Manga Review: Bakuman V 14 by by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata @shonenjump @vizmedia

May Contain Spoilers

Akito and Mashiro finally have to face something they haven’t in the past. A villainous rival. New guy on the block Nanamine is a calculating, cunning foe, and though he initially was inspired by Muto Ashirogi, his cavalier approach towards creating manga rubs the guys the wrong way. Offended by both his attitude and his creative process, Moritaka and Akito throw down the gauntlet. They are going to crush Nanamine, and show him how wrong he is about manga!

I am so not a fan of Nanamine, but I’m glad that Akito and Moritaka finally have a villain to fight. Bakuman is like a battle manga, but the competitions in the past have been with friendly rivals. They could sympathize with and cheer along with their fellow creators. Everyone has respect for each other and their work. When Eiji first appeared in the series, I thought that he would be the villain. Since I like him so much, I’m glad that I was wrong about that. He’s just an eccentric artist whose head is often lost in his creations, but he is a friendly, encouraging guy who wants what’s best for manga and Jump.

Along comes Nanamine, who is a ruthless creator. He has an agenda, and he’s going to be the most popular creator in Jump. So what if his methods are controversial. When he stirs up fan fury against Jump by posting a one-shot that is not awarded the top prize in a contest, he gets on the bad side of several of the editors. Nanamine is good at feigning ignorance, while manipulating the people around him. After Akito and Moritaka learn about his methods and challenge him, Nanamine pulls out the big guns. He hires an artist from past, who holds a grudge against several of the current Jump creators. Then Nanamine tries to copy PCP as closely as possible, with the intention of winning over Muto Ashirogi’s fans to his series instead.

This was a tense volume. The rivalry with Nanamine is anything but friendly, and both his editor and Hattori are upset with him. Nanamine browbeats his editor, who is just starting out his career, and threatens to pull his work from Jump and move to another magazine, ruining the editor’s reputation. Hattori is appalled when he discovers what Nanamine is doing. It’s dishonest and it’s a disservice to the readers. When Nanamine plots even more drastic methods to beat PCP, I couldn’t believe it. Is this creep going to get away with his devious plan? I can hardly wait to find out, and I can hardly wait to see how Akito and Moritaka deal with this guy, who has left his morals behind him in the dirt. If he even had any to begin with.

Grade:  4.25 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

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?
Is Moritaka and Akito’s newest rival also their greatest fan?! The duo is asked to judge a manga contest and the best entry reminds them of their own creations. But who is this mysterious new artist and what are his controversial methods of creating manga?