Hi guys!! So break for me has started, thank god, and break means that I get to watch more anime, blog some more, and also work on the class that I decided to take over break at the last minute. Hahaha. Anyway, so I wanted to get this review out of the way as the first official post after break and wanted to let you all know that in the days leading up to the end of the year, there will be a year-end wrap-up and then a few lists of what some of my favorite openings, endings, and a few other things. There will also be the regular wrap-up at the end of the season. So there is the announcement portion.
On to the review!! The anime that I am reviewing today is one of the animes that I originally watched a long time ago. I have heard a lot of people say that this is one of the most encouraging shows that they have ever watched, and I would have to agree. After watching this show, I always felt really driven to do things I had dreamed about and encouraged me when I was unsure of myself. This is a good motivational anime to watched. Like seriously.
So here is my 25th Anime Review for a show that encouraged me to follow my dreams, that sounded cheesy: Bakuman.
Bakuman is based off of a manga by the same name that was released from August 2008 to April 2012 with the story lasting for 20 volumes. The anime was first released as a part of the Fall 2010 Anime Season, airing between October 2010 and lasted for a total of 25 episodes before ending in March 2011. A second season titled Bakuman 2 began airing in October 2011 and also lasted for 25 episodes until it finished in March of 2012. Later in 2012, the third season, Bakuman 3, began airing in October and it also lasted for 25 episodes and ended in March of 2013. That brings the Bakuman anime to a total of 75 episodes.
The story of Bakuman begins with third-year middle school student Moritaka Mashiro who is contemplating what he wants to do with his life. I think we have all felt this as some point, right? Anyway, so one day Mashiro forgets his notebook, that is full of his drawings, in his classroom. Upon going to retrieve it, Mashiro encounters classmate Akito Takagi who has seen Mashiro’s drawings. Takagi asks Mashiro to create a manga with him where Takagi writes the story and Mashiro draws the pictures. Mashiro declines because his uncle, who was a mangaka, died due to overworking himself. However, Takagi does not give up that easy. Takagi convinces Mashiro to meet with his crush, Miho Azuki, and when they do meet up Takagi tells Miho about them becoming manga artist. Miho then proceeds to tell them that she dreams of becoming a manga artist. Mashiro then suddenly proposes to Miho that the two of them should get married after she voices the main character of an anime adaption of their mangas, to which she agrees. The two then work to become successful mangakas and make their dreams come true under the pen name Ashirogi Muto.
The story that Bakuman tells is one that I believe is very character driven. There are no outside forces that are affecting what is going on within the story. The conflict comes from other characters driving to do the same thing that Takagi and Mashiro are. It tells the story of characters who are working to make their own dreams come true. The characters working so hard is what I believe makes Bakuman have such an encouraging story. If there is a downside to the story it is that face that at times it seems to drag on. With its basis surrounding the creation of a manga, there are episodes devoted to working on a chapter or making sure that they meet a certain deadline. It happened a few times in this anime, but I promise they do end eventually. There are also major plotlines that surround certain characters which I loved because it means that we get to know this cast of characters very well. The story had moments were I was laughing so hard I almost peed (you know that feeling, right?), some moments when I was an emotional wreck, and every emotion in between.
The first of the characters is Moritaka Mashiro. He is often called “Saiko” by Takagi because it is an alternate reading of the kanji in his name. He begins the story not really caring too much as to what he is going to do with his life. As the story goes on, Mashiro evolves a lot from not caring too much to be really devoted to his work as a mangaka. He finds motivation in his late uncle who was unable to fulfill a lot of his own dreams because of his early passing. One thing I liked about Mashiro is how awkward he got at certain times. There were times when he would be so upfront and courageous and caring but then there were times he was also very shy and worried about something being strange. He was so awkwardly adorable that I could not help but love him. He works very well as a main character because we get to see him go through so many different events and conflicts in his life, and as a result we really got to see him grow as a person.
Next is Akito Takagi or “Shujin” as Mashiro usually calls him, the nickname also happens to be an alternate reading of the kanji in his first name. Takagi is the one who comes up with the storylines of the manga that he and Mashiro write. Takagi tends to be a little on the funny side and likes to sneak jokes into the stories that are actually very serious. One thing that I like about Takagi is that he really helps to get Mashiro motivated when he is down. He acts as to motivator to help get his friend back on track and keep the two working towards achieving their dream. However, Takagi is not just a motivator. He is his own character. During the course of the show, he goes through his own issues and develops a lot on his own. Takagi works as his own individual person, apart from Mashiro, but is always there if his friend needs him.
Next is Miho Azuki who Mashiro has had a crush on for years. She dreams of being a voice actress and works very hard to make her dream come true. Her character is really cute and innocent and is always there when Mashiro needs her, just like he is there for her. A few times in the story Miho goes through her own problems dealing with trying to become a voice actress and what she is comfortable doing. There are times when she does not get too much screen time, but you can still tell that she plays a very important role in the story. The one thing that kind of throws me off is how easily he accepted Mashiro’s marriage proposal when they were only like…. fourteen…. but I guess since she liked him too it was okay. That just seemed a little off to me. Other than that she was a very good character, despite sitting in a mainly supportive role.
The final character is Kaya Miyoshi who is the main love interest for Takagi. Wait? Is that a spoiler? Um…moving on. Kaya is a classmate of the main duo as well as a close friend to Miho. Kaya suffers from having very low self-esteem (I have been there) and thinks that anyone who compliments her is lying. As the story progresses, she gradually gets over this issue. Kaya is very good at martial arts which causes a lot of people to be a little scared of her. She is the one who comes up with the pen name “Ashirogi Muto” which comes from Azuki (A), Mashiro (Shiro), Takagi (gi), and the Japanese characters for “dream” and “come true” (Muto). Her character from the show is very much a supporting character who is always there to help when someone else needs it. Her relationship with Takagi is cute, and the way she gets along with Mashiro is nice as well. She is a very well rounded character despite being stuck in the supporting role.
As for the other character, well there is quite a few of them. There are a whole bunch of other mangakas who are published/were published in the same magazine as Ashirogi Muto, the assistants who are hired to help all the mangakas out, the editing staff at “Weekly Shonen Jump”, and a mixture of a whole bunch of other characters. The cast is pretty large, and not all of the characters are developed, but they are very fun to see how they interact with each other. I believe with a show that is so driven by its characters, it is important to have a cast that interact well with one another. The way they conflict and motivate each other is nicely done and it is what really helps to make the show as good as it is.
Bakuman was done by the animation studio J.C. Staff and they did all three seasons. This studio has also produced shows such as Slayers, Shakugan no Shana, and Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma. The animation was very well done. The movements were fluid and the character designs were well done. The animation was well up to the standards of the other anime that aired along with it. It was well done. The overall soundtrack was….okay. Only a few of the songs made it onto my iPod in the end. My favorite song would probably be the opening theme from Bakuman 2: “Dream of Life” by Shuhei Itou. That song was my favorite from the whole show, the other pieces were just ….okay.
In the end I award Bakuman with an A. This is one of my favorite shows and it holds a special place in my heart. The story is very character driven which is good because the character cast is very nicely done. Sure some characters are not all well developed, but those that we spend a lot of time with are, which I believe is more important. I enjoyed the way that all of the characters interacted and the way that they motivated each other. Mashiro and Takagi’s friendship is one of my favorite friendships in anime. Additionally, the relationship between Mashiro and Azuki was adorable. The interactions between the two of them were both awkward and adorable, and I loved it. It was so cute. This anime is one of my favorites and gives us a look into the world of writing manga. I do not know exactly how accurate of a portrayal it is, but it was interesting to me. It may be lacking in the soundtrack area, but everywhere else makes up for it. If you have not seen it yet I would definitely give it a try.
So that is all that I have for my 25th Anime Review!! What do you guys think? Have you seen Bakuman? What did you think of it? Who was your favorite character? Anything else you want to add? Let me know down in the comments below!!
See you next time!!