Bakuman Vol. 17 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
December 2, 2012 by Dennis Amith
At “Shonen Jump”, Muto Ashirogi and the current mangaka must take on Tohru Nanamine who reveals his latest strategy in becoming the #1 mangaka at “Shonen Jump”, meanwhile what happens when Muto Ashirogi decides to create a new series, one that is out of their comfort zone but a better chance of being adapted to an anime series? Find out in the latest entertaining 17th volume of “Bakuman”!
© 2008 by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Bakuman vol. 17 (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: December 4, 2012
As the veteran manga artists start taking over Weekly Shonen Jump, the younger artists feel the pressure. But what is behind this sudden surge of older artists making a comeback in the magazine? And what is the connection between Azuma and Moritaka’s late uncle?
As Nizuma figured out that these veteran manga artists are not creating their work, who could be responsible? Also, new changes are taking place at “Shonen Jump” magazine and a new series in the works for Ashito Murogi?
Find out in the latest volume of “Bakuman” Vol. 17!
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 17?
In volumes 14 and 15 of “Bakuman”, we were introduced to mangaka Tohru Nanamine, a teenager who grew up reading the works of writer Takagi Akito and artist Mashiro Moritaka, known to the manga world as Muto Ashirogi.
And what appeared to be a cool manga artist, turned out to be a true nightmare as Tohru Nanamine became more interested in becoming the #1 mangaka of Shonen Jump and beat Muto Ashirogi by using an Internet group which would lead to manga fans and failed writers to work on his manga series as a joint collaboration and without needing an editor.
Nanamine was eventually defeated, outed and shamed when his collaborative group all left him, when it was revealed his manga passion is more about revenge and not about the love for manga. And after being shamed, Nanamine vowed that he would get his revenge on Muto Ashirogi!
Here we are with volume 17, and in volume 16, we saw veteran artists being given a one-shot in Shonen Jump and getting a chance to get a series once again. This of course, upsets some mangaka and editors who feel that “Shonen Jump” should foster younger artists/writers, while those who feel that veterans should get a chance to submit a story as well, as long as the readers of “Shonen Jump” are willing to back it.
And while Akito Takagi of Muto Ashirogi is not a big fan of this, his partner Moritaka Mashiro is supportive. Especially learning that one of those veteran mangaka from the past is Mihiko Azuma, an artist who worked with his late uncle.
And as these veterans continue to become successful, it is later revealed that these veterans were all a plan of Tohru Nanamine in order to defeat Muto Ashirogi. Using his family wealth to create a company that hires manga fans and foster talent of artists and writers including utilizing former mangaka veterans to collaborative work together in creating a story, it would be a formula for success when he releases his own manga.
But will Shonen Jump allow a person like Nanamine to have his series using people like this?
As for the second storyline arc, new changes are in store for the mangaka at “Shonen Jump” as a new editor-in-chief takes over and Muto Ashirogi decides to create a new one-shot that may lead them to create a new series that may be turned into an anime series? But will people enjoy this different type of story they have planned?
For readers of “Bakuman”, it was a given that Tohru Nanamine would be back and try to get his revenge on Ashito Murogi!
And now spending all his money for manga researchers, writers artists and even hiring former mangaka veterans to pump out one-shots to “Shonen Jump”, the big question is whether or not the company will accept Nanamine?
Suffice to say, when the editors and mangaka find out the truth about Nanamine, it’s an all out war when they find out that “Shonen Jump” will give him a series if his own story places in the top 3 for an upcoming issue. With all mangaka wanting to make sure that Nanamine has no chance, can they beat a person using a school of manga fans/writers/artists behind him?
An interesting and exciting storyline that concludes the Nanamine storyline for now! But it also concludes a storyline that relates to Moritaka Mashiro’s deceased uncle as well!
And the second half is also exciting as Muto Ashirogi has now found a chance for them to create a new series in hopes that it can be turned into an anime series (which will then lead to Mashiro and Miho to become a couple). But with a new editor-in-chief and for both Mashiro and Takagi to leave their own comfort zone, what kind of story will they explore for their new series? And will it work?
“Bakuman” continues to give readers insight to the manga industry. And with this latest volume, I’m not sure if the Nanamine storyline actually happens in Japan, where one is willing to throw their money to creating large groups in order to create the perfect manga. Also, it’s interesting to see how change at a publication affects its writers and in this second storyline, it’s interesting to see how people react to Editor-in-Chief Sasaki moving on to another publication and a new Editor-in-Chief is selected.
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 and the series has mature quite well with each volume!
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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