The mysterious Japanese manga author Tsugumi Oba is returning to the comic book world after a two-year hiatus this May with a new manga called Skip Yamada-kun.
Oba, who wrote the popular manga series Death Note and Bakuman, is writing the new manga for an upcoming special 35th anniversary edition of Shukan Young Jump magazine called “Jump” meets “Girl” SPECIAL COMIC, which will hit books shelves on May 8. And unlike his past comics that were serialized across several magazine issues, this new manga is a single-issue standalone story.
Oba, who in the past has partnered with the illustrator Takeshi Obata, will be collaborating for the first time with Robico, the creator of the hit manga My Little Monster. Both Death Note and Bakuman were illustrated by Obata and this will be the first manga by Oba to use a different illustrator. Fans of the secretive manga author are a little skeptical of Robico—who is well known for love-themed manga—but are cautiously looking forward to seeing a new side of Oba.
Little is known about the plot of the new manga expect that Skip Yamada-kun will center on a junior high school student who “hates troublesome things” and always looks for the easy way out. Although the publisher hasn’t given out many details, they have said that “something” appears to this junior high school student. Judging from the promotional art, the “something” seems to be a remote control, which hopefully can provide a much more meaningful plot device than the 2006 Adam Sandler classic Click.
This latest work by Oba will likely cause fans to look for further clues about the true identity of the manga artist that he has managed to keep secret despite the huge popularity of his manga series. Some have theorized that Oba is actually the pen name for Gamo Hiroshi who wrote the bizarre superhero manga Tottemo! Luckyman in the 1990s. Proponents of this theory point to how the maing character’s uncle in Bakuman works on a very similar superhero-themed manga and how Light Kangami in Death Note goes to a cram school that offers a “Gamo Seminar.”
Whatever the identity of Oba, it’s clear that the reclusive manga author knows how to create a popular comic book story. And even if some don’t appreciate the complex plot lines of Oba’s past stories that involve a magical notebook that kills anyone whose name is written it it, we imagine fans will be lining up to buy the 340-yen (US$3.30) magazine come May 8.
If you’re a fan of Oba’s past manga series, we would love to hear in the comments below about your initial thoughts on the upcoming manga and whether you think it will be worth the two-year wait!