Bakuman is the work from Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba, the same creative team who made Death Note and Takeshi Obata is also the illustrator of Hikaru’s Go (Hikaru No Go). The series was first introduced through Weekly Shonen Jump before it was published into manga and then gets serialized in television.
Bakuman is a hidden masterpiece from the duo, sadly it is not as famous as their previous work Death Note. It is a comedy drama anime that has a shounen-like style. The anime give the same feeling as many action shounen anime do.
Even though the title has a deep relation with the story line but the true meaning of the title was never explained, but it can be believed that Bakuman is short for ‘Bakuchi Manga’ or in English is ‘Gambling Manga’. The main idea of the anime is to show the steps of becoming a famous mangaka (manga creator) and it is explained that becoming a mangaka is a very gambling decision because of the income and people perception especially from older generation.
The story tells about a simple tale of two middle school guys, Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi, who want to become professional mangaka. The story progresses like any other sports or shonen manga where ordinary guys go step by step and aim for the top by facing many challenges and rivals on the way.
The main characters in this series are quite anime-esque and also quite human. They are a little bit naïve but also realistic and they act according to their own desires to make their dreams come true.
Mashiro has a dream to become a great mangaka like his uncle and in the future he wants to marry his dream girl. Takagi has the ambition of becoming rich and famous, and he gave up the ordinary path of elites (get good grades to get into a prestigious university) because of his love for manga and became a true “gambler”.
Azuki Miho follows her dream of becoming a seiyuu (voice actor/actress) and moves to Tokyo, while stubbornly limits interaction with Mashiro to motivate both herself and Mashiro to reach their dream and meet in the future.
Then, there is the prodigy archrival of the protagonists named Nizuma Eiji who is extremely intriguing and eccentric. He is the rival or main competitor of the protagonist who is even stronger than protagonists, but turns out to be an ally.
It is known that manga is the Japanese cultural heritage popular across the globe. The series is quiet educational as the series is introducing the process of manga creation into become regular release and even serial anime. It also debates many other aspects of manga such as serialization, demographics, genre, and many other things.
In addition, famous classic and current manga series and their authors are mentioned throughout this series without alteration of any sort, which functions as a masterpiece suggestion for new manga readers.
As a shounen anime itself, the anime stated that there are six key elements to a successful shounen manga. They are a world that pulls the readers in, clear reason why protagonists are fighting, battles where it’s easy to tell what’s happening, an intriguing antagonist, a cute heroine, and some laughs or tears. And all those elements exist in Bakuman itself.
The series is started with a strong story of trigger event and realization of dreams and love. From Mashiro’s love story, Takagi’s request to be a partner, to the reason why they both want to be famous mangaka and want their work to get anime serialization.
The story then goes on to show them brainstorming idea, making manga, meeting their rival, and their manga are actually publicized, and then they get their ranking measurements to determine the winner of manga battle between mangakas.
What’s more incredible from this anime is every manga that the characters made is actually shown through certain part of the anime and make me think “oh, I think this anime or manga is fun. I want to read or watch this.”
The main protagonists make around six manga series in the anime series, they are ‘The Two Earths’, ‘A Millionth of’, ‘The World Runs on Money and Wits’, ‘Angel Days’, ‘Quasi-Detective TRAP’, and their most successful work ‘Riversi’.
In terms of shounen anime, the story idea of Bakuman is very unique. It’s a manga about manga and an anime about anime. But for the execution, Bakuman is a very mainstream shounen anime but the anime has dreams, inspiration, the depth, the entertainment value, and of course, the laughs and tears unmatched by any other.
Through Bakuman, it is realized that the duo of Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba still have many potential to be shown. The greatness of Bakuman is match with Death Note, but it is just less popular than its predecessor.
Title : Bakuman
Genre : Drama, Comedy, Shounen
Anime Written By : Reiko Yoshida
Original Story By : Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba (manga)
Total Episode : 75 Episodes in 3 Seasons (25 Episodes/Season)
Status : Finish
Anime Studio : J.C. Staff