May 11, 2012

Bento Bako Bonus: Bakuman: The End

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Written by: Drew
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Publisher: Shonen Jump Alpha (Viz Media)
Writer: Tsugumi Ohba
Artist: Takeshi Obata

[Previous Bakuman reviews.]

***Warning! Spoilers In The Article***

So we thought it was coming soon, but it snuck up on us seemingly out of nowhere, as it was abruptly announced that Bakuman would wrap up in Japan a few weeks ago, causing it to finish here in the May 7th issue of Shonen Jump Alpha.

So how was it? I think for fans of Bakuman it wraps everything up the way they wanted it.

By this point in the manga, our duo Mashiro and Takagi have it all. Their manga Reversi is about to air as an anime series, their editor has let them end the manga and move on to a new one so it doesn’t jump-the-shark, and they’ve finally become the number one manga for the magazine. Now all that remains is one key element: the Reversi anime has to air with Mashiro’s long time crush Miho doing the voice of the female lead. Once this happens, his childhood promise of her doing a voice in an anime based off his manga will be complete, and their dreams will have been reached. And more importantly, with their dreams fulfilled, they can finally see each other in person again and get married.

So this whole final chapter is about that moment of victory, so to speak. Reversi airs, Miho’s character speaks, and Mashiro pulls up in a new car to finally see Miho in person and fulfill their destiny. Miho comes out and the two drive off, memory lane flooding their minds, and stop in front of Miho’s old house where they made their promise long ago. While looking at the house, Mashiro is sweating bullets, because he doesn’t know how to pop the question. Their eyes meet, it all becomes clear, and they kiss, finally. Bam! Perfect ending. Yes, we don’t get to see the wedding, etc., but I think this is where it should end. This is “love destined to be,” you know they’re gonna get married and be OK, and so this sweet moment wraps everything up for the emotional arc of these characters.

Ohba’s writing is as per usual fantastic. True, this series didn’t have the twists and turns of his time on Death Note, but that’s not the type of story it is anyway. It was a story about achieving dreams, and they did. Obata’s art looks great, too, with the final “kiss” moment receiving a nice sprawling spread, with all the right emotional touches.

Bakuman wrapped up in the May 7th issue of Shonen Jump Alpha; collected versions are also available from Viz in both print and digital. The title will be replaced by Ruroni Kenshin Reboot, which starts in the next issue out 05/21/2012.

Drew McCabe



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