Weskalia's Bakuman Tv Review

Bakuman Bakuman Screenshot Aren't they one of the best shounen duos? Bakuman Screenshot Conquering the world one happy smile at a time! Bakuman Screenshot Now where have I seen this before? Bakuman Screenshot Happy endings are simply happy.

Bakuman tv Review

Story & Characters

A series about a writer/illustrator team of mangaka whose goal is to make a manga with the aim of eventually getting an anime adaptation. Sounds familiar no? If that hasn't broken your mind yet, it might also be noted that Ohba Tsugumi and Obata Takeshi, the writer/artist duo behind the original manga, were also the creators of Death Note. With the success of their previous project, everyone would have figured that they would team up again, but who would have expected them to team up on something like this?

Growing up, Mashiro Moritaka dreamed of becoming a manga artist just like his favorite uncle, but life got him down; his uncle died from overwork, and the experience traumatized him so much that he abandoned his dream, instead living an ordinary life. Everything changes one day when classmate Takagi Akito approaches him about teaming up and creating a manga. Moritaka, still trapped in his mediocre malaise, shoots him down until Akito involves his crush, Azuki Miho, who he's never once spoken to - also has a crush on him and wants to become an inspiring seiyuu. Moritaka screws up though, when he proposes to Miho on the spot - on the condition that the marriage take place when his manga gets animated and she gets the lead in it. The two then start creating their manga, under the pen name Ashirogi Muto. They have the talents, the drive, and (after inheriting Moritaka's uncle's studio) the tools - but can they translate dream into reality?

There's uniqueness here. Bakuman. is an unenthusiastic creature, content to play out in as flat and conventional a manner as possible, in striking contrast to the Death Note's dark, controversial content. It's a simple story enough with no fantastical elements, no supernatural powers or weapons, no absurd gags - just two boys, an art studio, and a dream. Oh, and a beautiful girl to keep that dream alive. (One has to wonder what this says about Ohba and Obata's nostalgic beginning and personal lives.) Though on the surface it is a passive dream about the protagonists working toward their dream. But underneath all that, Bakuman. is the desperate fight against the doubt and listlessness that everyone feels inside and tries so hard to push against. But it does have its flaws. If Bakuman. reveals the inner workings of Ohba and Obata's creative process, it also shows where their weaknesses lie. The early chapters fall victim to the usual churning and grinding where Moritaka and Akito forever gathering materials, working hard on manga to get serialize. This is not to say that the first season is a necessary evil. It is necessary, but hardly evil, it's an extremely slow process and is nearly impossible not to be bored.

Maybe it doesn't have to, however, because the writing here is solid. The story is great, not revolutionary, but not derivative, either. What follows, as the two make their first serialization, is the fruit of pure hard works. As the show was meant to be. This time around that the drama is fueled, it also reflects how the storyline has matured: no longer are we looking at wide-eyed kids striving to achieve their dreams, but young adults dealing with real world problems while trying to keep that dream alive. Which is exactly the point. The determination to outrank rivals, what pressure they have to experience just to keep their series from being cancelled and the desperate struggle to come up with a new series show how well the series has played it. By the time their dream has become a reality, the agony of watching them flay themselves has reached such exquisite heights that when they do work things out - as they inevitably must - the satisfaction is equally exquisite.

Only when Moritaka and Akito join forces does the story really begin to take flight, is also the point where their chemistry cements. Initially, their individual personalities are not the most likable. This especially applies to Moritaka, whose personality traits display to good effect how obnoxious a shounen hero character, with his obsessive competitiveness and tendency to drag others into his pace, can be in a real world setting. On the other hand, Akito is a much more likable character, but tends to play second fiddle to the partnership for some reason. The good news is starting from young boys, the two eventually mature as adults. Together, they are a formidable team, their genuine creative passion shines through the process of manga-making. It isn't just about sitting around and drawing, but about Moritaka wanting to fulfill the dream of his late uncle; it's about Moritaka's effort to continue when hospitalized; it's about Akito working on other projects, which Moritaka misinterprets and belittles himself for not able to bring out Akito's real ability. This forces Akito to come up with a new plot, but he underestimates himself, which Moritaka takes as... well, you get the idea.

Being very nice people, Moritaka and Miho aren't going to leap right into bed together. With the promise, their courtship is a halting one. Moritaka's devotion to manga has left him with little time that he has forced it upon himself that they shouldn't meet until they have fulfilled their dreams, and with some shyness that he rarely texts her. Couple that with Miho's own shyness - it's obvious that this is her first serious crush - and unwillingness to see him in person, and you get a relationship that moves extremely slow to the point that this they think about each other but afraid to see each other formula is sometimes an irritation, but they do come to understand one another well and the sentiment which develops between the two feels genuine.

It also helps that their romance isn't the only thing going on. At this point the series is as much about competing with other mangaka rivals. Its first extended arc is all about the duo's encounter main rival Nizuma pushes things in a more interesting direction. The determination to outclass Nizuma that the duo aim is probably the set's highlight, serving as the basis of its only real stab at big drama and also a slew of sweetly satisfying scenes of evolving friendship. The show quickly becomes unthinkable without Nizuma's goofiness or their mangaka buddies. Far from being just rivals, they are complicated, autonomous characters in their own right. It's a beautifully written bit of parallel characterization.

Rating: 9


Bakuman. is at its best when the focus shifts to the premise of the whole story in the first place: the art of manga-making. A complete different style of storytelling deserves a complete new form of art. For Obata this means presenting the lighter side of his character designs, which no longer have to carry the weight of Death Note's high fantasy. He has put a lot of effort into fabricating a world in which that doesn't seem so totally, idiotically impossible; Bakuman.'s world is overflowed with its detailed images.

And barring that, there's always the pretty pictures. J.C. Staff has created some rock-solid production values for its three years run. Not the eye-popping kind, but the nice, attractive and effective kind. The show in general is clean and colorful, and while dependent on the usual shortcut tool-kit the animation rarely looks cheap or unconvincing. It does get especially interesting when the series takes a closer look at the processes that go into the making of manga and the inner workings of a manga publishing house. As insurance against stagnation, the series continually introduces new and often strange or self-referential stylistic inventions. Miho often uses emoticons; the focus on the black-and-white of manga world and what it brings to the audience; and various sound effects are actually drawn into the anime and animated. In that sense, Bakuman. takes something from the real world, and makes a successful shounen premise out of it.

Rating: 8


Not in writing, which is solid and faithful for the most part. Not in casting, which is the same for the recurring characters and perfectly acceptable for the newcomers. The series is heavily character-driven. Bakuman. continues the winning streak with its fine cast. Abe Atsushi and Hino Satoshi attack the roles of Moritaka and Akito with bracing enthusiasm, the supporting cast is strong. The musical scoring uses a mixture of light-hearted and serious scenes with equal skill and knows when to be quiet, too. Along with the premise of the main duo's path to becoming professional mangaka and the romance subplot between them and the main female leads evokes the sense of an old-school classic romance.

Rating: 9


As pure shounen action series go, there are certainly stronger options out there, but none of them can match Bakuman.'s writings and few can equal it on the development of its central couple. This is not to say, however, that everything is executed perfectly. The series does have its humorous moments, too, and its ending, which is somewhat cut off many important parts of the original source. Curiously though, that isn't the purpose of the anime is to make a more interpretational ending than the manga. Trust Bakuman. to take what should have been done and turn it on its into a more satisfying end. One may have to muddle through some weak early episodes, but the late pay-off will certainly be worth it.

It's the end of the road for Bakuman., they say nice guys finish last. Not so in here. One of the series' many pleasures is simply watching three very young people chasing after their childhood dream and getting what they deserve: success.
Story: 8
Characters: 9
Art: 9
Animation: 8
Voice: 10
Music: 8
Overall: 9

+An effective charged how to guide into a coming-of-age narrative.
+Variety of visuals and polished artworks.
+Thoroughly gratifying conclusion to a lovely romance.
+Can be a little too honest for its own good.

Rating: 9

Final Verdict

8.83 (very good)

Reviewed by Weskalia, Apr 06, 2013


  1. CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Apr 29, 2013

    I'll be completely honest, while the premises of Bakuman intrigued me I was never interested enough to actually sit down and watch it. Having read a few chapters, I just didn't care much for it and felt it would easily enter the realm of "We can drag this out forever since the goal itself is a long term one".

    However, after reading your review and doing a bit more research it seems I couldn't of been further from the truth. Matter of fact, it actually sounds like an excellent journey.

    Which is where I get to the review itself. As always, you do a good job of pulling the reader in. You cover some fantastic points and really emphasize on what's so good about the series and what also might detract others as well. It's a lengthy, enjoyable read but not too long to where you feel overwhelmed. A problem that I've always had for my reviews.

    I'll definitely have to check out Bakuman sometime down the road! However, you did a nice job, Wes! I look forward to your next review!

  2. SnickerdoodleNinja Retired Moderator May 13, 2013

    Here are the judge comments from the contest!

    Judge 1:
    Thoroughness: overall, lots of aspects are well discussed, without going into spoiler territory. I liked how the presentation of the plot also included descriptions of the characters and their relationships, instead of listing them separately. Same goes for including a bit of backstory on the authors of the series and comparing Bakuman to their other major work, Death Note. However, the Sound section isn't too detailed, with the soundtrack only being described as a general part of the anime and not divided into BGM and voice acting.

    Style: some grammar mistakes and odd phrases here and there but the review is written in a way that is easy to follow and understand.

    Objectivity: not many personal opinions, instead relying on facts and comparisons to other anime to get the point across. Pretty objective, without being too formal or boring.

    Balance: the ratings for each section are justified and not exaggerated. However, not all sections of the review get the same amount of thought put into them, as the Sound one is fairly underdeveloped.


    Judge 2:
    Very thorough and very objective. However, there were quite a few punctuation errors in the story section, which disrupted the flow of the section. The beginning of the sound section was quite difficult for me to follow. Perhaps a bit more personality might have been nice; while the objectivity was great, when reviews become as long as this one there could stand to be more voice. Even if not as strong as some of the other reviews this reviewer has written in the past, this is a very good review.


    Judge 3:
    Lengthy, but thorough. The review gave a good overview of the series, even if the flow of it (especially in the Story and Characters section) could be a bit better. I think that a lot of the commentary in that particular section could have gone under Presentation. Speaking of which, very confused by the Presentation specific scoring. If each section is already given a score, why give another score breakdown?

    Some grammatical/punctuation errors (periods instead of commas), fragments, etc.


    If you want to see the break down scoring for each category for each judge, let me know and I'll get them to you.

    Great work, Wes, and thanks for competing! :)

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