November 6, 2011
Tsugumi Ohba / Takeshi Obata – Viz – 2011 – 15+ volumes
This series is infuriating! It has a lot of good elements in every book. The plot is super-interesting, and the side characters can be really funny. My favorite in this volume is Hiramaru. Hiramaru is a fellow Jump artist. He hates being a manga artist. Sort of. He is constantly running away from his work, and is hounded twenty-four hours a day by his bitter, angry editor. The editor has every right to berate Hiramaru the way he does, because Hiramaru is like a big child. His editor also occasionally has elaborate schemes that get Hiramaru to keep working for 1-2 weeks at a time before the next scheme has to go into effect. At the beginning of the volume, he randomly shows up at Mashiro’s studio. He sticks around even when questioned about his intentions, then proceeds to tell a long story about how he peed blood and had to go to the doctor. Later, his editor tricks him into buying a Porsche and a fancy apartment so that he has to keep working in order to pay for the tax on his stuff.
And he’s only on a few pages. There’s also a widespread Jump artist boycott, and lots of info about what happens when an artist of a series falls very ill. There’s lots of stuff to like in this volume.
But the characters. The main characters. They’re awful. There’s lots of Miho and Mashiro scenes in this book, and I keep hoping that these two will grow up and reading their interactions won’t be painful. But there’s a good portion of the middle of the book dedicated to advancing their relationship. At least they’re going somewhere, but man… it’s hard to read that stuff. There’s also a Big Issue in this volume that Mashiro basically stands up for. I don’t agree with his viewpoint, and neither do any of the other characters, but for some reason, they let him have his way. They admire his guts. This is a very poor lesson, in my opinion.
It’s really hard to read a series where I hate the characters so much, but love everything else about it. This volume leaves off on an awful cliffhanger, and it makes me want to go to the next volume. I have a feeling all will not be well, but I’m looking forward to the next big thing from Muto Ashirogi.
I also freely admit to liking some of the weird meta-plots this has going on. When the Jump artists go on strike, it’s all newcomers on their first series that refuse to hand in new work. Part of me really wanted them to just say, “You know what? Oda-sensei agreed to join us, too” just to see how that would shake things up. Or failing that, have Ohba and Obata show up in their own series as a popular writer/artist, and join the boycott. That would blow my mind.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.