Takuro Nakai is a Mangaka under Shueisha. For the latter of his career, he maintained a living as a assistant to other Mangakas. He first appeared to assist in Eiji Niizuma's Crow. Afterwards, he partnered with Yuriko Aoki to co-publish Hideout Door. After a short stint assisting in Shoyo Takahama's Business Boy Kenichi, he left Shueisha until he was hired by Toru Nanamine to directly compete against Muto Ashirogi; he later returned to Shueisha as an assistant to draw Kazuya Hiramaru's You Can't Reach Me.
Personality & Character
Nakai is a gifted, but desperate and lonely middled-aged (33 years old when first introduced) manga assistant. For many years, he wanted to become an accomplished mangaka and he dreamed of working on a successful manga series. Unfortunately, he never acted upon his ambitions until experiencing the fiery passions of Muto Ashirogi. No longer able to stand by and see younger mangakas succeed him, he mustered his strength to focus on getting published and directly compete with his mangaka peers. Opportunity and optimistism would rise when he met Yuriko Aoki.
Nakai teamed up with Aoki to help propel her manga series, Hideout Door, to compete with her peers; Nakai saw Aoki as his one-shot ticket to achieving all his goals in life: a chance to work closely with a talented beauty, possibly ending his loneliness, and also a chance to get his art published. However, his hopes was dashed after Aoki replaced him with another artist. In his desperation to prove his art is good, he would draw outside her apartment whenever he had time, enduring the harsh cold and bullying from street punks. After much tenacity, to his joy, Aoki taken him back, but the series was eventually canceled and it propelled him to darker places of anger, resentment, jealousy, and sadness. However, his hopes would be renewed again after he was assigned to work on Shoyo Takahama's Business Boy Kenichi.
It was there that he quickly developed feelings for fellow assistant, Natsumi Kato. Being a man with little experience with women and desperate need to be appreciated, he misread Kato's friendly conversations as her showing interest in him. His desperation for love, recognition, validation, and respect cumulated towards his downfall. When Aoki requested Nakai to help her in her new series, Season of Green Leaves, Nakai became hubris and made an unreasonable demand: Aoki would become his girlfriend. Nakai was shocked when Aoki responded to his demand with a hard slap to his face. Not able to see the error of his ways, he only saw Aoki as the problem and felt Kato would be better suited for him. However, he was also rejected by Kato when he tried to ask her out on a date. With Business Boy Kenichi ending, Nakai found himself alone again.
Nakai was desperate to rebound with Aoki by offering his services to her, but she could never accept Nakai ever again. It was his lowest moment in life (35 years old, shattered dreams, and alienated everyone in his life) that he realized that he made himself despicable in the eyes of his peers. Embarrassed and ashamed over his un-professional behavior, he left Tokyo for his country village. However, before he left, his fellow mangakas (including Aoki), caught up with him and bid him farewell, showing there are no harsh feelings between each other. While it may have seemed Nakai saw the error of his ways, he actually became even worse after returning home.
Without a career, no job, and no prospects, Nakai drowned his days at home, eating and drinking his woes away with TV. Even though obese, he gained additional weight as he ate through is woes. His own mother lost respect for him, but hope would rise from an unexpected call from the up-and-coming star rookie, Toru Nanamine, to work on his new manga series, What is Required. Nanamine recognized Nakai's art skills and gave him command over his team of assistants and offered him unlimited pizza (his favorite) to gain his membership. Seeing this as a opportunity to rise from obscurity and compete with his peers again, he took the deal and helped Nanamine compete against Muto Ashirogi.
Although Nakai helped bring popularity and acclaim to What is Required, Nakai wasn't liked by his assistant peers. Aside from his newfound disgusting eating habits, he would always show favoritism toward the women (and even more based on their beauty) and disdain against the men in Nanamine's team. When he found out that Nanamine was using 50 people to help realize his manga, Nakai turned a blind-eye to his own feelings as a professional mangaka in order to maintain his job. However, Nanamine's schemes eventually failed and Nakai became jobless again.
After leaving Nanamine, his desperation and loneliness for women has caused him to stoop to lower levels and was easily tricked by attractive female pranksters. He would blame Aoki as the cause for his series of failures, but after his encounter with Kazuya Hiramaru, they both bonded and he now works under Kazuya as an assistant. Once again, Kazuya's manager uses his manipulation powers to motivate the duo to work hard, under the promise to show him the necessary skills to gain respect and admiration from women. It's unknown did he truly had the determination to change himself.
Skills & Abilities
Nakai is a skilled artist; he's best known for his backgrounds, angles, and panchira shots. His work won him a monthly award nearly a decade ago. While helping Aoki in her manga project(s), he refined his character drawing skills to a higher level. Even in the coldest conditions, he proved he's capable of maintaining a high level of quality art work.
Nakai is an overweight man with short black hair and small black eyes. While occasionally well-dressed, he is often wearing a white shirt (with optional towel over his neck) and wide blue pants ( it is unclear whether it is jeans or sweats). Due to his depression, he's gained anywhere between 20-50 pounds and continues to wear his original clothes when he clearly no longer fits in them. It is noted that he shaves off his stubble whenever he sees a pretty girl.
Nakai was born from a farm village, outside of Tokyo. While not explained, his mother is only present in his life and his father is deceased. At some point, Nakai developed his manga skills and began working for Shueisha as a manga assistant. Over the years, Nakai continued to serve as a assistant to many manga artists; he had his own aspirations in creating a successful manga, but didn't have the resolve to realize it as he felt other mangakas were superior to his abilities.
Assisting Crow & Realizing One's Ambition
Shueisha would later assign Nakai to assist Nizuma for his Crow series. Aside from himself, he was partnered with Shinta Fukuda and Moritaka Mashiro (half the team of Muto Ashirogi). Inspired by their youthful aspirations and support from his fellow mangakas, Nakai realized at his advanced age, it's now or never to become a published mangaka. Everyone assisting in Nizuma's Crow vowed to return with a great series to compete with each other.
Golden Future Cup & Protest Against Koogy
Nakai's dreams and ambitions would come true when he was partnered with Yuriko Aoki. Aoki recruited Nakai's art skills to develop her up-and-coming fantasy one-shot manga, Hideout Door; it's Aoki's and Nakai's official entry to Shueisha's Golden Future Cup manga competition. Nakai did the drawings and Aoki did the story. Everyone was amazed at how good Nakai's backgrounds were.
Things would become dicey as fellow mangakas called each other for a mutual meeting about Koogy's entry into the cup. All the artists felt cheated as Koogy was manipulating the votes from his beloved fans to alter the cup in his favor. While Nakai was less determined than his fellow mangakas, he followed Fukuda's complaint about the unfairness of Koogy's entry. However, just as tensions rose, Mashiro believed so long as they presented an interesting story, they would be on top. This statement temporarily quelled everyone's problem against Koogy. Unwilling to lose and willing to show each other's progress in their projects, Aoki and Nakai met at Nizuma's studio to compare notes.
When comparing each other's work, Nakai was shocked at the level of story and art skills his youthful peers had achieved. While Nakai was nervous about winning the cup, Aoki was far more confident that her story doesn't require tweaking and will defeat all the men in the cup. Supporting Aoki's belief in their work, he was quick to agree with her. He escorted Aoki to the train station as the rest of the mangakas split off to revise their own works.
Aoki's Rejection & Acceptance
Nakai was heartbroken when Aoki decided to let him go for another artist, Makaino Koji. She told him that his drawings couldn't convey the world in her story. However, Nakai was determined to prove his worth and told her he'll prove his skills over her window. For the next several nights, Nakai would sit over a picnic table, over her court yard, to continuously refine his craft. All in effort to show her that he would be a better assistant.
Because it was winter, Fukuda was concerned over Nakai's health and tried to bring him back, but not even the deadly cold could deter him. He drew whenever he had the free time while getting warnings from Aoki to stop, but he continues through all weather conditions. However, things would take a turn on his side.
During a blizzard storm, Nakai continued to draw and submit his work to Aoki. Nakai would attract the violent intentions of street punks; he desperately protected his drawings and his hands so he can continue to draw. Worried that Nakai will die if he continues, Fukuda, Takagi, Mashiro, and Miyoshi went to see him and found Aoki holding an umbrella over him. She admitted that she only blamed their lack of serialization on him and (to his joy) agreed to work with him again.
Trap's Suspension & Manga Boycott
Mashiro would later suffer illness due to over-working himself and suffering from a liver condition. Even though hospitalized and weak, he continued to push through manuscripts for Trap. However, the chief editor, Hisashi Sasaki, was affected by Kawaguchi Taro's death (Mashiro's Uncle, who died of over-working himself to death) and decided to not only suspend Trap, but maintain suspension until Muto Ashirogi graduates from high school.
When news of Mashiro's health and suspension came, nobody felt the situation was acceptable. Aoki, Fukuda, Hiramaru, and Niizuma were unhappy with the situation and they all met and agreed to boycott their mangas until Trap is reinstated. Throughout all of this, Nakai had a relative neutral stand about the matter as he sympathized with Mashiro, but also concerned over gaining disfavor with Jump and potentially affecting his job. He only sided with his fellow mangakas by a combination of peer pressure and not wanting to be disliked by Aoki.
Nakai and his fellow mangka rivals all met with their editors to announce they're boycotting their work until Trap was reinstated. While the editors weren't happy with the decision, they were in agreement with their mangakas. When the concern of getting paid over their boycott, Nakai was worried as he's financially strapped, but it was quickly relieved when Niizuma agreed to cover their financial losses (due to his great wealth and success with Crow).
During their week boycotting, Nakai took the spare time to improve his manuscript. The boycott caused a storm of upset readers that all of their mangas have been halted. Feeling guilty to cause so much trouble for everyone, Mashiro convinced his peers to return to work and they reluctantly agreed to his request. Ultimately, the chief allowed Trap to be reinstated after Mashiro recovered from the hospital.
Hideout Door's Cancellation & New Opportunities
Eventually, Hideout Door was fated to be cancelled due to low popularity. During a meeting with the editor, Aoki didn't respond well to the criticism of her work. She had a stubborn view of how her story should be presented and would rather end the story on her terms than to affect her vision. When asked for his opinion, Nakai naturally expressed his unwillingness to let the series end like this; Aoki sarcastically remarked they could do the story without her, only to make it clear to the readers it's not her work. Nakai jumped at the chance to try, but he didn't realize it was all mentioned in jest.After the series was cancelled, Nakai was deeply saddened and immediately went on a sobbing rampage, tossing whatever he could across the studio. As the weeks toward its forced ending, Nakai became increasingly depressed. Not too long after Hideout Door's cancellation, he is picked up by Shoyo Takahama to work on his manga, Business Boy Kenichi
Run-Down with Business Boy Kenichi & Disgraceful Exit
During Nakai's time working on Business Boy Kenichi, he quickly took a liking to Kato. Although he never once had a relationship, he felt luck was on his side for once with a new job and new love interest. Not long, Aoki began a new ecchi series, Season of Green Leaves and requested Nakai's assistance. Feeling over-confident, he wondered which will be a better situation: hooking up with Aoki by working with her or continue working with Kato.
Both Nakai and Aoki later to meet at a restaurant and gave her an ultimatum: if she wants him to draw for her, she must be his girlfriend. Out of disgust, she slapped him in the face and said that he's the most disgusting person she had ever met. Seeing Aoki as the problem and not himself, he felt he was better off with Kato. Unfortunately, offending Aoki would jump-start his misfortune.
In time, Kenichi's ratings began plummeting. Worried he'll never get to work with Kato any longer, he tries to subtly ask Kato to date him, but she (in a nervous reaction) said that she prefers younger men and doesn't want anything romanctic with him. Soon to be without a job and no love interest, he decided to crawl back to Aoki.
Realizing that Aoki needs new assistants for her manga, he called her and begged her to let him draw for her. Unfortunately she tells him that he's calling only because he got dumped by Kato. Aoki refused to let him draw for her and will only consider female artists from now on.
Afterwards, he refused to show up to work. Takahama calls him and found out that he's quitting manga and is returning home. After Takahama calls Mashiro, Mashiro called Nakai, wondering why he's quitting. Nakai says that he's disgusted at himself for using his drawing skills for the wrong reasons. The next day, Mashiro tried to stop him in person, but he's dead set on leaving. As he departs, Fukuda and Aoki are outside the train station. Aoki thanked him for his work with her. He apologized for his actions and promptly leaves; Fukuda shouted and asked if he's going to end things like this. Tear struck, he departed without another word.
Descent at Home & Opportunity with Nanamine Tooru
For a while, Nakai was in his hometown, back in Akita. Disgraced and without any prospects, Nakai became a sloth and a glutton; he often spend his days eating, watching TV, and drinking his woes away. Mooching off on his mother and only gaining weight, his mother called him pathetic as he wasted his life away.
In the interim, Nakai (unbeknownst to him) was mentioned by Iwase, who was hoping he might be the artist for her oneshot for the Super Leaders' Love Fest when she is displeased by a busty character design drawn by the artist she worked with, Happongi. Miura quickly tells her that Nakai gave up on manga because he's forty years old already and because "he had some sort of female trouble."
In a depressive state of nothingness, Nakai was unexpectedly sought out and recruited by Nanamine Tooru. Nanamine convinced him to go back to the world of manga and help him develop What is Required. He was reluctant at first, but after being bribed with an unlimited pizza budget and the position of team lead swayed his decision. It was further beneficial by the presence of five other female assistants. Nakai is shown to largely favor those female assistants over the male ones, treating them considerably better and with a side motivation to defeat Aoki Ko.
In the current battle between Ashirogi Muto and Nanamine, Nakai is revealed to be Nanamine's secret weapon, easily compensating for any deficiencies in art that Nanamine may have suffered previously. Nakai has gotten even more obese than before, frequently ordering pizzas through using Nanamine's money, a privilege offered through his position as Chief Assistant.
One night, as he runs out of money to order pizza, Nakai knocks on Nanamine's door requesting more money. Hearing no response, Nakai realizes the truth of where Nanamine gets his ideas for manga from. He praises Nanamine openly, feeling conflicted for a moment before he decides to come to terms with it.
Nakai dresses up in a suit to greet Aoki Ko, only to be utterly depressed when he finds out that she is dating Hiramaru. He requests for all the male assistants to be removed, much to Nanamine's irritation. Nanamine's plummeting rankings in Shueisha causes Nakai to worry about his current lifestyle. He begins to plot to talk to Nanamine's online helpers. He jams the photocopier and asks the online people to help make great ideas for the manga. He tells them about their 16th ranking and the online group begins to dissipate because he affirmed Nanamine's deceit to them. This caused him to be fired by Nanamine.
At the 2016 New Year's party, Eiji figures that Nakai has been working with Nanamine. Fukuda calls him but Nakai hangs up the phone. Mashiro calls Nanamine and finds out that Nakai has been at Shibuya, drawing picture of women. When forced to make a decision to follow a beautiful woman or become an assistant for Fukuda's Road Racer Giri, Nakai chooses the former, even ignoring Mashiro's pleas to have him return to the world of manga. It is later revealed that she invited him over a bet over whether or not he would come. Crushed, he fled to a bar but was soon kicked out. Nakai headed over to Aoki's apartment in drunken rage and Hiramaru, overhearing Nakai, rushes over to defend her, with minimal success as Nakai's tough build effortlessly allows him to defeat Hiramaru. When Fukuda, Mashiro, and Takagi rush over to help Hiramaru, Hiramaru demands that he be allowed to defeat Nakai. Aoki rushes outside and demonstrates prominent Shonen attitude by allowing Nakai to hit her. Nakai stops and upon hearing Hiramaru's worries over losing his popularity and youth, he becomes Hiramaru's assistant.
Ending of Crow & Unknown Fate
Niizuma's declaration to end Crow does not have a direct effect on Nakai, as Nakai was not present when he said this. Rather, Nakai is called upon by Yoshida to help Hiramaru improve his artwork, bribed with Yoshida's training to make Nakai attractive to women. Nakai helps Hiramaru with artwork, though does not accomplish his training properly, making way for more comedy and ideas in Hiramaru's life.
After the success of Muto Ashirogi's Reversi, the story only concluded with Moritaka's and Azuki's fulfilling their promise. Unfortunately, the fate of Nakai was never told. It's not clear did he ever successfully won over his obesity nor did his following to Koji Yoshida produce any results he promised to Nakai; his fate is open to personal interpretation.
- Hideout Door's Serialization
- Hideout Door was being serialized in Jump. Its first chapter got 1st place and its third chapter got 5th place; Nakai had his own assistant.
Notes & Articles
Articles & References
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