Bakuman.

Vol: 20; Ch: 176
2008 - 2012
4.53 out of 5 from 5,463 votes
Rank #534
Bakuman.

Moritaka Mashiro feels as if life is passing him by; with no dreams or motivation, he simply trudges through his day-to-day life. One day, after leaving his notebook behind, he returns to school only to find the smartest guy in class, Takagi, waiting for him. Takagi is happy to return the book, but only on the condition that Mashiro agrees to become a mangaka with him. Though Mashiro initially declines, he soon decides to reconsider when he discovers that the girl he likes, Azuki, dreams of becoming a voice actress. But after promising that she can have the lead role if their manga is ever adapted into an anime, he inadvertently 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. With Takagi writing and Mashiro drawing, does the pair have what it takes to succeed and get their manga serialized?

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Reviews

mangaislife
7

This review is so painful to have to write. I wanted to like Bakuman, I really did. As a manga, it's very high quality. The art is good, the characters (mostly) are good, the premise is good, the story is interesting and - and - and it's the biggest disappointment ever. Let me start off by addressing something; I know standards are different in Japan. I don't care. In Death Note, I thought the sexist portrayal of Misa was used for characterization, to make a point, kind of like an Aldous Huxley character; no, Tsugumi Ohba's just sexist. That's it. Great writer, very sexist. Takeshi Obata is one of the best artists ever. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with his art, but he decided that a more obnoxious style would be funnier, I guess. Didn't work for Rave Master, won't work for Bakuman. Other huge problems with this series; it's rushed, too convenient, the shameless plugs were kind of clever at first but are now just annoying and stupid as all hell, the romance is on fanfic level, the protagonist is an unlikable moron, his love interest is shallower than a puddle, the humor is trying way too hard but failing and the dialog is unnaturally written. Yet - it's good. Bakuman is actually good. No, it's nothing like the masterpiece of manga that was Death Note, but it is interesting and when it's good, it's fantastic. The protagonist's mangaka partner is just great. You can really get behind him and most of the characters are likable. There are so many stupid moments but when they're making manga, it's some of the most entertaining stuff ever. And again, the problem I have with the art is a personal one - it has nothing to do with Takeshi Obata's considerable talent. But. But. But. This is the best you could do after Death Note? 

nathandouglasdavis
10

I have reread this manga multiple times and each time I've enjoyed it. I would rate 70% of this story as a 10/10, though there are parts of it that make the story drag on. Since the majority of the story is amazing, it's easier for me to list the story arcs which I might rate a 6 or 7/10. Those are: Nakai drawing in the snow (ch. 37-38); Takagi's romantic drama (ch. 61-66); Tanto and +Natural serialization meeting (ch. 67-72); Iwase rivalry (ch. 94-99); Takagi and Shiratori and the one-shot competition (ch. 100-113); Nakai drama and the class reunion (ch. 128-130); Nizuma's first-place run (ch. 135-140); Nanamine's return (ch. 141-149); and the hot springs trip (ch. 162). If I could boil down the problems with these sections to one idea: characters act in unrealistic and at times uncharacteristic ways, leading to drama that likely could have been avoided if they had acted as one would expect normal people to act. At its core, this is an inspirational manga, showing two friends dedicating their lives to achieving their dreams, taking a gamble on the chance of making it big creating manga. Of course, this type of story is captivating precisely because it's not something I would ever wish to do myself (Why choose a risky career? That's what hobbies are for.), so I enjoy living vicariously through the characters and watching them succeed. Of course, the authors realized this and made it a feel-good story, a story where you can tell from the very first chapter that their dreams are going to come true. There are a decent amount of characters that show up throughout this manga, and a large percent of them are captivating and unique. Many times--like with Eiji, Hiramaru, or Miura or any number of other characters--whenever they are first introduced they are drawn slightly differently from the look they eventually settle into. It's only noticeable when rereading it, because as the artist continues to draw the characters fe seems to become more comfortable with the core of the character. The art is exceptional. The artist draws normal people (some based on actual people), but with a sense of flair and pop, exaggerating the fluidity of body parts and movement to turn it into something which could only be done in manga, as Eiji Nizuma would say. One of my favorite scenes involves Takagi talking about how manga artists who are able to draw everyday activities in a captivating manner are geniuses. And while Takagi's sitting on a couch saying this, Mashiro's in the background pushing a broom around. I think this is hilarious, but it only works because it's asking the reader to break the fourth wall and recognize that the authors are calling themselves geniuses. This manga wants its readers to analyze it and think about how it was made. By discussing the behind-the-scenes processes and tactics of manga creation, it expects to be read with a more critical eye. And for the most part (obviously barring the story arcs I've mentioned above), this manga stands up to scrutiny as well put together.

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