Mashiro Moritaka (真城 最高, Mashiro Moritaka) is the main protagonist of the series. He is often called Taka or Saikō (サイコー) by Takagi, whom he calls Shujin, as they have alternate ways of reading their names. Mashiro's dreams are to make a successful manga with an anime, so he can marry Miho Azuki, who would star as the heroine in the anime, and change Weekly Shōnen Jump. He creates manga with his classmate, and best friend Akito Takagi, under the pen name Ashirogi Muto, and follows the footsteps of his late Mangaka uncle, Nobuhiro Mashiro.
Mashiro's family consists of his manga-ka (manga artist) uncle Nobuhiro Mashiro, his mother, father (though never shown), and grandfather. His uncle died from overwork, which is why his mother was against him becoming a mangaka.
When Mashiro is a gifted artist, he is highly dissatisfied with his drawings.
Mashiro is a medium sized and relatively skinny character. He has blue hair, with a cowlick at the top of his head. He also has blue eyes. The shade of blue used for his hair changes from light blue to dark blue with light blue reflections.
He is extremely gifted as a manga artist even in the beginning, but is often displeased with his drawings. Over time his skill becomes better with the help of his rival mangaka, Niizuma. He shares friendly rivalries with his top competitors Niizuma, Fukuda, and Hiramaru. His disposition is always positive and often causes him to be indecisive.
With the help of his best friend Akito Takagi, who writes the stories, they both dream of getting a popular manga. Their relationship is solid, often thinking on the same wavelength. Mashiro is often amazed at Takagi's story plots. In the beginning of the story, Takagi respects Mashiro's drawing and wants only him to draw for his manga, this causes him to punch a classmate who insulted Mashiro's drawing skill.
His relationship with his fiancé, Azuki Miho is quite interesting. He deeply loves her as she does back. However he is incredibly shy when around her in person, and stubborn through their texts. Because of the conditions in order for them to be married, he is determined to get a popular manga that'll become an anime so they can realize their dreams and finally be married.
Legacy of a Mangaka and Mashiro's BeginningWhen Mashiro was young, his uncle, Nobuhiro Mashiro, was a somewhat infamous mangaka. Because of this he developed an interest in drawing mangas. His skill could be seen back as far as the 4th grade where he drew a poster for Bird Week. In his 5th grade year he showed great knowledge about mangaka tools. Some time in between Elementary and Middle school his uncle passed away due to overexhaustion. In his 6th grade year he first met Azuki Miho at a local swim meet.
Making a Manga with Takagi
The story begins with Moritaka Mashiro, a normal high school student with an amazing talent for drawing. In class, he draws the girl who he's in love with, Miho Azuki, in his math book. Unfortunately, he forgets it at school and rushes back, only to find that it is in the possession of Akito Takagi, the boy who gets the top grades in school. When Mashiro demands for it back, Takagi asks him if they want to make a manga together because Mashiro is a good artist. Mashiro declines Takagi possibly because of his Mangaka uncle. He remembered his uncle only published one gag story before he died. Also, his uncle wrote letters to the girl he loved for many years and was thinking of proposing to her once, but then, she got engaged.
Then, Takagi calls Mashiro, asking him to go to Azuki's house. Upon reaching Azuki’s home, Takagi asks if it was true that she wanted to be a voice actor. Then they tell her about their dreams to become Manga-kas. Azuki replies by saying she wants to become a voice actor. However, Mashiro accidentally asks if Azuki will marry him, thinking of his uncle. Azuki accepts, but only if they accomplish their dreams.
The next day, Takagi walks with Mashiro on the way to school and asks him if his uncle was Kawaguchi Taro. Mashiro replies that Taro was just his pen name and his real name was Mashiro Nobuhiro. He died a while back; his parents believe he overworked but Mashiro says he commit suicide. Mashiro backs it up by saying he never married and was jobless for many years.
Teaming up with Takagi
In the exams, Mashiro can't think properly and asks if he can go to the nurse's office. Then Takagi also goes to the nurse. Upon seeing Takagi, Mashiro says he's been thinking of Azuki. On the roof, Takagi says that he picked him to be the artist for his manga not for his drawing skills, but for his personality. Takagi says that people like Azuki are smart because they're sensible. She has a good personality (graceful and well-mannered) rather than Iwase (another girl) who has good grades but is very arrogant. To this, Mashiro agrees to work with him because they think alike but Takagi asks if his parents are okay with this. His mom at first, does not approve but reluctantly agrees because his father doesn't mind him being a manga-ka. Then Mashiro's grandpa gives him his uncle Nobuhiro's keys for his manga studio. Takagi and Mashiro find supplies, action figures, magazines and manuscripts in his uncle's studio. Takagi takes out some manuscripts that look like drafts. Mashiro explains that you have to draw a na-me (draft with words and pictures) for the artist, rather than just writing a script. The artist will then change it and give it to an editor.
First Steps Towards Manga and Azuki’s Mom
Takagi and Mashiro both want to draw a masculine manga (not something weak or shojo). Takagi asks if he can study some of his uncle's na-mes. Mashiro's goal is to make an anime before they’re 18 for Azuki. Mashiro sees that his uncle was working extremely hard and apologizes to his dad for believing his uncle commit suicide. The determination of his uncle persuades Mashiro to work full-heartedly; for manga and Azuki.
Mashiro finds the letters his uncle wrote to the girl he loved in a closet full of manuscripts. The last letter says that she is going to get married and that she won't write anymore after the wedding so she apologizes. Then, they find out that the girl was Azuki's mom. Takagi and Mashiro meet Azuki's mom. They tell her they are sorry for reading her letters. Then Azuki's mom admits loving Mashiro's uncle but she was too embarrassed to say anything to Nobuhiro. She believes his uncle's gag story was based on how Kawaguchi Taro felt. Mashiro tells Azuki's mom that he doesn't want Azuki to know about the letters between his uncle and her.
Mashiro has been practicing to draw using some manga pens and falls asleep in the exams. He explains the three different kinds of pens he has used.
G Pens: The pen most manga-kas use. They’re very hard to use because the lines aren't consistent enough.
Kabura Pens: (What his uncle used) They make very good lines but make the drawings have no flavor. However, they are good for backgrounds.
Maru Pens: Good for very thin lines.
He also says that drawing still figures are easy but it's hard to make movement, expressions, and composition. Mashiro is amazed how his uncle, who didn't use G pens or white-out, became a pro in three years. For the sake of manga, Mashiro has decided to go to Yakusa North High School because it isn't the best school so he will have more time to draw.
Drawing a Manga for Jump
One time as they are Reading Shonen Jump they find Niizuma Eiji, who won the 2nd prize for the Tezuka Award at the age of 15. He's praised for his artwork by the judges. Back in school, they remember a kid in their class called Ishizawa who loves drawing chibi-style girls. Mashiro says once you win an award, you will get an editor. Even if you lose, an editor might like it and still accept you. However, their editors are chosen for them, so they might be good or bad. His uncle once said a really good editor constantly rejected a newbie artist's work. He says because of this, it led the artist to fame.
Takagi and Mashiro decide to create a manuscript for Shonen Jump to see what their editor's opinion is. On their way to his uncle's studio, Mashiro sees Azuki. Mashiro gets really shy and looks down whilst Azuki hides behind her mom. However when they both turned back and saw each other, Mashiro felt as if they really were on the same wavelength.
Takagi gives him a manuscript called Double Earth: The Two Earths. It’s about how the Earth we believe is reality are really just clones of the people on the real Earth. ‘’“We were experimented, and thanks to us, there is no war or pollution on the real Earth”’’. Mashiro thinks it's amazing and asks if they want to publish it for Jump. Takagi has another idea called Sunglass Pitcher. It's about a student who gets hit by a baseball and goes blind but appears ten years later and wins a game with a fastball. It turns out he worked hard with his father and when everyone realizes he's blind, he has to fight against the baseball association and his rivals in order to pitch. However, both agree that Two Earths was more interesting and decide to write Two Earths for Jump by the end of Summer Vacation.
During this time Miyoshi Kaya, Azuki's best friend at school, wants to talk with Takagi. She's angry because she told Takagi what Azuki wanted to be when she grew up. Takagi then asked Azuki if it was true, even though he told Miyoshi that he wouldn't mention it to anyone. When Miyoshi is leaving he says that he wants to 'talk' with her leading her to actually believe he is hitting on her. Miyoshi goes back to Azuki. Azuki thinks Takagi likes Miyoshi because she's cute, unlike Iwase whose stuck-up. Miyoshi also wants to find out who Azuki likes. She asks Azuki but she gets really embarrassed and says she's really self conscious and blushes when she sees boys.
Meanwhile, Takagi and Mashiro are working really hard on their manga. They finish on 28/08/2008. They decide to bring over the manuscript to Shueisha (Manga Company) on the next day. Also, Niizuma Eiji's manga Large Bander, which got 2nd for the Tezuka Award, gets published into Jump.
Mashiro and Takagi make a one-shot (50-page first chapter), Money and Intelligence for Akamaru Jump, which eventually gets published to the magazine. It is their first manga to be published. Each of the magazine's stories are rated and they get first place in the early results, but they only get third place in the final (real deal) results.
After the drop in the ranking for the manga, Mashiro and Takagi decide to make a manga that is more mainstream (current trend), as opposed to going for a cult hit.
Editing Crow Chapter 5
While Takagi is creating an idea for a more mainstream manga, Mashiro agrees to work for Niizuma Eiji for the summer. He meets Nakai and Fukuda while working there. Mashiro and Fukuda help Eiji with creating a more interesting plot, and discuss popularity in Jump. After learning both Eiji and Fukuda use characters they made up when they were kids for their stories Mashiro quits, wanting to find inspiration in what he drew when he was younger.
After learning that Takagi hasn't really been working on a new story, he begins to wonder about Takagi's conviction. Mashiro remains silent until the end of the summer, and breaks off his partnership with Takagi. Unbeknownst to both of them they are both thinking of writing a detective story.
Mashiro later learns this from Takagi on the way to school and that Hattori was intending to show them that they were a perfect team by tricking them into both entering a story in the Golden Future Cup. Mashiro then decides to turn the tables on Hattori, by making him believe that they are both working on their stories while he and Takagi are really working together.
Golden Future Cup
Mashiro wants to get Detective trap serialized so Hattori says if they want to get serialized so bad, to enter the Golden Future Cup and write 1 chapter of Detective Trap every 2 weeks.
New Year's PartyAt the New Year's Party, Mashiro and Takagi are introduced to many mangakas. Some of them are new artists just like Mashiro , for example Hiyamaru and Arai (Who made Otters11 and Cheese Okaki respectively).
After dinner and bingo, Mashiro says to a board member that his goal is to make a popular manga that can get number one, unlike his uncle.
Detective Trap's Serialization
Moritaka has been working extremely hard while Detective Trap is being serialized. He has been getting less and less sleep and he finally collapses. He was taken to the hospital after that. He is diagnosed with a liver infection which requires surgery. Mashiro wants to keep working while he is in the hospital so that the Trap won't have to go on hiatus, whereas everyone else believes that his first priority should be to get better. Mashiro tries to convince Takagi to bring him his materials, but Takagi decides to call Azuki to see if she can convince him to stop working. Azuki goes to the hospital the next day and begins talking to Mashiro from outside his room.
Azuki asks which is more important; manga or her. Mashiro says manga. He is determined to continue drawing manga in the hospital, even though he is not allowed to until his health improves. Eiji, Takagi and Mashiro's mom go to the hospital. Once they leave, their editor comes in and requests him to stop. He says the head has put them both on hiatus. However, when he comes in, he says he will be putting them on hiatus till they graduate from high school (even after they come out of hospital) because of his uncle who died from working too hard on manga.
Two of Me, Hitman10, and Future Watch
Two of Me, Hitman10, and Future Watch are all stories that Takagi and Mashiro make up after the cancellation of Detective Trap. Hitman10 and Two of Me are two series they write for their editor; one of them a comedy and the other one serious. Miura, their editor, favored gag manga, and wants them to write a comedy; Takagi is reluctant because comedy isn't his strong point. Fearing that Miura would automatically pick the comedy, Takagi and Mashiro also decide to make a one shot, Future Watch, and submit it for Manga Treasure without letting Miura know.
When they turn in the two manga, Two of Me and Hitman10, their editor Miura, as they feared, chose the comedy manga. Miura also found Future Watch as an entry for Treasure which led to him arguing with the pair. Eventually Miura would let Future Watch be sent to Treasure as he was confident that Hitman10 would still do better. Miura later calls them for their weekly meeting but avoids mentioning Future Watch and Treasure. Mashiro and Takagi both surmise that Future Watch had actually done well. Miura later tells them that due to the quality of the works the editors decided to run both Future Watch and Hitman10 as one-shots, and whichever did better would be serialized. Both Takagi and Mashiro thought Furture Watch would do really well. However, the result was not exactly what they had wanted; although Future Watch ranked ahead of Hitman10 it was still only to achieve 9th place in the reader surveys.
The two then met with Miura, who collected tons of data that proved comedy was a more stable manga choice because it held more stable rankings even when not highly placed. Takagi agreed with the presented data but Mashiro still argued against doing a comedy as he thought Takagi was more suited to darker mangas. This led to another argument in which Miura stated that they should split up, enraging Takagi. However once they realize how serious Miura was they forgave him and decide to make a comedy manga, however they did not want to do Hitman10. This lead to the creation of Run, Daihatsu Tanto!
Run, Daihatsu Tanto
A gag manga
Perfect Crime Party
Short-formed as "PCP", it is a story created through the combined efforts of Takagi and Mashiro. It is the story about a group of elementary school kids that has a unique hobby of committing minor but "Perfect Crimes". In order to get inspiration for this story, Mashiro and Takagi even tried out the pranks in real-life, attempting to recreate the emotions and situation of the characters themselves. PCP managed to get serialized, and had maintained its status as a "Popular Manga" for more than a year. This series also brought Ashirogi Muto more fame and popularity than they ever got, turning these two young mangaka's into true pros. However, despite PCP's major popularity, it was deemed unsuitable for becoming an anime, as its contents seems to be provoke its viewers to commit crimes, even though it was not the original intention of its authors.
Perfect Crime Party was used as a weapon for the Ashirogi Muto duo to defeat Tozu Nanamine's manga, "What is Required", and it is their desire to end his series within 10 weeks. PCP succesfully defends against Nanimine's manga, after his plan to use 50 people to create his manga backfires. However at the New Years party Nanamine shows up only to tell Ashirogi Muto that he will return to defeat them in the future.
Love Fiesta is a romance one shot created by Moritaka Mashiro ( he's using his pen name though). He wanted to do a one shot because he wanted to get another sereis beceause PCP could not get a anime. Mashiro told Takagi that he wanted to do it alone. 5 days later he had no ideas at all. He was thinking about how Fukuda loved bikes so be made a bike manga and how Shun loved his dog and he made Rabuta & Peace. He was spaced out all day until he realized what he loved most. Azuki. Stuck on ideas for his love manga Mashiro calls Azuki. Though shy at first, he explains that his rivaling Eiji and Iwase. Azuki reveals that she fell in love with him at first sight and tells him that she'll assist him in any way to make his love story.
- (To Akito Takagi) "You won't become a mangaka. The only ones who make it are a tiny percentage of those with talent, True Geniuses; the other percent are just... Gamblers."" 
- (To Akira Hattori) "I mean if we make a manuscript with an eye towards serialization and it's good enough can we get serialized?"
- (To Miho Azuki) "How long... How long will you wait for me?" 
- (To Toru Nanamine) "Manga that's born from people taking responsibility for their own work, banging their head in frustration, feeling cornered, and like they want to escape, and then using that extreme situation, mental ability, stamina, and panic to create... would never lose to some soul-less manga that's just made up of other people's ideas without any kind of resolve!"
Notes & Trivia
- Moritaka occasionally sits in the same position as L Lawliet, a character from the manga Death Note, which was also created by Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba.
- Moritaka states that his favorite manga is Tomorrow's Joe.
- Moritaka wears Nike brand sneakers. He wears the Air Force 1 model. 
- He ranked 2nd in the Weekly Shonen Jump's popularity character poll.
- Moritaka could be compared to Takeshi Obata, the illustrator for Bakuman partnered with Tsugumi Ohba.
- He among Akito Takagi made a cameo in To Aru Majutsu no Index episode 10 walking near Accelerator.
Articles & References
- ↑ Bakuman Chapter 1, page 20
- ↑ Bakuman Chapter 1, page 51 - 52
- ↑ Translation: "So, after those dreams have come true, will you marry me!?!"
- ↑ (Bakuman chapter 11, page 19)
- ↑ Bakuman chapter 14, page 16
- ↑ Bakuman Volume 3, Chapter 19, Page 7
|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|