Hiramaru-kun.

Ok so I have just finished the second season of Bakuman. I can’t remember the last time I was so hooked on an anime, I’m glad that there are still anime out there that make me completely lose my sense of time and tell myself “just one more” before I proceed to watch another 5 episodes. But I feel like I might as well wait and write a post about my overall impressions and thoughts after I’ve finished the 3rd season.

I really wanted to write something though, and Bakuman has pretty much consumed me for the past 4 days. So here is a lighthearted post about one of my favourite characters in the series so far: Hiramaru.

(Bakuman. S1 & S2 spoilers ahead)

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Our first encounters with Hiramaru are in season 1. During this time, he is portrayed as mysterious. His face is not shown. We just see short clips of him discovering manga, and hear talk of him and his potential from the editors during a serialization meeting. You don’t really know what to expect from this character at this time. Is he going to become an antagonist? Or another rival character? It really felt like he was being set up this way.

But then we meet Hiramaru in season 2, and all of that tension over what kind of character he would be just disappeared. Turns out Hiramaru is an extremely unmotivated person who hates working, and thought manga would be easier than his old job. He is also not very bright, and loves women. From there he became essentially a gag character.

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Sometimes a gag can be overdone, or used too much, which I think can create the opposite intended effect. Hiramaru manages to be very effective in his purpose. It’s interesting to note that his manga, Otters 11, seems like a reflection of him. Hiramaru himself is a serious character – he’s not trying to make jokes. He genuinely doesn’t want to work, he is genuinely not very bright, and he genuinely loses his head when it comes to cute girls. It’s a lot like the main character in Otters 11 – he is a serious character, but everyone else sees him as hilarious because hes a talking otter.

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I would watch this anime.

I love the stages that Hiramaru’s gag has taken. He starts out hating work. This escalates to him actively running away from his job and trying to hide at other manga studios. From this we see how his editor, Yoshida, is basically policing Hiramaru to keep him working. The whole situation was hilarious to me.

But the gag didn’t stop there. Right when we are caught up in some more serious issues in the anime, Hiramaru pulls up in an expensive car to brag about his new car and condo – advancing his gag to a new level. I really love this scene, with Hiramaru acting like he was super clever and ending up realizing he had been tricked. Yoshida had moved from policing to manipulating Hiramaru to keep him writing manga.

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Like a deer caught in the headlights.

Another thing I love about Hiramaru is when he thinks he is being clever, and Yoshida just sees right through it. It’s like watching a child that thinks they are fooling their parents. The relationship between Hiramaru and Yoshida is actually just like that in many ways. It’s well done and very funny. I love how often scenes with Hiramaru are displayed so that Yoshida is either standing over him, of Yoshida is shown in an intimidating manner, with his back to the camera.

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To see Hiramaru’s source of motivation slowly changing has been a lot of fun. Hiramaru feels like a fun side-story to the main plot that helps break up tension and provide comedic relief. I can’t help but wonder “What nonsense situation is Hiramaru going to end up in next?”, and this question sits in the back of my mind until we see him again. It’s been a lot of fun to follow his story on the side of the main plot.

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I love how he eventually has a straight up poster of Aoki above his desk. I bet Yoshida got it for him.

That’s about all I have to say about Hiramaru. He’s a very fun character, and it’s been enjoyable to watch him in Bakuman. 2nd Season. I’m looking forward to seeing what hijinks he gets himself into in the next season!

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