Manga Review: Bakuman Vol. 19

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

The Review

Spoiler Alert!!!

Bakuman continues its renewed Eiji rivalry arc in Volume 19. First it’s the battle for survey results, then it’s a battle for graphic novel sales, and it finally culminates in a battle for a Jump anime slot. These “battles” though are relatively short. The start of the graphic novel sales battle to the conclusion of the anime battle takes only four chapters. The pages though are crammed with dialogue and panels, and it feels a bit like the creators were rushing through to get to the next, and likely final, arc of the series.

The driving force behind Ashirogi’s anime aspirations has been Moritaka’s dream of marrying Miho, so once Reversi’s anime slot is locked in, the story shifts back to Moritaka and Miho’s endangered species-like relationship (as Akito calls it). Of course our pair can’t get to happily ever after so easily, and a new obstacle arises in the form of Internet fandom backlash.

It starts out small enough with an indiscreet blog post stating that Ashirogi-sensei is actually a two-person team, but that quickly snowballs into a tabloid scandal that plunges the Jump office into uproar and threatens Miho’s career. Ishizawa, who’s definitely taken a turn for the disgusting, reappears to ignite the sparks of disaster, and interestingly, Fukuda inadvertently fans the flames. I never pinned the bad-boy motorcycle mangaka as the romantic type, but apparently he is and unfortunately gets carried away by his emotions. As the storm rages, Miho exudes calm as usual, but so does Moritaka, and it’s actually Akito who gets all riled up about the situation. (I know the chances are slim, but I’m hoping for a replay of Akito’s Ishizawa punch!) At any rate, Bakuman looks to be heading toward a strong finish with Miho and Moritaka caught between denying their relationship and achieving their dreams.

In Summary

Bakuman is at its penultimate volume, and as much as I’ve enjoyed the series, it really does feel like time for it to come to a close. Moritaka’s been in pursuit of his dream of marrying Miho for ten years, and at this point, Akito’s already married and most of their rivals have animated series. But the course of true love never runs smooth, and Ohba-sensei does a great job of throwing yet another obstacle into their path as the story shifts from the Eiji/Ashirogi rivalry to Moritaka and Miho’s hopes for marriage.

First published at the Fandom Post.

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