As a child, Moritaka Mashiro dreamt of becoming a mangaka, just like his childhood hero and uncle, Tarou Kawaguchi, creator of a popular gag manga. But when tragedy strikes, he gives up on his dream and spends his middle school days studying, aiming to become a salaryman instead.
One day, his classmate Akito Takagi, the school's top student and aspiring writer, notices the detailed drawings in Moritaka's notebook. Seeing the vast potential of his artistic talent, Akito approaches Moritaka, proposing that they become mangaka together. After much convincing, Moritaka realizes that if he is able to create a popular manga series, he may be able to get the girl he has a crush on, Miho Azuki, to take part in the anime adaptation as a voice actor. Thus the pair begins creating manga under the pen name Muto Ashirogi, hoping to become the greatest mangaka in Japan, the likes of which no one has ever seen.
#1: "BAKUROCK ~Mirai no Rinkakusen~ (BAKUROCK 〜未来の輪郭線〜)" by YA-KYIM (eps 1-13) #2: "Genjitsu to iu Na no Kaibutsu to Tatakau Mono Tachi (現実という名の怪物と戦う者たち)" by Yuu Takahashi (高橋優) (eps 14-24) #3: "Blue Bird" by Kobukuro (ep 25)
The true meaning of the title was never revealed, but most speculators believe it's short for 'BAKUchi MANga.' (Gambling Manga). It is a simple tale of two middle school guys setting out to become professional manga artists. The story progresses like any other sports or music anime, where ordinary guys aim for the top, facing many challenges and rivals on the way. However, I consider this to be the greatest shounen/seishun (coming of age) genre anime I have ever encountered, because it analyzes what makes a manga good in a coherent way, and more importantly, it practices what it preaches.
This is a review by EIGHTHSin,
and contains many spoilers. Read it at your own risk.
According to 'Bakuman.', there are SEVEN major steps to manga creation - Name, under-sketch, inking, filling, effects, screen tone, and whiteout. I'm no expert in manga drawing, but with this series being a manga about manga (which actually got serialized), I have no doubt this is correct. Of course, this anime alone is not nearly enough to teach you about how to draw manga, but it is quite enough to entertain a casual viewer like me. The show also emphasizes the difficulty of the process, that one cannot hope to succeed half-heartedly.
As the character mentioned in the first episode, "Manga is the Japanese cultural heritage popular across the globe."
This NHK series is extremely educational not only in introducing the process of manga creation, it also debates many other aspects of mang such as: how things work in a weekly manga publisher; the selection process; how artist stay serialized; the importance of target demographics; and argues how things ought to be in the industry. In addition, famous classic and current manga series and their authors are mentioned throughout this series without alteration of any sort, which functions as a masterpiece suggestion for new manga readers. It even directly quotes them, re-enacts DBZ "fusion", and uses quirks like Naruto's "-dattebayo". I take this to be a stamp of approval from those authors, and also to pressure themselves to create a masterpiece worthy of mentioning those names. The show uses real-life examples as case studies to explain its theories.
According to 'Bakuman.', there are SIX key elements to a successful shounen manga - A world that pulls the readers in, clear reason why protagonists are fighting, battles where it's easy to tell what's happening, equally or even more intriguing antagonist, a cute heroine, and some laughs or tears.
The first episode had an extremely strong pull - The tested and tried "average joe whose life changed by a trigger event", in this case, Takagi's request to be a partner. The turn of events leads to a promise of marriage upon realization of dreams, which serves as the clear reason why the protagonist wants to get his manga serialized, which is the first step to getting an anime series.
The story then goes on to show them making manga, meeting their 'opponents' in manga contests, and their manga are actually shown... even with a clear ranking measurements to determine a winner - easy to tell what's happening in the battle.
Then, there is Niizuma Eiji, the prodigy archrival of the protagonists, who is extremely intriguing, and happens to follow the "Introduce an enemy character, he's even stronger than protagonists, but turns out to be an ally" as mentioned during the 'CROW' production.
There's the cute heroine in Azuki, and the show has many comedy and tear-jerker moments to keep the audience interested throughout the series.
I find it interesting that the shows makes many observations that we probably don't consciously realize when casually reading manga, and even more interesting that if we pay close attention, almost EVERY observations of a successful manga made in this series are actually reflected in the series itself. In fact, it was also mentioned that most shounen protagonists wield swords, and if you think about it, the protagonists in this show brandish their pens in "battle".
The protagonists make FIVE manga series in the first anime series - 'The Two Earths', 'A Millionth of', 'The World Runs on Money and Wits', 'Angel Days', and 'Quasi-Detective TRAP'.
'The Two Earths' is their very first manga. It serves as introduction to the manga creation process.
'A Millionth of' shows the difficulty of getting a prize in manga contests, and introduction of various styles of manga.
'The World Runs on Money and Wits' functions as their confidence booster, as well as their gateway to future successes.
'Angel Days' is used to show the qualities of typical shounen manga, and the importance of choosing manga that fits each author style.
Finally, 'Quasi-Detective TRAP' is their success of the series, and its production process emphasizes the bond and friendship between the two main characters.
The story follows the standard shounen format with many seishun elements. The good guys work hard to realize their dreams while encountering one obstacle after another. After clearing each obstacle, they "level up" by becoming better artists and attain better understanding of themselves. Like all seishun sports or music anime, there are consistent themes of awkward youth love, challenges of being a student, and the importance of friendship.
The protagonists set FOUR years as their goal for their anime debut. This is the prime reason why Mashiro is always in such a rush to make manga, and frequently shows his impatience.
The main characters in this series are extremely human, and they act according to their own desires to make their dreams come true.
Takagi has the ambition of becoming rich and famous, and he gave up the "mainstream" path of elites (get good grades to get into a prestigious university) for his love of manga and became a true "gambler".
Azuki follows her dream of becoming a seiyuu and moves to Tokyo, while stubbornly limits interaction with Mashiro to motivate both herself and Mashiro.
Miyoshi truly acts on her desires, and can't help but reveal secrets of others and butting into their business.
Niizuma also acting on his desires, but in a different way, drawing what he pleases and doesn't care what others think about him.
Hattori sees promise in Ashirogi, and does everything, even some "dirty adult tricks" to make them succeed.
What I'm trying to get at, is that the characters are interesting, and they "move on their own" according to their desires. I have to say, they are *too* human at times, and causes their actions and motivations to detach from reality, but as a fantasy and dreams shounen series, this is totally acceptable.
According to 'Bakuman.', there are THREE requirements for a successful mangaka - Conceit (Confidence), Effort, and Luck.
One of the major themes in the series is to have "Confidence" in yourself to follow your dream.
To follow that dream, the protagonists put a lot of "Effort" into manga, sacrificing sleep, school, and even time for girls in order to become successful.
Further more, "Luck" is prevalent in this series. However, it remains realistic due to many setbacks they face, just as they would in the harsh reality. The protagonists consists of a relative of a mangaka and a guy who's getting the best grades in school yet interested in manga. Right off the bat, they have been dealt pocket aces as "gamblers". Still, they don't become an overnight success. It took a lot of sacrifices and effort, and after 5 manga series, they finally made it to an authentic weekly magazine.
This series isn't just a fairy tale. It successfully shows the difficulty of making a living with manga, and shows the harsh reality that only the most talented *and* hardworking succeed. They were dealt another lucky card in getting Hattori as the editor, who truly cares about the authors and preciously "raises" them as mangaka.
As a shounen manga, a convenient setting is actually preferred. The key is how realistic the story develops given the fantasy-filled premise.
I especially loved a subtle snippet of reality in Mashiro's family. Where the breadwinner and the eldest of the family call the shots in home, like when father and grandpa straight up shut off the mother in roundabout ways, with the "Decision-making process" in his home and "Please get me seconds (refill my bowl)" by grandpa. It's outdated and somewhat sexist, but the harsh reality in Japanese culture.
According to 'Bakuman.', there are TWO types of successful mangaka - "The Genius-Type", and "The Calculating-Type".
The anonymous author of this series is the same as that of 'Death Note' series, and it is also clear in this series that the storyteller is the "Calculating-Type" just like the protagonists. In other words, he "calculates the laughs and tears in a way that doesn't seem to be calculated, through calculation." Obviously, this is not going to work on everyone, so we will all have different opinion, but the story is extremely well-constructed, and the anime direction presented the plot in very interesting ways. It's easy to sympathize with the characters.
I believe the ONE single most important theme in 'Bakuman.' is the love for manga. Both protagonist and antagonists in this series really have passion for manga. It really shows how much love the author has for this series, and manga in general.
The series points out flaws in Shounen Jump ("Shounen Jack" in series), the only real-life title altered in the anime. The show communicates to producers in the real life through its characters.
For example, there shouldn't be any politics in manga selection, like rejecting student submission or favoring popular authors - "Anything interesting will be published."
The potential incompetence of editors, in their heavy reliance of survey to determine which series gets cut off - "Manga written for votes rather than true quality."
The need for manga to have a strong pull early due to selection process of using names of first three weeks and the threat of cancellation due to votes - "The lack of series that slowly draws the audience in, and consequently series being approved without long-term prospects."
Manga published in order of popularity - "Creates unfairness for new and aspring authors."
How audience like stereotypical stuff that stifles creativity - "All popular series have swords"
The young mangaka depicted in this series have hinted how they wanted to change Shounen Jack when they get popular. Perhaps the author of 'Bakuman.' wanted to do the same with this show as well.
'Bakuman.' is the "mainstream among mainstreams" in terms of shounen anime, but has the dreams, the inspiration, the depth, the entertainment value, and of course, the laughs and tears unmatched by any other. It also has the uniqueness in being a manga about manga and an anime about anime. In terms of contribution to the industry, this easily ranks among the most significant series to be aired in this century so far, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
This is my review for the whole bakuman series. I mean all the three seasons of bakuman which sums up to a total of 75 episodes.
OK so first things first. This was an anime with high ratings here in MAL but don't expect too much about this show if you are new to anime. This wasn't your typical action packed anime, this was an anime about the anime/manga industry. So that's the reason why many loved it(including me). Of course many anime lovers want to know more about manga/anime, how it works on its motherland -- JAPAN.
So we've seen some anime/manga characters that are mangaka(manga
artist) or some that talked about it, like on To Love Ru, Ef a Tale of Memories,Aoi Bungaku,Mangaka-san to assistant-san to,Hyouka,Doujin Work etc.. But none of those really explained the industry as BAKUMAN does.I can describe this show(BAKUMAN) as some sort of an encyclopedia(coz of the info) which tells deep explanation about manga/anime industry while following the lives of the two protagonist, with the added spice of romance,school life,hardwork, and friendship.
While watching this show you will know the reasons/answers for the following questions(if you ever thought about it, but i know you do thought of some of these)
- why does the creator(manga artist) of your favorite manga/anime only have 1 or 2 anime?
- how much do they earn from their work?
- why did a certain anime didn't continued?
- why did they omit and edit stories of some manga when it was animated?
- why did a certain manga didn't got an anime adaptation even though its story was really good? And why do some manga got a live action adaptation instead of anime?
For me its a perfect 10, A masterpiece. I know I'm kinda biased coz i really loved this show. But still I listed some of the reasons for rating it like that...below were the reasons
1. To reach your dreams, you just need talent,hardwork and determination. Something like that was always said as we grow. But this anime proved that wrong. In reality it not as simple as how they put it on words, that's not enough, especially in the entertainment industry. But still there's the exception of those so called one in a million GENIUS that defies every fact that we believed.
2. I saw myself somehow in this show. Like on my childhood,elementary and early highschool days, back then, if you looked at the back pages of my notebook it has a lot drawings of anime characters from Yuyu hakusho,dragon ball,slam dunk,trigun,hunter x hunter,rurouni kenshin etc etc. and some characters that I just made up. But I can't guarantee you that you can identify them... hahaha
3. For me, based on my own evaluation its a well written story. From the plot, story progression, and characters. And I want to point out the characters. They say that the characters here were based on real persons from JACK(manga magazine), they resemble their traits. The character introduction and character development was also great. Characters(from mangakas to editors) got their own unique traits that gives them their individuality, characters are not just someone like a friend of the protagonist or some acquaintance of someone. And even at this time, I mean now, I still can remember most of the names of the characters from the mangakas to the editors. Imagine that.. Several months had passed since the 3rd season was aired but I still remember the names of the characters, that's really something, cause I easily forgot japanese names.
4. The story setting. I mean its an anime about anime/manga. Almost everything happened inside their rooms. And this show has a lot of dialogues(ofc its not an action anime). Their battles/competition/rivalries were all about drawings. But it really delivered well. It didn't bored me, and it even gave me the thrill.
5. An anime with that genre to have 75 episodes all in all. I can say that there was really something in this anime that I can't explain here in words. Just try to watch it.
And by the way if you want to know the meaning of the title here's a little spoiler. I think its a combination from BAKUchiuchi and MANgaka. Since the protagonist always viewed mangaka(manga artist) as bakuchiuchi(gamblers). If you have a little knowledge in Nihongo you might hear the term BAKUCHIUCHI a lot on the early episodes of the first season. "Tada na bakuchiuchi"
I was recommended to check out this show, and it really was worth every second -- it even made it into my top 5 list. I enjoyed it so much, and I don't know where to begin.
So we follow Mashiro and Takagi as they chase the dream to become the greatest Mangakas of Japan, and boy is it a treat. Never thought I would enjoy it this much nor did I think that I could watch 75 episodes without getting bored. Now for a guy who doesn't read Manga at all you can probably understand that I was
kind of skeptical at first. However I finished all episodes in one week, and would’ve finished it earlier if I didn’t have other obligations.
Now going back to what I said above about me not really reading any Manga. Bakuman was not only enjoyable but also very enlightening or informative -- it'll give you a tour into the world of Manga, and you will learn a lot. The story is so well written, and it feels so real. It really felt like the writer was portraying their own lives and world in front of my eyes, and that's probably why it was so good. A story they can easily relate to?
So for some specifics that I liked;
+ Fantastic story, and progression.
+ Some of the greatest characters I’ve seen in a while namely Niizuma Eiji. Hysterical!
+ There was so many great moments were I even felt like standing up in my bed screaming "YOU CAN DO THIS GUYS!" (IRL)
+ Great character development.
+ Romance was satisfying.
+ Sound and music was also good, and most noteworthy -- S1 & S3 ending and S2 OP!
What also surprised me was the fact that we got to immerse into specific stories and manga chapters, and they were even voice acted. This was really well done, and some of the ideas and stories they made were like "oh I actually wanna read/see this!". I mentioned that it was very informative and it really was. You’ll get to learn about; how they draw, how they make storyboards, editors and what role they have in this, endings, adaptions and so on. There are so many things, but they're all explained in a simple manner - I mean even I understood most of it. You'll see how stories and art are affected by things like stress, schedules and willpower. How it's not always up to the author or artist to decide everything -- and that the editors hold great power. An example of this would be not being able to end a Manga when they want and/or creating the perfect ending.
All in all a really great Anime, and I feel like I have to start reading Manga now so that I can appreciate the original work.
The definition of Bakuman comes from the two words, Bakuchi Manga, meaning Gambling Manga. However to me, it means something a bit different. When I think of Bakuman I think of: hubris, effort and luck. These are the 3 principles by which the story’s two protagonists live by. Bakuman is a story about hard work and reaching your dreams as well as overcoming the barriers and obstacles you’re faced with in order to succeed. This is my review.
NOTE: This review covers all 75 episodes of Bakuman.
Contains Minor Spoilers
If I could describe the story of Bakuman in one sentence it would be something like
this: Bakuman is a tale about two best friends, Mashiro Moritaka and Tagaki Akito who want to become Japan’s greatest mangakas. Their journey is long and filled with laughter, cheers, tears, courage and romance. The personal lives of our mangakas contain a lot of twists and drama which makes the story more engaging than one would expect. The story is engrossing and so well written that I wish some of the stories and ideas that the characters come up with for their manga were real.
One word, beautiful. Obata Takeshi is an extremely talented artist. His art matches perfectly with the uplifting story and bright atmosphere of Bakuman. Character designs are drawn very realistically however from time to time designs are exaggerated for slapstick purposes, and it actually manages to be extremely funny. The backgrounds are extremely detailed, from the art pens and work desks to the manga posters spread throughout the series. You can even see Mashiro's writer's bump callus from drawing so much. It’s amazing how Obata manages to come up with different art styles for the different manga in the series. Whether it’s dark, gloomy and serious or bubbly and flashy, the art always manages to be entertaining and eye catching.
I enjoyed every single song used in the show, particularly “Blue Bird” by Kobukuro and “Moshimo no Hashi” by nano.RIPE. The voice acting was top notch. All the seiyuus did a fantastic job, especially Morita Masakazu and Okamoto Nobuhiko, who were hilarious and constantly had me rolling on the floor.
Bakuman’s greatest strength lies not in its story, but in its characters. Mashiro and Takagi are fantastic leads that fit the theme of the story perfectly because through them we see the struggles mangakas go through in order to get serialized and the constant battle to keep on being serialized. Both of them care for one another deeply and through ups and downs, together they always keep pushing forward. The supporting cast is one of the most likeable and funniest I’ve ever seen. From the fellow mangakas to the editors everyone felt like they had a purpose and helped contribute to the story. I loved every single character however I felt Niizuma Eiji and Hiramaru Kazuya stood out above the rest. They were eccentric, funny and just plain damn fun to watch. And like I said previously, Morita Masakazu and Okamoto Nobuhiko portrayed the characters perfectly.
Bakuman is one my all time favourite anime. It’s not philosophical, cynical, depressing or about the downfall of humanity. It’s not the anime to end all anime. I just love it because it was so fun to watch. I forgot about my problems for 75 episodes and that’s why I watch anime, to have fun. A great story, beautiful art, a catchy soundtrack and a well developed cast of characters, please give this one a try.
What better way to show how the anime industry works than through anime? Shows about the anime and video game industries are gaining popularity, and feature everything from voice acting to hentai game creation. Hold onto your hats, things are about to get meta over here.