I’m back for a new review and this time… Bakuman! Another anime that recently ended and this time for good. Sadly though, I like that show. All three seasons are very enjoyable, inspiring and fun to watch. Also, apparently the animes I review seem to get longer each time. First I started off with 12 episodes, followed by 24 and this time we have 75 episodes broken down into three seasons. Next time I’ll review something even BIGGER! (or maybe not, depends on what I do want to review) Anyways, without further ado I present to you the fantastic anime called Bakuman! (As well as Bakuman 2 and 3 but you get the picture…)
Bakuman is produced J.C. Staff (hi again, guys) and directed by Kenichi Kasai who also directed nothing I’ve ever watched except for episode 22 of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun and some episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh!. The good Yu-Gi-Oh! to be exact. The one where the character that the show is named after is still actually present.
The anime is an adaption of the manga of the same name which was written, by the way, by Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba who also wrote Death Note. And yes, this is saying a lot. They are fantastic and so is the manga. Can’t wait to get my hands on volume 19.
The story of Bakuman is simple to explain. Moritaka Mashiro, a very talented artist, does not know what he wants to do with his future. He just goes to school, plays videogames and draws a lot. He’s also in love with a classmate of his but can’t even speak to her. All he does is look at her in class and draws pictures of her in his notebook. One day he forgets this notebook in school. He goes back to get it, only to find straight A student Akito Takagi with said notebook in his hands. Of course he looked at the drawings of Miho Azuki and comes up with an idea: He and Mashiro have to create manga! It’s a perfect plan, Akito writes the stories, Mashiro draws it, they become popular and earn loads of money. But Mashiro refuses. Family issues so to speak and another person who wants to decide his future for him. Needless to say, Mashiro is sick of this.
Despite everything Akito does not give up. He calls Mashiro and forces him to meet up at Mihos place where he announces to her that they will draw manga. As an aspiring voice actress she’s delighted and they promise her to let her voice the heroin if their manga ever gets adapted into an anime. Couldn’t get any better, could it? Well, Mashiro seems to think so as he asks her to marry him if this scenario comes true. Shocked she runs back into the house, leaving the guys equally shocked behind. How could he even say that? They barely know each other and Mashiro doesn’t even want to draw manga. Stupid Mashiro, way to ruin your chances with Miho and your dignity. Or did he not? Over the intercom Mihos voice appears again and she accepts. If their dreams come true, if Mashiro and Takagi become mangaka and one of their works gets an anime adaption and if Miho will voice the heroin of said anime, she will marry him. Suddenly Mashiro changes his mind. His new dream he wants to achieve is to become a famous mangaka and to marry Miho Azuki thus beginning the tale of Bakuman!
Over the course of the almost ten year long story we follow Mashiro and Takagi through all the ups and downs of being a mangaka. They meet people that inspire them, help them, people that are plain better than them at first and even people who want to destroy them. Most of the side characters have their own story to tell and develop over them over time making Mashiro and Takagi not always the protagonists of the series. Some episodes revolve more around other characters like Kazuya Hiramaru, who never read manga in his life but decides to draw because he’s fed up with his office job and wants a different life. He proves himself to be very talented but he’s at his best when he’s suffering what his evil editor uses to get him to success. I personally enjoyed Kazuyas storylines equally as much as the ones revolving around the protagonists and judging from the character rankings I’m not alone with that. All in all Bakuman has a wide cast of many great characters that prevent the story from becoming monotone or boring and either lighten up or add suspense to the scenes.
The overall animation of this series is decent. At first it saddened me when I found out that JC did the show and not Madhouse who did Death Note but the tone of the JC animation probably fits the series more. Bright colors and a more comic style opposed to the realistic animation style of Madhouse Studios.
The soundtrack fits the series but does not stand out much either. Different are the most of the time beautiful opening and ending songs. They are calming while giving a good atmosphere to the whole anime that works pretty well with it. Especially the opening theme from the second season, “Dream of Life” by Shohei Itou is beautiful. I like listening to it when I want to kick back and just relax. All the voice actors did a good job I think there was nothing to complain about.
Now, finally. Bakuman is a very enjoyable anime that I recommend to anyone who is interested in the life of a mangaka or generally likes love stories that are unusual and not textbook. But if you are more into mangas than animes anyways I recommend you go straight to the mangas. You can actually see the differences in style within the different mangas by the characters in the manga and they even included pages of the initial storyboards by authors between the chapters. 20 volumes are not too much and all of them are available in the US (but not in Germany yet T_T). As someone who watched all three seasons and almost all the volumes I can say that I enjoyed tha manga a bit more than the anime but you have to see for yourself. And you should. It’s worth a watch and a read.
Hope you enjoyed reading this as well. 😀
In the coming weeks I’ll go away from the reviews a little bit and write first impressions of the new animes that start this spring season. I’m especially looking forward to Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S where I will probably fanboy all over the place when I write my first impression article about that. As usual feel free to leave a comment if you liked the review and even if you didn’t. I’m ready to face (constructive) criticism and learn from it!