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Bakuman Vol. 16 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

November 2, 2012 by  



At “Shonen Jump”, many of the young manga talent have been inspired by Eiji Nizuma who continues to dominate as the #1 manga series featured in the popular publication.  But how will the manga talent and editorial feel when Nizuma decides that he wants to call it quits!  Find out what happens in another exciting and entertaining 16th volume of “Bakuman”!

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© 2008 by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Bakuman vol. 16 (バクマン)

SERIES BEGAN IN: 2008

WRITTEN BY: Tsugumi Ohba (大場 つぐみ)

ILLUSTRATED BY: Takeshi Obata (小畑 健)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Weekly Shonen Jump

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: October 2, 2012

Average student Moritaka Mashiro enjoys drawing for fun. When his classmate and aspiring writer Akito Takagi discovers his talent, he begs Moritaka to team up with him as a manga-creating duo. But what exactly does it take to make it in the manga-publishing world?

With Nanamine’s manga struggling, he makes an interesting challenge to Moritaka and Akito. But will the duo accept and risk what they’ve worked so hard to achieve? And when the news media puts the spotlight on their series for the wrong reasons, how will it affect Akito?

At Shonen Jump, Eiji Nizuma, the manga prodigy and the the Tezuka Award winner (who won it at the age of 15), has always been at the #1 position in the reader’s rankings.    And because Nizuma won a recent competition, he now has the right to end any manga that he selects for Shonen Jump and it has everyone on edge.

Who’s manga will he end? Coult it be Muto Ashirogi’s “PCP”, will it be Aiko Iwase’s “Natura+”?

And what happens when Shonen Jump, who is known for grooming young talent, begins to hire former mangaka/veterans?  Another management decision that has the younger mangaka on edge!

Find out what happens in volume 16 of the hit manga series “Bakuman”!

What is “Bakuman”?

For writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata (“Hikaru no Go”, “Blue Dragon”, “Castlevania Judgment”), both are known for their collaboration and their work on the popular series “Death Note”.

While Obata is known to collaborate with other writers, after the success of “Death Note”, it’s no surprise that many fans have wanted to see these two together. Having worked on “Death Note” from 2003-2006, the two have returned with a more upbeat storyline titled “Bakuman”…which is a play on the word “bakuhatsu” (explosion) and “baku” (a mythological animal that eats dreams).

With a total of 20 volumes having been published in Japan and a 25-episode anime series that aired in 2009, needless to say, both Ohba and Obata have once again achieved success with their second project together since “Death Note”.

“Bakuman” revolves around two teenagers. Moritaka Mashiro is a junior high student who has a crush on his classmate Miho Azuki. One day, his classmate Akito Takagi tries to persuade Mashiro to become a mangaka (a manga artist) while Takagi writes. But Mashiro is not so interested as his uncle used to be a manga artist and died from overwork because he tried to get back into the industry and regain his top status as a mangaka.

As for Takagi, he is an intelligent student who prefers to write manga than focus on school. Takagi really wants to write a manga but hopes Mashiro can illustrate.

But Mashiro is also a bit tense about being involved with Takagi because he thinks that he is in love with Miho, but in truth, Takagi was doing all he can to bring Mashiro and Azuki together. Mashiro proposes to Azuki and she accepts…but with one condition, they will marry once they achieve their dreams, he as a successful mangaka and she as a voice actress. But for now, the two can’t see each other or communicate until they make their dreams come true.

So, knowing this… Mashiro will do all he can to illustrate a manga with Takagi and become a professional mangaka as soon as possible.

As both young men have proved that they can become a fantastic writing/illustration manga duo, the problem is that they have had two manga series and both which were cancelled.

As the two learn about the challenges of having a manga series and the popularity of polling and popularity, it’s a new year and now both Takagi and Mashiro have one more chance. A chance to prove that they deserve to have a manga series, but most importantly, a series that can also become an anime series, with hopes that Mashiro’s girlfriend Azuki will become a voice actress for the series. But before Mashiro and Azuki can be together, they must make their dreams come true!

Meanwhile, good news has come to both Mashiro and Takagi as they have been given the opportunity for PCP to become a light novel series and also have a drama CD release! This is great news for Mashiro as this will give his girlfriend Miho Azuki (who has no idea that Muto Ashirogi is Mashiro and Takagi) a chance to be a voice actress.

But when they find out from Hattori that because their manga series may lead to children imitating some of actions from their manga series, a chance for an anime series is nil!

And for Mashiro, having an anime series where Miho could become a voice actress is quite important as that is the only way the two can officially be together as a couple.

While both Mashiro and Takagi have had their ups and downs, they do believe that one day, they will create a manga series that will lead to an anime series. But for now, focus on the quality of “PCP”.

With Takagi and Mashiro meeting their former fan turned mangaka and being told of how he writes his manga, based on Internet submissions, it leads to a clash of perspectives as both tell Tohru Nanamine that what he is doing is wrong and not listening to his editor is incredibly wrong. While Tohru responds that Takagi and Mashiro are just puppets to the editor.

Suffice to say, both vow to challenge each other in battle of who is better, and who will get the better weekly votes.

Meanwhie, as Tohru Nanamine gets his manga into “Shonen Jump”, someone has to be canceled. And for Kazuya Hiramaru, he has always believed that he continued with manga in order to be close to fellow mangaka Ko Aoki. But if he loses his manga series, will she even look at him?

What is going on in Volume 16?

With Eiji Nizuma having won a competition to decide which manga that Shonen Jump gets to cancel, everyone is at edge, wondering who it will be.  But surprisingly, Nizuma makes the shocking decision to end his #1 manga series “Crow”.

This upsets a lot of the manga artists because they looked at “Crow” as their rival that made them strive to be even better each week.  So, Eiji gives them a chance.  If any mangaka at Shonen Jump can make him slip from the #1 position, he will not cancel “Crow”, otherwise if he continues to be #1 for several more weeks with no sign of dropping, he’s canceling his series.

For Takagi and Mashiro, they decide to put everything they have into their next story arc for “PCP” with hopes that it will be strong enough to make Eiji fall to #2.  But the other mangaka are just as determined to beat Eiji as well.  But do they have  a chance

Also in the latest volume of “Bakuman”, with the lack of finding young, talented mangaka, what happens when veterans start submitting their work for a new series.  With “Shonen Jump” being a manga publication known for showcasing up-and-coming young talent, how will the younger mangaka feel about veterans coming into their turf?

 

For many issues, we have seen some buildup of storyline that revolves around manga prodigy Eiji Nizuma.  We have seen Nizuma critical of his fellow mangaka’s work but also giving them constructive criticism on what they were lacking in their storyline.

So, while Eiji Nizuma’s “Crow” has been the dominating, battle manga series and money make for “Shonen Jump”, many of the younger manga talent including Ashito Murogi have been inspired by Nizuma’s work but when they find out that he wants to end his series on a high note, no one is taking the news as anything positive.  Each week, the manga series “Crow” was the king of manga series and for many, they could hope they can topple that king and take the #1 position.  But with Nizuma planning to end “Crow”, now what?

So, as each of the manga plead for him to not quit, he gives them close to 10-weeks to try and knock him off the #1 position.  And thus , we see the young mangaka trying to do all they can to take that #1 position away from Nizuma.

It also makes the viewers question if top rated manga artists have that much power, to lead to a cancellation of a series.

But the second storyline is what I found quite fascinating.  I have always wonderd what happens to once popular manga artists.  Do they quit, get new jobs or just start their own series elsewhere?

And when there is a lull of creative and talented young manga artists, what happens when the publication has former star talent submitting their latest work? Especially at “Shonen Jump”, known for grooming younger manga talent.  We get to see editorial debate about bringing in older talent, while mangaka themselves debate on whether or not older veterans should be given a chance to have their work published in “Shonen Jump”.

It’s an interesting storyline plot because many people who have read manga have wondered what happens to the talent they once read.  Do they get second chances at the same publication or are they pretty much kicked to the curb?

“Bakuman” continues to give readers insight to the manga industry.

Tsugumi Ohba has done a wonderful job in creating layers of detail amongst the primary characters.  His writing is well-done and while some Japanese readers feels he overstretches arcs a bit too much, I don’t mind.  He takes his time and feels no need to interject so many characters for the sake of it.  He uses characters that are integral to the storyline and so far, the character development involved in building these characters have been wonderful and a lot of fun to read.

As for illustrator Takeshi Ibata, he includes so much detail into his panels and the artwork is just phenomenal.  It’s one of the manga series I always take my time looking at because his panels are so well-detailed.

And so far, the biggest plus for me was getting some insight on the manga world. It’s one thing to read manga but for those of us living outside of Japan, rarely do we get to see how things are done in Japan and how difficult or challenging it is for one to break into the industry. And in the beginning, we got to see how the industry works through the lives of Takagi and Mashiro but now, the series has grown to show us perspectives among the editors and the artists involved.

For any manga fan, “Bakuman” is an exiting and fun series that goes into the life of those who work in the manga industry.  There really is nothing like it and if you love manga, “Bakuman” is highly recommended!

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