Manga Review: Bakuman V 7 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata @shonenjump

May Contain Spoilers

Argh! When Moritaka and Akito’s Detective Trap is canceled, they are devastated. They decide that the best way to get over their disappointment is to get to work on a new project, while studying for their college entrance exams. When they have a disagreement with their editor regarding the direction of their next work, things look bleak.

What a bummer! After all that Moritaka went through to keep working in the hospital after his surgery, Detective Trap gets canceled anyway. Unable to make a solid comeback after the long hiatus, their ranking never climbed back into the single digits. Ko Aoki and Nakai’s Hideout Door is given the ax, too, though Nakai seems more upset that he’ll no longer be working with Ko.

Editor Miura browbeats the guys into developing a gag manga, even though that’s not what they want to do. Akito’s strength isn’t writing humor, and he is heavy handed at it. After a heated discussion with Miura, they agree to turn in two projects – a gag manga and something that they want to work on. In addition, they submit a one-shot to a contest without letting Miura know, because they want it to be judged by Eiji Nizuma, who is serving on the judges’ panel.

There was a lot going on in this volume. Akito and Moritaka have to find a new direction for themselves, but they want to proceed with caution. Moritaka is worried that if they have another unsuccessful series, their careers in manga will be over. Miura becomes impatient with them, demanding that they have more faith in themselves. And when they argue about adding humor to the story, watch out! Miura suggests that they go their separate ways and find other partners to work with.

Thank goodness Hattori is there to give Miura some guidance. Since Miura has no practical editing experience, and Akito and Moritaka are still rookies as well, their partnership is not going smoothly. I wish Hattori was still their editor, because he knows what he’s doing! Miura focuses on something, and then he can’t turn away from it. He refuses to entertain the thought that his young rookies should work on anything other than a gag manga, because that is what he prefers.

Ko Aiko is working on developing a new manga, and she has a new editor, too. Yamahisa is a creep, and he only wanted to work with Ko because he thinks she’s pretty. If that plot thread continues, it looks like Ko will have fodder for the #MeToo movement. I can’t stand Yamahisa and I hope he gets some pushback for his skivvy behavior.

When both Akito and Ko need advice from the opposite sex to make progress on their projects, they agree to help each other out. And uh-oh! Kaya is going to get so pissed when she finds out that he’s been lying to her. I do not envy Akito when she unleashes her rage, but he should have been upfront with her from the beginning.

Bakuman continues to entertain, but it also frustrates with the shallow portrayal of the female characters. I get that the story runs in a boys magazine, but come on. On one level I am looking forward to Kaya kicking Akito’s ass, because he take such advantage of her feelings for him. And on the other, I hope she washes her hands of him and looks for a guy who is just as supportive to her as she is to him.

Grade: 4 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

By the creators of Death Note! The mystery behind manga-making revealed!
Reads R to L (Japanese Style).
Average student Moritaka Mashiro enjoys drawing for fun. When his classmate and aspiring writer Akito Takagi discovers his talent, he begs Moritaka to team up with him as a manga-creating duo. But what exactly does it take to make it in the manga-publishing world?
Moritaka and Akito face the prospect of their series being canceled in Shonen Jump due to dropping popularity. Can the duo avoid the axe and keep fighting? And when Akito starts becoming friendly with fellow manga creator Ko Aoki, how will it affect his long-term relationship with Kaya?