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Aiko Iwase (岩瀬 愛子, Iwase Aiko) was a classmate of Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi during Jr. High. When she appeared with Miyoshi Kaya at Takagi's house after his suspension, she revealed that she liked him, but didn't want him to be a mangaka. She reappears in chapter 60 as a student at To-oh University along with Ko Aoki. She competed against Ashirogi Muto with her first manga, +Natural.


Iwase has short black hair with a small flip at the bottom and considered to be very beautiful. She's really feminine and often wears elegant outfits, however she also wears more casual clothes.


Iwase is an intelligent girl who was an academic achiever in school. She's difficult to get along with due to her strict and high-standard nature thus she leads a rather lonely life. Strong-willed and dutiful, Iwase works hard and stays focused on her goals.

Rival-love with Takagi[]

Pride is what defines the character of Aiko Iwase in Bakuman. She doesn’t take losing very lightly. After noticing that Takagi had overtaking her in the school rankings, she confronts him but not with any animosity towards him. She instead wished for them to encourage each other. From that day onward, she viewed Takagi as her rival but also someone she had feelings for.

She admired how talented he was when it came to academics, that’s why she was highly disappointed when he chose to pursue manga. To her, Takagi was throwing away his immense talent and wasting it on something trivial and childish, a decision she tells him that he’ll regret for the rest of his life. However, he smiles and tells her that she can laugh at him if he does fail to which she responds she couldn’t. Iwase was ignorant to the idea of passion and pursuing something you love as opposed to following a set path.

At university, Iwase continues to question why manga was so important to him as shown when she asks Ko Aoki why she chose to write manga. Aoki gives a similar answer as Takagi; saying she loves Manga, and agrees on setting up a meeting for these two as Iwase wants to show him what she’s become.

When they meet, Iwase offers him her first published novel and tells him he should be capable of writing novels as well and that he’s still wasting his potential on manga. Takagi refuses and tells her novels and manga shouldn’t be compared because both of them have been created by hard working people. While novels have their own audience, manga is also capable of reaching millions of people and thus entertain those millions. This reason alone gives manga meaning.

This time, instead of walking away, Iwase decided to write manga as well. While she still acknowledges Takagi’s talent, what was once admiration became an inferiority complex. She wants to stand shoulder to shoulder with him yet she’s under the impression that no matter what she does, Takagi would just brush it off as nothing special, not to mention her romantic feelings towards him still exist and play a significant in feeding this inferiority complex.

Takagi tells Iwase he would acknowledge her if she’s able to be serialized but only for her skill, he’s still going to marry Miyoshi. She tells him she won’t accept their marriage and provokes him by saying that if he does worse and still gets married, then she’ll still be able to keep her pride. When this does eventually happen with her debut manga +Natural, Takagi is forced to feed her ego. At this point, we can wonder if her love hasn’t actually turned into an obsession created by her ego because he rejected her.

Despite how prideful Iwase is, there’s a moment where you get to question her sense of pride; when she goes through the list of candidates to play the heroine for her anime, she comes across Miho Azuki, Mashiro’s girlfriend, and is then determined to have her play the heroine in attempts to crush her rival’s dreams. This shows how low she’s willing to beat Takagi. After all, it was manga that took away the Takagi who had talent.

However, this all changes when she learns about the condition revolving around PCP; if PCP is unable to go head to head with Crow or +Natural by their 25th chapter then the series will get cancelled. This moment showed a side of Iwase that we didn’t know she had; compassion, albeit not in the traditional sense but compassion nonetheless.

It’s true that she wanted to beat Takagi but she didn’t want just to win because their manga got cancelled. She also realizes that exploiting any little advantage she could get her hands on wouldn’t feel right either and tells Takagi that from now on, she will compete fair and square. Deep down, she enjoys competing with him and tells him that if he loses then it would be a proof of his lack of talent. Takagi takes this to heart and thanks her by giving her the acknowledgement she wanted for years.

A few years since +Natural is published, Iwase gets news that the latest chapter has dropped to 15th place. If it wasn’t for Niizuma doing the art, the manga would have been cancelled long ago. With her editor being passive to suggestions and Niizuma no longer finding enjoyment from the story, she begins to lose confidence in her work as there’s a much bigger gap between her and Takagi. This amplifies when she overhears a group talking about how boring +Natural has gotten. Out of desperation, she tries to call Takagi but doesn't due to her pride. Calling Takagi would make everything she told him earlier all for naught. How humiliating would it be to have to ask her rival for help, someone who finally acknowledged her as his equal. She felt like Takagi, Niizuma, her editor, no one needed her anymore.

When Takagi hears that Iwase has stopped writing, Mashiro decides to talk to her and tells her that if she wants to quit then she should do so. However, he lets her know that Takagi still views her as his greatest rival. Once she opens the door, fellow manga artists from team Fukuda welcome her with open arms. For the first time we see her break out of her bubble but she still stays true to herself and refuses to face them. However this time, maybe something has changed in her. Perhaps this is the moment when she discovers the answer to the question she had from the very beginning; why manga?



Iwase was born on May 8, 1993, in Saitama-ken, Japan. Her past is unknown, however, it seems there are elements within her past that motivated her to be a highly competitive person.


+Natural is a popular serialized manga created by Aiko Iwase and Eiji Niizuma. Because of its popularity, it became an Anime. After Hattori received the final script from Iwase. he suggested to Yujiro that they let Eiji draw it, because it would get Muto Ashirogi fired up to beat it. Being both rivals to Ashirogi Muto, the two successfully published +Natural and it became Jump's new top manga.

Eiji was happy to draw the series, and said that he liked the story a lot and that he could handle drawing two series at once. However, in Chapter 134 Eiji says that +Natural's story is getting boring, evidenced by its decrease to 15th place. Eiji states it is due to its repeated plot of enemies being beaten down by the main characters. As the manga veers on the edge of cancellation, Iwase becomes depressed and is unable to write the next plot, but with encouragement from Takagi, Mashiro and the rest of team Fukada, she is able to get back up and continue writing. In Chapter 149, Miura reveals that +Natural has moved from 16th place to 9th place. It's because of this popularity boost that it is featured on the Jump cover that Eiji's new series, Zombie Gun, was featured in.


  • Manabu is the main character.
  • Mimiya Sayano is the heroine.

Manga plot

A boy discovers he can bend spoons after watching a television program on psychic powers. He then finds he can move small objects with his mind, and everything he tries works out. He forces a chicken egg to hatch, however what hatches is neither human nor monster. The people with these abilities are referred to as a Psycholife.

The series once had a crossover with Eiji Niizuma’s other manga series Crow.

Iwase is barely seen in the rest of the manga after this. At one point she was seen to read the ending of Reversi. In the anime, she was mentioned by Miura and other editors while working hard to improve the story of +Natural. In the anime ending, +Natural got fifth position on rank surveys. However, it is mentioned in the end that +Natural was canceled. Kosugi then becomes her editor and tells her he has plenty of ideas for a new Manga.


Ko Aoki

Iwase attends To-Oh University with Ko Aoki.

Akira Hattori

After being rejected by Takagi, Iwase transferred her romantic feelings onto Akira Hattori (she claimed to have fallen in love with his editing abilities). However, Hattori felt inconfortable and maintained a professional distance until he was later redirected to work with Ashirogi Muto again. Spurned by the fact that no romantic interest ever returned her affections, she stopped pursuing romance altogether and focused on her work to become the best manga author.

Eiji Niizuma

When Hattori stops being her editor, she seems to start going this way with Niizuma until it turns out she was actually trying to convince him to do a crossover between Crow and +Natural. It's still implied afterwards, however, that she might like him more than a co-author.


  • The name Aiko means "love, affection" (愛) (ai) and "child" (子) (ko).
  • Aiko's surname Iwase means "rock, crag" (岩) (iwa) and "swift current, rapids" (瀬) (se).



Aiko as the main character in +Natural


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Moritaka Mashiro + Akito Takagi = Muto Ashirogi | Eiji Niizuma | Yuriko Aoki | Shinta Fukuda | Kazuya Hiramaru | Takuro Nakai | Aiko Iwase | Shoyo Takahama | Shun Shiratori | Toru Nanamine | Koji Makaino | Mikihiko Azuma | Nobuhiro Mashiro | Kisaku Arai | Ryu Shizuka | Hino Kunimi | Ikiki Kajiwara | Kyoichi Murasaki | Kyotaro Hibiki | Shigure Yanagi | Shun Hanshaki


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Miyuki Haruno Azuki | Miho Azuki | Mina Azuki

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Masahiro Mashiro | Kayoko Mashiro | Moritaka Mashiro | Nobuhiro Mashiro | Fumi Mashiro

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Yosshi Miyoshi | Kaya Miyoshi

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Akito Takagi's Father | Akito Takagi's Mother | Akito Takagi | Akito Takagi's Brother | Kaya Miyoshi


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