With the rankings so close, the choice of serious or gag is still very much open.

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With Future Watch ranking higher, Ashirogi Muto decide to draw out the names for that.

At the editorial department Aida compliments Miura on adding jokes to Business Boy Kenichi as it only dropped to 8th in ranks for the second chapter. So that gives Miura an idea and he starts researching ranks of manga.

In a café somewhere, Aoki meets with her new editor, Yamahisa. He likes her romance manga but because it’s a shounen she’ll have to draw it from a guy’s perspective, so she will need to revise it. But there might be some trouble as she’s only had unrequited love and never dated.

In other news, Nakai’s chatting up Kaho and Hiramaru’s being tricked by Yoshida, as always.

During the next meeting of Ashirogi Muto and Miura, Miura takes a 360 turn and want to serialise Hitman 10 and brings out a pile of charts. It seems that out of the mangas that started out as a top 10 one shot, the gag mangas have been more stable in rankings and have the potential to change. Also the average age of Hitman 10’s reader is around 14 whilst Future watch is over 18. A younger reader demographic has more longevity.

But Mashiro isn’t happy with just longevity, he wants a hit, he doesn’t want to scrape by. But Takagi agrees with the data. Even so, Mashiro’s very against it as his art doesn’t suit gags. Miura then puts out a very surprising comment saying that Mashiro can change his art or Takagi can find another artist.

That was the last straw and Takagi leaves. On the way back, Mashiro surprisingly says that they can do Hitman 10 if Takagi wants. But it might be too late to go back to Miura and say they’ll do it now, so they let it drop.

As Aoki enters her university she wonders who she should ask about feelings of love for a guy’s perspective. She’s then greeted by a girl by the name of Iwase Aiko. She is an author under the pen name Akina Aiko, and Aoki has read her books. She asks Aoki why she draws manga and her answer is that she loves manga.

At the editorial department, Miura is pretty much dead. He asks for Hattori’s advice, who says to apologise as soon as possible.

A delivery arrives for Ashirogi Muto, 4 boxes of gag manga related stuff from Miura. Every book has been commented on and referenced somewhere. The door bell rings again and Miura appears bowing low as an apology. After seeing all the effort Miura put in, Mashiro decides to try out a gag manga after all.

Thoughts:

It looks like they went with gag in the end. Shame really, was really looking forward to what they could come up with on Future Watch, or whatever mysterious, dark, obscure manga they had for us next. Instead I’m just hoping it doesn’t sound too cliché. I mean, we all know Takagi really isn’t one for jokes, he’s no comedian.

Speaking about the data, although it’s all hard evidence and all, taking into account of the people involved is vital. If Takagi is crap at comedy then all the data in the world can’t help him keep up a gag manga. Well, his ideas are good, so I guess he can balance it out somehow. And Miura has faith in his abilities, why shouldn’t we. Also, being Takagi, he would give in when looking at hard data, he is a very analytical person.

In the end I supposed I can’t blame them for giving up, when they saw how hard Miura was working to sincerely help them, I have to admit, even I got a little soft-hearted towards him. He is just doing what he thinks is best, gotta give him a break sooner or later. And hey, they’re still young, can always try out gag manga now and change later, one of the many advantages of being young, plenty of time to try things out. Now’s as good times as any when you’re going strong.

I think the fact that Hitman 10’s reader’s average age is around 14 is a very important fact also. This is a niche market and Jump/Jack is aimed at the younger teens. And getting the target market right would be the first step of any business. One or two obscure manga isn’t a bad thing, but the majority should keep in line. So in this case, I don’t think trying out something that actually suits the age range is a bad idea instead of always going for the obscure manga.

But in the end I don’t think anyone will be happy with Ashirogi Muto drawing gag so we’ll just have to see how long this lasts before they go back to what they’re good at.

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