By Leroy Douresseaux
February 5, 2012 - 07:13
|Bakuman Volume 9 cover image is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.|
Rated “T” for “Teen”
Aspiring writer Akito Takagi convinced his artistically inclined high school classmate, Moritaka Mashiro, to join him in attempting to create manga that would be published. Taking the penname, “Muto Ashirogi,” the two young creators eventually got their own manga, “Detective Trap,” published in the manga magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump. Do these young men have what it takes to make it in the manga-publishing world?
Bakuman, Vol. 9 (entitled Talent and Pride) offers shocking news all around. Manga prodigy Eiji Nizuma teams up with another creator. Will he end up with two series in Weekly Shonen Jump? Takagi and his girlfriend, Kaya Miyoshi’s relationship takes a really big next step. Jump editor Yamahisa gets reclusive mangaka Shizuka take a big step of his own. Takagai and Mashiro come to a big decision about their current series, “Vroom, Tanto Daihatsu” (or “Tanto,” for short).
THE LOWDOWN: The ninth volume of Bakuman (stylized as Bakuman。) continues to give an insider’s perspective or a behind-the-scenes look at the world of manga publishing, but conflict is what drives this volume. To be or not to be or to do or not to do – or some such version – is the question that the characters ask themselves and others throughout this narrative.
Change via renewal or endings is the theme, which once again proves that writer Tsugumi Ohba can make this insider fiction an engaging teen, character, and workplace drama. Sometimes complicated, Bakuman is always engaging. Meanwhile, artist Takeshi Obata continues his stellar performance as the artist. His visual style mixes superb draftsmanship with cartoon sensibilities, and that works very well for Bakuman.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers looking for top notch shonen will want Bakuman.