This was intended to be a short little list, but I ended up getting carried away. This entry ended up three times longer than most of my posts, but what can I say. I really like Bakuman.
Number 10: Heishi:
The deputy editor-in-chief, made Editor-in-chief of Shonen Jump. He appears quite regularly and usually gets involved with the debates and arguments that are so common in the office. Why did I pick him as my number ten? Simply put, his reaction to being made editor-in-chief is just fantastic, and for that alone he got bumped up the list enough to make the top ten.
Number 9: Nanamine:
One of Muto Ashirogi’s biggest fans turned manga artist. Once serialized in Jump Nanamine becomes enemy number one for virtually every mangaka in the magazine. His tactics go against everything the magazine stands for and can really only be described as somewhat Fordist. The battle for rankings to try and get rid of Nanamine is very interesting and although I made it very clear I didn’t like the final arc he appeared in, he remains a staple rival for the Ashirogi pair.
Number 8: Miho Azuki:
The story of Miho and Mashiro’s relationship is really the key story line for the entire series. Although I really enjoy the story and the history of this relationship, Miho doesn’t appear that often in the series and when she does it’s usually accompanied by long awkward silences between the two. As an important part of the story and for her efforts to achieve a dream and promise she made, Miho has been made my number 8.
Number 7: Akito Takagi:
One of the main characters and the writer for the Muto Ashirogi partnership, there would be no series without Akito. However, I often found that his character was a little under developed compared to other major characters and this held his ranking down on my list. I didn’t really grow as fond of Akito and several times during the series I started to really dislike him. He has a tendency of going off to work on his own and shutting out everyone close to him in doing so. Overall, he just wasn’t as likable as other characters.
Number 6: Kaya:
In the early part of the series Kaya is simply a legend. She really doesn’t take any shit from anyone. I don’t know how many times she gives Mashiro and Akito a good smack at the start of the series. Later on she becomes a major character in the studio always around tidying and helping the guys with their problems. I quite enjoyed reading the relationship between herself and Akito as well as the friendship she builds with Mashiro as the series goes on. Her presence always made a scene more entertaining throughout the whole series.
Number 5: Akira Hattori:
Muto Ashirogi’s editor as Shonen Jump for most of the series. He’s kind of a funny looking guy, I have no ideas why the artist decided to make his lips the way he did. I quite like how loyal Hattori is to his artists and how much he was willing to go and fight to defend them the many times they caused trouble for the editorial department. Even when he worked with different artists you could see the passion he had for their work and commitment he puts into ensuring they succeed. A true professional in his workplace and the odd time when you see him outside of work, usually having a drink with Yojiro Hattori, his brother, you get another glimpse of just how much he believes in the artist’s he represents.
Number 4: Eiji Nizuma:
Nizuma is so weird, and you can’t help but to be fascinated by him as a result. Another young manga prodigy, Jump wastes no time in giving Nizuma his own series, and before long he has two. Ashirogi identify him early in the series as their main rival and this rivalry continues right until the series ends. His technique for creating manga can only be described as genius and you have to admire the passion he has for his own work. Towards the end of the series when it is revealed just how much manga he was created it is astonishing. A truly fantastic rival for the main characters, I don’t know how many times I stopped reading just to look up and say “Nizuma is so weird”.
Number 3: Shinta Fukuda:
After working with Mashiro as an assistant for Nizuma, Fukuda establishes the so-called ‘Team Fukuda’ made up of all the Jump manga artists who associate with each other. Even if it is only as rivals for most of the time, the existence of the group is great as all the artists encourage each other to succeed. I quite like Fukuda because of how he likes to present himself as such a hardy man’s man but is always the first to jump up to help out his friends. The amount of times he mobilizes Team Fukuda to help each other out is great. Fukuda is a great character and his speech at the end of volume 19 is really good to read and really shows of the kind of person he is.
Number 2: Moritaka Mashiro:
The main character for the series and the narrator, Mashiro is the focus of the story. The change he makes from the shy and timid boy he is at the start of the series to the slightly more outgoing shy and timid man he is at the end is great. Alright, that doesn’t sound like much, but it is. The passion he puts into his work and pure determination to do his best is inspiring. Although he may be the artist for the duo, he quite regularly makes his opinion known about Takagi’s story. He may be the main character for the series, but that doesn’t make him my favourite character by a long shot.
Before I go on to my number one choice, I just want to mention five characters who were up there with the rest, but didn’t quite make my final list;
Aiko Iwase: the middle school rival of Takagi who makes a return to prove that she was better than him then, and is still better than him now.
Sasaki: The editor-in-chief of Shonen Jump who is always there to ensure that Ashirogi aren’t going to get an easy ride through the manga world. He rarely spoke up, but when he does, you know shit’s going down.
Yoshida: One of Jump’s editor’s. I just always found him quite funny in how manipulative he tried to be. I never really understood why such an emphasis was made to cover his face for much of the series though.
Orihara: A long serving assistant for Ashirogi. He was always so easily excited and constantly had something to say. Orihara really made a lot of the studio scenes stand out.
Number 1: Kazuya Hiramaru:
If you have read my previous blog entries, you would have already known that hiramaru is my favourite character in Bakuman. Identified as a manga genius after submitting one of the best one shot story boards to Jump having never read manga before in his life Hiramaru is quickly given a contract to work for Jump. Once finally getting a series Hiramaru uses every excuse he can possibly think off to stop working. The laziness and pure lack of enjoyment of what he is doing is amazing. Hiramaru and Yoshida are truly the perfect team. An artist who will try anything to not work, and an editor who will try every trick in the book to ensure he keeps working. What really made Hiramaru one of my favourite characters is his relationship with Ko Aoki later in the series. The two are almost an older version on Mashiro and Azuki and it is fantastic to read just how awkward he can be. His proposal near the end of the series is hilarious. He plans to propose at the top of the Ferris wheel but then panics and chickens out. After the ride ends he insists they go on again so he can propose. This time he realizes he’s lost the ring and once again panics and, well, pulls a Hiramaru. At this point miss Aoki realizes what happening and encourages his to just ask on a third time around the wheel. I laughed so much during this sequence that I had to keep going back and reading over it.
Let me know what you think of this list and who your favourite character is in Bakuman in the comment space below.