Manga Review: Bakuman Vol. 8

Bakuman is the latest collaboration of Ohba and Obata, the creators of the wildly popular Death Note series. Unlike Death Note, Bakuman is more or less grounded in reality, but it is no less entertaining as it follows the ups and downs of a mangaka duo as they strive to make it big in the publishing world!

This series is a personal favorite of mine, and Viz Media has just released Volume 8. (My reviews of earlier Bakuman volumes can be found here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Drama swirls around the manga creators as they try to move forward after being canceled from Shonen Jump. Moritaka and Akito work hard on a new comedy story pitch while Aoki and Nakai struggle with some personal issues. But when Kaya uncovers Akito’s meetings with Aoki and Iwase, things might never be the same.

The Review

Certain volumes of this series have really come across as battle manga – and this is not one of them. While Team Ashirogi is still struggling hard for a breakthrough that will allow them to return to the pages of Jump, the overall feel of Volume 8 is romantic dramedy. And it’s not just the boys and their girlfriends. To varying degrees, Iwase, Aoki, Nakai, and the assistant Kato all wind up embroiled in affairs of the heart, and the situations that result have a very high school shojo feel to it. (Not that I’m complaining; I actually enjoy this sort of thing.)

In the midst of all this who’s-attracted-to-whom turmoil, the female characters get a rare opportunity to take the spotlight. The cast is male-heavy to start off with, and with the exception of Miho’s promise to Moritaka at the very beginning, the females haven’t driven the story. In this volume, you really get a sense of their personalities as they react to what appears to be a case of two timing. Kaya, who is often the subject of boob remarks and panty shots, goes beyond simple comic relief. Meanwhile, Miho shows a tough side as she and Moritaka have their first major fight. And Aoki, who started off as a one-dimensional character, goes through a slew of emotions, ranging from embarrassment to anger to despair, that makes her much more relatable. She’s definitely no longer the snob character she started as, but it’s looking like that ice princess role will go to Iwase.

Regarding Iwase, I didn’t think I’d see her again after Akito chose Kaya, but it looks like she’s back for a long haul. The way she gets into the world of manga is a bit of a stretch; for Editor Hattori to use her to re-energize three mangaka he’s not in charge of seems unrealistic. But with Iwase turning into a rival for Akito, things have the potential to get very interesting.

In Summary

Team Ashirogi hits more choppy waters – this time on the romantic front. Akito’s innocent meetings lead to trouble with Kaya and ultimately results in a rift between Masahiro and Miho! The relationships in Bakuman take on a high school shojo feel as the boys struggle to win their girlfriends back and make their return to Jump!

This title is highly recommended for young teens and up.

First published at the Fandom Post.

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