Yuriko Hiramaru (née Aoki) is a supporting character and mangaka in Bakuman. She uses Ko Aoki as her pen name in Jump to avoid crowds of fans. She was the writer of Hideout Door and working together with Takuro Nakai. She later worked alone with serializing her works A Time of Green Leaves and What God Gave Me.... The former of which got canceled due to dropping popularity.
Aoki has short ash blonde hair in a bob and honey-colored eyes. She can be distinctively be seen with glasses when she reads and is easily identified by the iconic beauty mark under her left eye and her soft, fashionable, and strongly feminine taste in clothing. Her attire usually consists of various skirts and cardigans/sweaters. Her appearance in the manga has slightly changed with her character development from a conceited brat to a more traditionally motherly role in a manga (enlarged breasts and kinder, softer eyes).
When she is first introduced, Aoki is presented as extremely haughty, judgmental, and dogmatic, similar to the later fully introduced Aiko Iwase, but as the story progresses, she undergoes enough character development to overcome her initial attitude (revealed to be caused by a distrust of men) and show a more tender, kinder, and more agreeable character.
It isn't revealed until she begins talking to Akito Takagi that, in the beginning, she believed that men were unreliable and that, despite her previously pompous pride towards her romances, she had never dated. However, as the storyline progresses, Aoki develops a crush on Takagi and starts to trust men more. This is made most prominent when she swallows her pride to ask for help from Shinta Fukuda in order to properly draw girl's panties. She has also developed a romantic relationship with Kazuya Hiramaru and became engaged to him.
Aoki is also shown as being very innocent especially on matters of love. This is due to her inexperience with men. The first man that she could really trust was Takagi when they agreed to help each other understand the opposite sex for their respective mangas. It is also due to this innocence that she did not realize the awkwardness of admitting to having started to like Takagi after encouraging Takagi and Kaya Miyoshi on their planned marriage. In contrast, she is able to quickly figure out Iwase's feelings for Takagi after hearing them converse.
Initially, Aoki was shown to be extremely stubborn, especially about her manga stories. Her former editor, Aida, even said that she was a really challenging author to work with. Later on, after learning to respect her mangaka peers, she is shown to be more flexible as shown during her collaboration with Nakai for Hideout Door.
Aoki is willing to learn from anyone if they have anything worthwhile to teach her, as well as able to stand her ground and show an enormous amount of courage in tight situations, as shown when she stands up to Nakai and tells him to hit her if he's really so angry at her in Chapter 129.
She's also a bit dense when it comes to what can be told and what is a private matter; she told Team Fuduka the reason why Akito didn't want Iwase to come. Aoki also can't seem to see how much Iwase is like how she used to be, but the difference is that she had a distrust of men while Iwase is better at being rejected by her crushes.
First introduced as the Story King that Moritaka Mashiro was recommended to draw for, she is properly introduced when Takuro Nakai meets with Ashirogi Muto and he tells them that he will be drawing with that year's story king in order to get serialized. Aoki attends To-Oh University with Aiko Iwase, the same fictional and prestigious university that L and Light from Death Note attend together.
Prior to working for Shonen Jump, Aoki worked as a mangaka for Margaret (even mentioning that she wished to go back to only drawing shoujo once more after her first series failed), explaining the strong shoujo style in her drawings requires the help of many assistants to correct in order for her to continue writing for the shounen genre and attract more of the male audience to her stories.
She works alone, both writing and drawing her stories without the help of a more talented artist, aside from her assistants. Kazuya Hiramaru courted Aoki, but the relationship didn’t seem to be serious, having only been at the level of tea friends for two years. In chapter 159, upon hearing that Aoki's series is ending, Hiramaru asks her on a date to the amusement park, where he plans to propose on the Ferris wheel. Though he initially does not ask, because of fear, he drags her back onto the Ferris wheel, in an attempt to try again. When they are on the Ferris wheel for the second time, Hiramaru strips, looking for the fifty-million yen ring that he apparently lost. Because of a slip-up in conversation, Hiramaru mentions a ring, the context of which Aoki correctly infers to mean he is proposing, then telling him to do his best. Hiramaru then proposes, to which Aoki happily agrees. Aoki asks the worker if they can go again, and when on board, she explains that it was so they could ride calmly this time. When she points out Koji Yoshida to Hiramaru, he immediately demands to get off so he and Yoshida can talk. When they start arguing, Aoki, from a neutral viewpoint, suggests that they look for the ring, stating that it could be like a romantic drama. Upon hearing that the workers at the carnival found the ring, they go and retrieve it.
Golden Future Cup
She worked with Nakai on Hideout Door for the Golden Future Cup. She takes part in the meeting, held by Shinta Fukuda with Akito Takagi, Moritaka Mashiro, Eiji Niizuma, and Takuro Nakai, regarding Koogy's announcement about his manga. They read and were going to discuss each other's manga but Aoki refused, stating that her manga is the best. This leads to Niizuma stating his opinion on their mangas. He correctly predicts that two manga would tie for first and one would place third, referring to Kiyoshi Knight and Detective Trap as first and Hideout Door as the third. This meeting forms the basis for what will become Team Fukuda.
After New Years Party
When Aoki announced that she would work with Makaino Koji, Nakai is heartbroken. She tells him that his drawings couldn't convey the world in Hideout Door. To prove his desire to work with her, he draws in front of her window after work, even during a snowstorm. She soon admits that it was her story and not his drawings that were the reason that Hideout Door wasn't serialized. She wants her story to be good enough for his drawings. Eventually, Hideout Door is serialized, and Aida becomes the pair's editor.
When Detective Trap is put on hiatus due to Mashiro's hospitalization, Aoki is among the mangaka of Team Fukuda to go on a strike, adamantly holding her position while Nakai was more uncertain.
Cancellation of Hideout Door
Low rankings eventually caused Hisashi Sasaki to cancel Hideout Door and Detective Trap from serialization, commenting that he wants Nakai on another manga for his art and that he "couldn't care less about Aoki." Presented with this ending, Aoki states to Aida that she wants to end the manga in her own way, without trying to salvage Hideout Door and that she will go back to writing Shojo Manga.
When presented with Nakai's confession of love for her over the phone, Aoki states that she cannot reciprocate his feelings. Later, she receives a call from Masakazu Yamahisa and he informs Aoki that he is her new editor. Although Aoki states that she is done with Jump, Yamahisa insists that Aoki should stay and do a romance story casually implemented with three panty shots per week.
Aoki's meeting with Yamahisa shows that she created the story from a girl's point of view and since she is writing for a Shonen Magazine, she has to rewrite her story from a boy's point of view. Yamahisa then asks her about her love life, where she awkwardly lies to cover that she, in fact, have never been in a relationship. Due to this, Yamaha suggests that Aoki either ask a man for assistance, or rewrite the story herself, in which she stubbornly decides to do it herself. At home, Aoki ponders if she should set her pride aside and just be honest to Yamahisa. She also wonders who she should ask for help, and eventually settles on asking Takagi, who also had trouble with writing from a girl's point of view.
Aoki and Takagi then decided to call each other when they needed ideas. These conversations, created a series of misunderstandings for Takagi, but they were eventually resolved with the help of Aoki's explanations.
After her serialization of A Time of Green Leaves, she offers Nakai to be her assistant again, but his explicit deal to make her his girlfriend greatly offends her to the point of slapping him across the face. Aoki is among the mangaka to bid Nakai farewell after he moves back to the countryside.
After the Love Fiesta
She and Hiramaru go out for tea where she agrees to date him officially as long as he continues to write manga.
Fall and Rise of Nakai
While on the phone with Hiramaru, Aoki sees a drunk and miserable Nakai outside of her apartment, blaming her for his miseries after he's been fired from his manga assistant job for Nanamine and is forced to live on the streets. The noise causes Hiramaru to overhear Nakai and he drives to her home to protect her. He arrives in his car in what is called a "cool" entrance by Nakai (Nakai also interjects that it was the only cool thing he could do in the scuffle), and as they begin to fight, Nakai tells him it's none of his business, which Hiramaru defends by hesitatingly saying that he was Aoki's "tea party friend" and that of course it did. Nakai claims he doesn't understand, but Hiramaru says that if she really has done something wrong to him that he would take full responsibility for it.
Nakai keeps on pushing him down, and Aoki becomes increasingly bothered by their fight, which mostly ends in Nakai's favor. When Fukuda and Ashirogi arrive to assist Hiramaru, Aoki witnesses Hiramaru's determination to protect her, and Nakai ardently blaming her for his miseries.
In a blatant shonen moment, Aoki walks downstairs to Nakai and allows the obese man to hit her and release any pent-up anger towards her. She finds that Nakai found himself unable to hit her, him knowing that he is the one at fault. A while after, Hiramaru, realizing that Nakai and him both "suffer from their affections towards Aoki", asks Nakai to be his assistant.
Aoki is later discussed again as another part of Yoshida's plans to improve Hiramaru's manga and Nakai's lifestyle by encouraging them to work hard together with an idea: He says that the possibility of Aoki marrying Hiramaru would cause a physically improved Nakai(Another of Yoshida's plan) to meet Aoki's older sister at the rhetorical wedding and that a relationship could spark between the two. It isn't clear if Yoshida made up the idea that Aoki has a beautiful older sister or not.
Hide Door is about a boy who opens a door to the fairy world. He is then given a choice between choosing to gain the soul of a fairy and befriend them or die. As her art wasn't suited for a shonen audience at the time, she would only work on the story.
A Time of Greenery (A Time of Blue Leaves in anime) was an ecchi manga in which she drew numerous panty shots learned from Fukuda, demonstrating a shift of her manga into the shonen demographic. The manga was later canceled alongside Hiramaru's Otters 11, setting the Love Fest in motion.
In the Love Fiesta, she took first place with her one-shot God-Given which expands to become her next series. This series is canceled not long after, prompting Hiramaru to take her to the amusement park for his proposal.
- Yuriko's surname Aoki means "blue tree".
- Aoki enjoys Darjeeling tea, a fruity, floral, and astringent black tea.
- Aoki's specialization in romance manga, along with her experience and popularity with the series, draw a parallel to Kawashita Mizuki, mangaka of Ichigo 100%, Hatsukoi Limited, and Ane Doki.
- Aoki's favorite manga is Kimi Ni Todoke by Karuho Shina.
- Moritaka Mashiro was once offered by Soichi Aida to be Aoki's partner.
- At the end of the series, Aoki gets married to Kazuya Hiramaru (which now makes her Yuriko Hiramaru).
|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|