Manga Review: Bakuman V 9 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata @shonenjump @vizmedia

May Contain Spoilers

What a great volume. All of the manga creators are in high competition mode, especially Moritaka and Akito. Spurred on by the challenge presented by Iwase and Nizuma, they are determined to make Tanto a hit. And standing out in the wings, just waiting for his chance to shine, is Ryu Shizuka, a shut-in with mad manga skillz, who is repped by editor Masakuza Yamahisa. Things are getting real, and I wonder who will emerge at the top of Jump.

It’s been a year since Detective Trap was cancelled, and Moritaka and Akito finally get another series accepted for the magazine – a kids gag manga. This style isn’t either of their strengths, but Akito is really struggling to make the dialog funny as well as appealing to a younger crowd. Gag manga never places well in the surveys, and they are both getting bummed with their rankings. Iwase and Nizuma’s +Natural is kicking butt and taking names, and Akito’s competitive side is raging that he’s losing to his rival. This only adds to the pressure he already feels, knowing that his writing is key to keeping Tanto popular with Jump’s younger readers. The stress quickly catches up with him.

I really enjoyed this issue. The editors all had big roles to play, gently pushing their creators, or outright browbeating them, to get their storyboards and pages in. Akito and Kaya finally get married, and Akito is feeling even more pressure to keep the series going, keep the paychecks coming in, and keep his new family provided for. Kaya sees the stress he’s under, and worries that he’s going to end up in the hospital like Moritaka did earlier in the series.

Eiji Nizuma puts a fire under their butts by declaring, on TV, that Muto Ashirogi is his favorite manga artist, as well as his favorite rival. When the guys learn that Eiji isn’t even reading Tanto any more, they feel like they’ve been kicked in the teeth. There is so much pent up emotion over their relationship with Eiji that the guys are devastated. Akito knows that Tanto will never measure up to Crow, and he despairs that the manga just isn’t funny. Should they quit while they are ahead and try to submit another series? Oh, my, how the editorial department reacts to that one. Mashiro and Akito are their own worst enemies, and they are getting a rep for being difficult to work with. Ugh! What should they do??

I loved the ending of this volume, and because I think it’s a great big spoiler, I won’t spill the beans. I did give Muira a lot more credit, and I still love Hattori. He is an editor who truly loves comics, and wants to push his creators to produce the best work they possibly can.

Grade: 4.5 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), for audiences T.
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?
With Aiko Iwase teaming up with Eiji to get a series in Shonen Jump, Moritaka and Akito have another major rival to contend with. Can the duo get their series serialized and succeed in Jump this time? And when Akito has to ask for permission to marry Kaya, he’ll have to face her father, a master in Karate!