Bakuman 13Posted: August 13, 2012
Tsubumi Ohba / Takeshi Obata – Viz – 2012 – 20 volumes
There’s a character popularity poll in the middle of this volume. It tells me everything I needed to know to confirm that my opinions of this series are held by many. Very rarely does the main character not win the top spot in these polls. Hiramaru’s editor Yoshida won the #9 spot. Takagi, one of the two main characters, was #5. He was bumped down by Hiramaru and Nizuma, who won the #3 and #1 spots, respectively. Mashiro was #2, and apparently Japanese readers dig the relationship between him and Azuki, because she was #4. But really, you read this series to watch Nizuma freak out and Yoshida badger Hiramaru. Otter #11, the main character of Hiramaru’s fake manga, won the #6 spot in the poll, which just goes to show how much people love that guy. I’ll get back to that later.
The majority of the story this time was about Shujin and Saiko, and whether or not their partnership is in jeapordy. Shujin is trying to help launch another series, and Saiko wants to write another one-shot. Neither is really speaking to the other, and the extra workload is putting a strain on their friendship. Kaya is worried about the both of them, and it’s a bad mood throughout the volume. But it’s something they both have to do, and they also have to decide about the road they’ll take to get an anime series so that Azuki can voice it and she and Saiko can get married. It ends well, and with a surprisingly mature and level-headed view, considering the ridiculous extremes the characters in this series go to sometimes.
One of the more fun segments was the chapter or two dedicated to the fallout of the short story competition. It was fun watching the reactions to the different types of story, and I especially liked that the outcome was much different than what you’d expect. It’s always fun when a series like this can subvert expectations, even a little.
The best part of this volume. The absolute highlight. There’s a Hiramaru story arc at the end. Yoshida is running out of ideas. Even Hiramaru expresses disappointment with his methods when he out-and-out threatens Hiramaru instead of tricking him when he has to tell him to prepare a new story for serialization. Then, the tea time with Aoki happens. Hiramaru has to out-fox Yoshida in order to keep Yoshida from interfering. Yoshida worries that Hiramaru has… absconded with Aoki. Motorcycle and luxury car chases happen. They have a talk. It is one of the best talks in any manga. Ever. Those two love badgering each other in the worst way. Even Yoshida’s pep talk isn’t all that inspiring. But it is sincere. And honest.
Maybe, if I’m good, next volume will be a Nizuma story. I’m not sure that it could be as good as this short Hiramaru story. But I’ll love it anyway.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.