So now I realise that the above plot point is really a way of literally making Azuki a reward for Mashiro. A sad and extremely overused trope.
However, considering the culture we live in and how hard it can be for girls to say no to guys for fear of retribution my head canon will now be that this is Azuki’s way of getting rid of Mashiro. She daren’t say no to this gun-ho guy, so instead devises this plan to get rid of him. Knowing with his poor discipline he’ll never make it.
(NOTE: I don’t care what actually happens in the manga/anime. I’ve long since dropped this anime over my frustrations with the Azuki & Mashiro sub-plot and I’m never picking it up again.)