Manga Review: Bakuman Vol. 17

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 17. (My reviews of earlier Bakuman volumes can be found here.)

Back Cover Blurb

As the veteran manga artists start taking over Weekly Shonen Jump, the younger artists feel the pressure. But what is behind this sudden surge of older artists making a comeback in the magazine? And what is the connection between Azuma and Moritaka’s late uncle?

The Review

When Nanamine got trounced by Team Ashirogi a couple volumes back, I was pretty certain he’d return to the story at some point as a reformed mangaka. Well, he is back, but he’s a bigger sore loser than I thought. The Shinjitsu Corporation manga machine arc feels like a rehash of Nanamine’s previous showdown against PCP. The scope is grander with Nanamine’s father’s money backing him and the various Team Fukuda creators wanting to take him down, but the overall feel of this battle is the same. Even so, the plot keeps you interested with the sorry plight of the older mangaka, and the ultimate outcome has a surprising and rather satisfying twist.

Interestingly, Taro Kawaguchi features prominently in these chapters, and it’s interesting that Ohba-sensei seems to incorporate some of Kawaguchi’s “stand-alone that doesn’t stand alone” technique into Volume 17. While none of the chapters are stand-alone stories, they do revisit a number of things unanswered in the early volumes, such as why Moritaka’s grandfather kept Taro Kawaguchi’s studio untouched all those years.

Ohba-sensei also uses this technique with the editor-in-chief’s unexpected transfer from Jump. While his leaving doesn’t impact Team Ashirogi’s as directly as when they lost and then regained Hattori as editor, it does provide the framework to show how far they and rival Eiji have come. His upcoming departure also sets the stage for the young mangaka to focus on their original rivalry once more, which, after Nanamine’s extreme strategies, will be a refreshing change.

In Summary

Nanamine returns, and he’s more determined to destroy Ashirogi than ever before! Sadly, his methodology hasn’t changed much so the rematch is very similar to their first showdown. However, the final outcome does have an unexpected and interesting twist, and we gain some interesting backstory about Moritaka’s uncle thanks to old-timer mangaka Azuma and the editor-in-chief.

This title is highly recommended for young teens and up.

First published at the Fandom Post.

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