By Leroy Douresseaux
December 2, 2011 - 10:10
|Bakuman Volume 8 cover image is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.
Rated “T” for “Teen”
Akito Takagi is an aspiring writer who convinces his artistically inclined classmate, Moritaka Mashiro, to join him in an attempt to create manga that will be published. Taking the penname, “Muto Ashirogi,” the two young creators eventually get their own manga, “Detective Trap,” published in the manga magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump. Do the boys have what it takes to make it in the manga-publishing world?
Bakuman, Vol. 8 (entitled Panty Shot and Savior) opens in the aftermath of the cancellation of “Detective Trap.” Moritaka and Akito are working on a gag manga at the behest of their editor, Goro Miura. Meanwhile, Takagi’s girlfriend, Kaya Miyoshi, believes that Takagi is cheating on her with two other women. One is the manga creator, Ko Aoki, and the other is Takagi’s high school rival and budding novelist, Aiko Iwase.
THE LOWDOWN: While the eighth volume of Bakuman (stylized as Bakuman。) continues to give an insider’s perspective or a behind-the-scenes look at creating manga, it also focuses on relationships. Writer Tsugumi Ohba deals with teem romantic drama in a familiar way, one that blends elements of shonen (comics for teen boys) and shojo (comics for teen girls). He takes a more complicated and complex look at work relationships and office politics. It’s a good mix of the personal and professional that is the spine of this manga about manga.
Artist Takeshi Obata continues his stellar work. He can make character drama seem so fast paced. When I first heard of this series, I wondered how the creators would make it work, and the answer is Obata’s storytelling. The characters’ faces are so expressive that they can light up even the stiffest character moments. There is nothing flat or dry about his art. Obata creates the illusion of life in this story.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Anyone who wants to read a good comic book about comic books should try Bakuman.