November 3, 2012
Tsugumi Ohba / Takeshi Obata – Viz – 2012 – 20 volumes
More fun with side characters this volume. While Shujin and Saiko are still working on their goal of getting another story serialized and animated, I love that it took a back seat to the competition. It’s a new character this time around, and once again, he is more interesting than Shujin and Saiko. He’s basically one-dimensional too, which should tell you something about Shujin and Saiko.
The new character’s name is Tohru Nanamine. He used to send fan letters to Shujin and Saiko quite regularly. When they spot his name on the most promising entry in the manga contest they are judging (the story itself takes up almost the entire first chapter of this volume), they recognize him and draw the connection. Unfortunately, despite being the best, his story is too dark (it’s a lot like Future Diary, which would never run in Jump), and they can’t award it the prize. They do offer to take a look at his work and possibly serialize it, though. Nanamine comes off a loud and energetic youth, and he’s excited and agrees readily when meeting with his rookie editor.
And it starts. He posts his story on the internet and comments that it didn’t win the competition. What seems like a gaffe by a newcomer is actually a carefully calculated move to win him publicity, since the story is actually quite good. We learn that there’s a whole lot more calculation behind what Nanamine is doing than it seems at first, and most are pretty sure there’s something screwy. The problem is, his method seems flawless, and he makes amazing work. He’s also full of himself. When Shujin and Saiko express unease at his method, he challenges them to a popularity contest. And that’s this volume.
As always, the popularity contest is pretty epic, and has way more twists and turns than you may suspect a manga about manga serialization may hold. It’s volumes like this that make me love Bakuman. I just can’t put them down because they’re so well-written, and I get such a kick out of the geeky stuff.
With the ending fast approaching, and with a couple of fun volumes in a row, I’m afraid we’re going to have to get back to Shujin and Saiko’s quests. While these parts are good, and still a lot of fun, it’s such a shame the main characters are so boring. I’m still going to read volume 15 IMMEDIATELY, though.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.