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This is my first review, I hope I do it correctly.
I am trying to be as objective as possible, however, personal bias might affect the review.
Genres:Shounen, Slice of Life, Comedy, Romance, Drama
Publication:Weekly Shounen Jump
Start Date:August 2008
Number of chapters at review: 64
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 64
Moritaka Mashiro is a talented artist who grows up admiring his uncle, who works as a mangaka. After his uncle’s death, he buries his dream of becoming a mangaka and spends his days playing games and secretly drawing his crush, Azuki Miho, in class.
Mashiro’s mundane life ends when Takagi Akito persuades him to draw manga for his stories. Takagi’s persuasion and enthusiasm rekindle Mashiro’s long-forgotten dream. Together, they are working hard to be a successful mangaka that will revolutionize the manga world.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
Obata once again show off his skill in producing high-quality illustrations. His drawing is extremely detailed, yet he managed to avoid clutter. His drawing is clear and neat. The way he composes the panel and designs the page supports the storytelling. Viewing every page of Bakuman feels like a treat.
It is amazing that Ohba (and Obata) manage to make a potentially mundane thing such as the process of making manga exciting. The plot develops naturally; there is no super power, not much exaggeration. The storyline feels so real, and might actually happened in real life.
Every chapter is a gem. There’s always something exciting in every chapter, new problem, new plot points, new twist, and new resolve. The content for every chapter is very compact, every chapter always progress the storyline, there are no redundant plot points or scenes. It is clear that Ohba is a master storyteller.
Bakuman has quite a lot of characters, all of them are distinct and unique. They all have their own personality, aspiration, and quirks.
I am especially amazed with the character development. The newly-introduced characters feel cold and unlikeable. As the story progress more and more things are revealed about them, just like peeling an onion. The way the character develop feel like how you know a person in real life. They grow from a mere stranger into someone you might or might not like. You actually feel like you know them in person, they feel so REAL.
The overall theme is about achieving your dream… It is not only Mashiro and Takagi, most of the characters in Bakuman have a dream they want to achieve.
I have seen plenty of mangas about people who aspire to draw mangas and doujinshis… But none of them feels as real as Bakuman.
Bakuman is a good read for people who are looking for a realistic slice-of-life manga about mangakas (and things that revolve around it). Some of the characters in Bakuman are based on real-life people, which are WSJ’s editors. This is interesting, and you gain some insights (which might be a bit biased though…) about the process of creating mangas which we love so much…
It is a good blend of drama, romance and comedy. I have to say that the romance part is not the main focus of Bakuman, so don’t expect too many romance aspect from it.
Here's the link to Bakuman Vomic if you want to check out the first chapter of Bakuman. It is in Japanese, but an entertaining watch nonetheless.
Bakuman Vomic 1
Bakuman Vomic 2
Bakuman Vomic 3
Bakuman Vomic 4
Last edited by R4n; March 05, 2010 at 04:58 PM. Reason: bakuman's art evolution
Hmmm...sounds like an interesting read. You did well with your review.
I just gave it a read and i agree with your review for the most part.
The only exception is the plot score. In my opinion "9" is high. The plot just didn't seem like anything special to me. I'd probably have given it a "6-7". The plot works, and doesn't really drag the series down, but i didn't find myself hooked on that aspect of the series.
I think the characters, the originality of concept, and the theme of "following a dream" come together to make Bakuman good. The plot was just sorta functional, which is kind of disappointing from the mangaka of "Death Note"
Other than that small quibble, great review.
Last edited by Jammin; March 10, 2010 at 12:56 PM.
The art score should go down to 6.
Bakuman has nothing more than this comedy style recently,which Obata draws in a minute.He puts less effort into his drawings,one example:
Actually you just have to compare one of the earlier chapters with the latest chapters...
^ yup2... i know about the art devolution
I did this review a few months ago when the art was still not very "comical" and "stylized". Lately the art had been very simplified, and the backgrounds are not as detailed as before...
Obata now use the comical facial expression not only for comical moments, but on almost every single panels. Most probably this is because the slight shift in genre. The early chapters feel more like a slice of life drama, while these past few chapters it gets more comical. Personally i prefer the detailed art as well. Now that you put them side by side, it is easier to see the art devolution.
To be honest, i feel that even the art of the first few chapters of Bakuman is not as good as the one in Deathnote. But i tried not to be so unfair by comparing it with his earlier works. In my opinion, it still look detailed, and the paneling and storytelling is still clear, hence the score "9".
Because of the recent art devolution, i changed the score from "9" to "8", but for some people it might still too high... well, i understand why. But as long as the storytelling is still clear, i will give it high score.
Last edited by R4n; March 11, 2010 at 03:19 PM.
I think almost every fan perfers the detailed artwork, for obvious reasons. Obata coloured pictures are as good as always, volume 7 cover looked absolutely amazing. The recent spread was one of the best spreads I have ever seen. I wouldn't rate the art as low as 6. The problem lies in that the art was AMAZING at the beinging, but the art is still very nice to the eye and clean. I would say it still deserves a 7.5 or something.
I personally would like to see more about Azuki's seiyuu career, since I'm such as seiyuu freak... Her being voiced by Kana-chan in the Vomic doesn't help, she has the moe-st voice since Tange Sakura...>////<
How do people define plot? Nothing much really happens. It's a character driven slice of life manga with shounen jump like elements in it. I have no idea how to rate the 'plot'.
^ ya i would agree that the cover art looks very good. The problem lies in the manga art itself.
I recently reread Deathnote and Hikaru no go. When i compare them to Bakuman art now... i can't help but feel very sad.
In my opinion, I do think a good plot is the one that is have a certain goal(s) they would like to achieve, and the one that left you hanging and wanting more more. The storyline should go towards that certain goal, with enough twists and surprises to keep the interest of the reader. It should have conflict and conclusion.
Inconsistency does not make a good plot. That's why i believe most writers should know how they would like the story to end and what the story is supposed to be.
Of course, it is a plus if the said story is unpredictable and does not follow a certain convention.
Last edited by R4n; March 11, 2010 at 12:54 PM.
Well, at the beginning I was interested because I wanted to see how Obata and Ohba would put their experiences together to create a manga.
I think it's clever to draw a manga about Japans bestselling shounen manga magazine. (More editor support because of covert advertising.)
The story is entertaining most of the time and although Obatas drawing style changed to a more mainstream type I still like it.
Maybe he thought it would fit better to the story.
After all it's no plot with the typical "Death Note" atmosphere.
Wow, it had been almost a year and half since i wrote this review. My opinion on Bakuman has changed drastically. ^^;;
First, i am a bit disappointed at how narrow Bakuman plot is. It is no longer 'a manga about a manga'... it is about 'how to write a popular manga in Weekly Shounen Jump'. I am just a bit sad because i was hoping it will cover a wider range of topic... instead of 'meaningless success measured by number of votes and statistics'. Personally a great manga is not measured by petty things like that... (sorry for the strong language). Yes, yes i understand that low ranking means getting cancelled, but that is not really my point.
Second, i feel that Bakuman built up a lot of potentially interesting subplots only to have them ended anti-climatically and abruptly. The manga feels like... and episodic sitcom rather than an Ashirogi Muto's epic hero's journey.
You can say that i am disappointed because it doesn't develop according to my expectation rather than me judging it objectively.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shounen
Author: Ohba Tsugumi
Artist: Obata Takeshi
Publication: Shounen Jump (Weekly)
Start Date: Aug 8, 2008
Number of chapters at review:166
Number of chapters read by reviewer:166
Mashiro Moritaka (Saikou) and Takagi Akito (Shuujin) are a couple of everyday high school students only at the very first sight. In reality, they both share one dream. And that dream is to become mangaka. On one hand we have Saikou, who has a notable talent as an artist. On the other hand we have Shuujin, a role model student, with clear talent for writing stories. Now all that’s left is adding a little chemistry and combining these two elements which will result in creating the most energetic and creative mangaka duo, the world has ever seen. WSJ, prepare yourself, because here comes Ashirogi Muto!
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
To make it short, Bakuman’s art is clean. To make it long, Bakuman’s art is detailed, realistic and original. Being created by a two-man duo it allows one part to focus on the story, while the other completely absorbs himself with the art. Like mentioned above, Obata’s strongest point lies in realism. Realistic body proportions, with realistic facial expressions as well as realistic backgrounds, which vary from “inside” studios filled with tons of bookshelves and desks or “outside” parks with trees and branches make you experience a whole new level of manga-reading.
Aside from the to the realism factor, Obata made a name for himself by creating numerous unique and remarkable character designs. Practically speaking, although he can be sometimes clumsy (judging by his own standards ofc), he still manages to maintain and provide a high enough level of his artistic capabilities, which result in Bakuman’s art being able to compete with the likes of Air Gear or Berserk. (I haven’t read the later, but I heard it’s supposed to have real good art )
Bakuman’s plot has a little trick to it. The story follows two young boys who want to become professional mangaka. And hence they create a manga themselves. But the point is that at times, you become more interested in what happens in their manga than what actually happens in Bakuman. Yeah, it sounds complicated, but once you’ll read it, you’ll understand. A nice side-effect of the plot is that Bakuman gives you the necessary information that allows you to look at the real life WSJ from another POV. Bakuman will literally change the way you read manga. On a more practical note, Bakuman’s plot is a steadily evolving solid story. Its respectively big variety of genres, varying from comedy, over action, all the way to romance, give Bakuman an all-included type of feeling. It features practically no filler arcs until late into the story (somewhere around chapter 120-130 IIRC) so it will keep your attention span constantly attracted.
Bakuman’s characters are Bakuman’s lifeforce. They keep the manga alive. Ohba is known for creating some of the best written characters, while Obata is known for making some of the best character designs. Though, IMHO, a character’s “inner life” is more important than his outside, simply because his outfit stays the same through the majority of the storyline (time-skips being an exception), while a character’s inner attributes constantly change, constantly evolve throughout the story. And that’s where Ohba’s real strength lies. He managed to create such a number characters, all of which have their very own specific personality, that it allowed him to create a full cast of unique and original characters.
Bakuman can be summarized with two themes. “Manga” and “achieving your dreams”. It features both the technical and the social aspects of being a mangaka. The technical aspect focuses on the whole preparation process, starting from coming up with the original storyline, and ending with handing the finished manuscript to your editor. The social aspect on the other hand shows the personal life of a mangaka. It depicts the way his family reacts when they find out about his decision, the way his personal life style changes due to a mangaka’s work schedule and last but not least, how unimaginably hard it is to become a professional mangaka in japans most famous magazine.
A manga about manga is so obvious, that it’s astonishing why there is only such a small amount of series about that topic. Actually, I could name only two if you’d ask me, with Bakuman being without question the more popular one. Bakuman is what you call a “non-mainstream manga”, what increases its originality aspect a priori. But that’s not enough to receive a 10 from me for this section.
The thing that makes Bakuman one of the most original manga I have read is it’s story. It shows those aspects, that not a single manga before Bakuman did. Yes, there are other manga about manga, but Bakuman was the first one to bring this theme to such a high level. If you haven’t priory studied or at least spent some time thinking about the things that happen behind those 19 pages that you read every week than Bakuman will be a bomb speaking in terms of new information.
The fact that this manga is made by the creators of Death Note speaks for itself. And this fact is used by both kinds of readers. Those who love Bakuman and those who don’t. Note, they don’t hate it. They simply don’t love it. That’s a difference. But my point is, I read Bakuman even before I had the slightest idea about DN’s existent, and still loved it. Bakuman is that type of manga that can steal your breath like the biggest mainstream battle manga. It can move your heart and literally make you cry a river like the deepest shoujo love stories. It can make you laugh like the funniest comedies. It can consume you like the most interesting detective’s and it can give you the best feeling that you get after reading a good one-shot. If you have the possibility to read – do it. You won’t regret it