Sunday, November 16, 2014
Manga Review: Bakuman
The story begins with Mashiro Moritaka doodling in his notebook when he is confronted by Takagi Akito who asks him to draw manga with him. Mashiro is hesistant until Takagi mentions that Miho Azuki, Mashiro's secret crush, dreams of being a voice actor for anime. Takagi leads Mashiro to Miho's house and Mashiro confesses his feelings. Miho reveals that she likes Mashiro back and the pair agrees to motivate each other as they try to achieve their dreams and that they will get married when Mashiro draws a manga that gets animated and Miho voices the female lead. From their the series follows Takagi and Mashiro as they work towards their goal of becoming published mangaka.
The biggest feature of this series is that it accurately portrays the manga industry and the lives of mangaka. It discusses how an author gets their manga published and talks about various features of the publishing industry including what determines when a manga gets cut and how new manga are selected. They also discuss how authors design their series and how they utilize plot twists to maintain popularity. The series is also filled with fake manga written by various characters covering all sorts of different genres.
Besides the look into the inner workings of the world of manga publishing the series has a strong cast of characters. Beyond the relationship between Miho and Mashiro there are several other relationships that develop over the course of the series driven with the various extreme personalities of other budding mangaka. The series is just under 200 chapters total but covers several years spanning from middle school well into the mid 20s of the main characters.
I would recommend the series to anyone who wants to know more about how manga is made, wants to learn how to improve their own writing or just wants to read a real world shounen romance without fanservice. Also this series is second only to Deathnote in terms of how cool it makes writing with a pen look.