Moritaka Mashiro feels as if life is passing him by; with no dreams or motivation, he trudges through day-to-day life. One day, after leaving his notebook behind, he returns to school and finds the smartest guy in class, Takagi, waiting for him. Takagi is happy to return the book, but on the condition that Mashiro agrees to become a mangaka with him. Though Mashiro initially declines, he soon reconsiders when he discovers that the girl he likes, Azuki, dreams of becoming a voice actress. And after promising that she can have the lead role if their manga is ever adapted into an anime, he suggests that they get married once they are both successful! Shockingly, she agrees to the proposal and Mashiro and Takagi embark on their quest to become manga artists.
When Ritsu was in high school, he fell in love with a boy who broke his heart, changing his view of love forever. Now a jaded adult, Ritsu has just transferred to the Marukawa Shoten company in hopes of publishing literature, only to be told that he'll be working in the shoujo manga division instead. What's worse, his boss is brash, rude and seems to have an interest in him! However, the biggest surprise is yet to come for Ritsu, as he soon discovers that his boss is none other than his lover of his past!
If you enjoy the "behind-the-scenes in manga publishing" aspect of Bakuman, you might enjoy Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi as well (if you don't mind the shounen-ai element of that show). Both shows feature the relationships between authors and their editors, authors' struggles to meet deadlines, and the competitive and hectic nature of publishing work.
Kyoko moves to the big city with the prince of her dreams Shotaro; he wants to make it big in the entertainment business, so she works hard at many different jobs to support him as he achieves his dream. However, one day, Kyoko accidentally discovers the horrible truth: the love of her life thinks of her as a 'plain and boring woman!' Outraged, Kyoko swears revenge – she will make it even bigger than Shotaro in the entertainment world. The only question is, how will she fulfill her desire?
Both of these anime are about dreams, in Bakuman this is to become a successful manga artist and turning their manga into an anime, and in Skip Beat! this is getting revenge and also becoming a successful actress.
Shinichiro Nakagami is an everyday high school student, with the exception of having his beautiful and athletic childhood friend Hiromi Yuasa living in his household after the death of her parents. Unfortunately, their relationship is cold at best - Shinichiro can tell that she is suffering, but she acts coldly and distant from her foster family and so he is unable to help ease her sadness. His family is also forcing him to practice a traditional Japanese dance that does not interest him, adding to his frustration. On top of that, he is cursed to misfortune by another girl in school, the eccentric Noe Isurugi. Shinichiro juggles all of these problems on a day-to-day basis as he learns about love and the sadness of those around him.
True Tears and Bakuman are stories about boys who both dream of becoming artists. Accordingly, the actual artwork/animation = great.
You'll find romantic sub plots in both, and both manage to be a bit melancholy and complicated, but that's what makes them both compelling stories.
Tatsuhiro Sato is a university dropout and a "hikikomori" – a person suffering from social withdrawal. To Sato’s dismay, his self-imposed exile from the world is rudely interrupted when a mysterious girl knocks on his door. She has charged herself with the task of curing Sato of his hikikimori ways! Now, as new problems ranging from hentai games to internet suicide spring up, can Sato manage to overcome his hermit-like ways, or will the imaginary N.H.K conspiracy force him to remain a hikikomori forever?