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.
These two shows stand out to me as being really excellent examples of "feel-good" anime with substance. As in, when you're done watching an episode, you can't help but feel excited about the story. They're also both about young people who have big dreams working to succeed against long odds, with a side of light romance.
Despite being about two different things, these shows have a lot in common. The characters are extremely passionate and give their all into what they love; playing karuta in Chihayafuru and creating manga in Bakuman. As the story progresses, you'll get sucked in and before you know it, you'll be cheering the characters on as hard as you can as they overcome numerous hardships. Romance, comedy, drama, tears, smiles, and hardwork are all included in both of these series, so don't miss out.
Ever since their first meeting at six years old, Hikari Hanazono has struggled to defeat her rival Kei Takashima at anything, whether it be athletics or academics. To date she has proven unsuccessful, resulting in Kei constantly referring to her as "second place." In reality, Kei has been in love with Hikari for quite some time, but Hikari remains completely oblivious to the fact. Now, as the top two students in a prestigious academy, the duo continues their long-running competition as part of the school's elite class of seven, the Special A. Will Hikari ever surpass Kei... or realize that he loves her?