Azuma was revealed to have been Taro Kawaguchi's final assistant shortly before the mangaka was signed off from Jump. He was largely influenced by his employer's hardworking and high-spirited attitude, and became determined to succeed Kawaguchi upon the latter's death.
Ten years ago, Azuma was serialized in "Shonen Three" and worked with editor Heishi and then-assistant Arai, but was cancelled very quickly. His manga only had panty-shots and artwork, lacking completely in story and plot.
Veteran Author Bonanza
Azuma brought his one-shot manga, Panty-Flash Fight, to Shonen Jump as a walk-in, ignored by Miura for his age, but noticed by Akira Hattori for his manga. This ignites an argument among the editors, and eventually among Mashiro and Takagi, over his serialization at his age. Eventually, Heishi decides to test it out as a one-shot, which takes first place in its issue. This more than meets the prerequisite for serialization, and the editors decide to serialize it, alongside one-shots by Nangoku, Yanagi, and Arai.
Especially notable to Mashiro is that Azuma is the same age as what a living Taro Kawaguchi would be in the present year, influencing his decision to support the veteran mangaka.
After the first veteran author successes, several other veteran mangaka follow his lead and submit ghostwritten stories supported by Nanamine, causing further uproar among the editorial department.
When Ashirogi Muto finds out about Nanamine's company and tell Hattori, he comes to visit Azuma. Azuma confesses and tells Hattori about his past with Taro Kawaguchi, being his last assistant. He brings a message for Ashirogi Muto, that they will both be cheering on them.
Hattori persistently encourages Azuma to remain a mangaka, and he finally agrees after Hattori points out the expertise of his drawings. Together, they come up with Hirapara Paradise, a one-shot that was used as an emergency replacement for Hiramaru who broke his hip in excitement of Ko Aoki's promise to call him "Kazu-tan". The one-shot hit third place in the eleventh issue of Jump, beating out Nanamine and Shinjitsu Corporation. With this, Azuma claims that he is satisfied with his career and can finally "visit Taro Kawaguchi's grave with my head held high."
|All Characters |
|Shōnen Jump / Shōnen Jack|
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
|Family / Friends / Classmates|