Author: Tsugumi Ohba
Manga-ka: Takeshi Obata
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: August 2012
Synopsis: “After being told their current series Perfect Crime Party will not be turned into an anime, Moritaka and Akito start planning on ways to create a second series. Their best chance might be to do well in a new contest where they will compete with their rivals over who can create the best romance story!”
The irony of this volume’s showdown of the romances results won’t be lost on the many who love Bakuman for its passionate telling of manga making but begrudge it’s weak coupling subplots. While the romantics have never been the series’ strong point (granted I do at least favour the Kaya and Akito couple quite a bit), other relationships between characters still continue to be one of the most compelling aspects, whether it’s between partners, rivals, editors or audience.
These parts of the story were the focus of this volume as everyone’s series and their rankings took a momentary backseat. The usual flow of the plot was thrown refreshingly out of whack when Moritaka and Akito go their separate ways in order to work on their own projects. While Akito continues his work writing for a new potential series with another artist, Moritaka is determined to prove he can be both an artist and a writer by creating his own one shot. This situation provided a whole new assortment of creative challenges for us to witness and I liked seeing these characters really pushed in new ways. This whole story arc spiced up the book by providing a lot of tension between the two without detracting from the manga-making.
I was really impressed with just how much happened in this volume without it feeling overwhelming. Just about every recurring character was here, and with quite a bit of page time too. All the usual players worked hard to submit their one-shots in competition while working on their own series simultaneously. They even all found time to convene for a surprising climax involving Hiramaru and his one-sided affections for Miss Aoki. While the end result of Moritaka and Akito’s separation actually surprised me a little, it was nothing compared to my surprise at how the Hiramaru chapter went down. Coloured me impressed that while this volume made me like some characters more, it also made me dislike certain characters a lot less, which is really saying something.
Overall I actually liked this volume best for stepping back from the parts I tend to enjoy most about Bakuman in other volumes. It was nice to be free from the constant barrage of stats and reader results and to focus purely on the creative stresses of the job, not to mention the pressures of working with other people. Meanwhile Moritaka and Azuki continuing to actually communicate with one another on a semi regular basis is even making me like them as a couple a tiny bit more. Their relationship is never going to go away so I’m glad it’s finally moving in a direction I can at least make some peace with.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Book purchased from Strange Adventures