Series Name: Bakuman.
Year of Serialization: 2008
Author(s): Tsugumi Ohba
Artist(s): Takeshi Obata
Genre(s): Comedy, Slice of Life, Romance
Current Status: Both anime and manga finished.
Moment of Reviewing: All three seasons of the anime finished.
The plot begins when Moritaka Mashiro, a junior high student, forgets his notebook in class. His classmate, Akito Takagi, notes Mashiro's drawings in it and asks him to become a manga artist to his stories. Mashiro declines, citing his late uncle, a manga artist, who died from overwork. Takagi incites Mashiro to meet with Miho Azuki, Mashiro's crush, and tells her the two plan to become manga artists. In response, Azuki reveals her plans to be a voice actress. Mashiro proposes to her that they should both marry when Azuki becomes a voice actress for the anime adaptation of their manga. The two then start creating their manga, under the pen name Muto Ashirogi, in hopes of getting serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump.
At first when I came across this anime, I honestly thought its concept was quite refreshing, two middle school students aiming to become accomplished mangaka, but you'd think it's pretty straightforward and cliché by following the pattern of a regular shounen anime/manga ,no? Well it is, but the reason I like this show above many others is due to the aspect of realism utilised so efficiently. The struggles these two experience throughout in their journey is immense and relate to what a real life mangaka may be presented with themselves. It allows you as the reader/watcher to almost dive into this virtual world and experience all the mixed feelings conveyed during the entire behind the scenes production of a manga series beginning from a basic manuscript up till its serialisation in Shounen Jump (Jack in anime). Romance is also something that can be explored within this anime. Yay, let's make this all the more cliché, shall we? But I in fact really enjoyed it as it may have been done very simply but it flows very nicely and drives the story forward instead of holding it back which is something that I have noticed to be the case in many other shows. This show is also extremely diverse with having many comedy relief moments and then completely contrast with extremely serious moments which can keep you on the edge of your seat. Finally, the morale of this show is "motivation"; despite any obstacles in the way the Ashirogi attempt to clear them backed by their individual dreams and something they have shared something in common throughout their career, to be the most successful mangaka!
The characters are one of the key reasons I thoroughly enjoyed this show. Protagonists and Antagonists, whilst being completely opposite to each other literally, they all share something in common in this show, dreams. Whilst these dreams may be differ from one another, it still means they can be ambitious and hard working in their forte, a key feature of this anime. Each character is also shown to have a certain personality which differentiates them from others and makes them quite memorable, this is something which doesn't set Bakuman apart from other shounen series but it does mean that it doesn't lack any components required for making an anime enjoyable.
The art in my opinion is fairly simple but it's pretty good with vivid colours and highly appropriate for a slice of life anime and doesn't detract from the excellent storyline. The music in general is also pretty good and the first opening in the series describes the story almost identically, with its slow pace and its mellow nature and all of the music in general perfectly aligns with the slice of life genre.
Overall, I highly recommend this anime or even manga if you prefer reading to watching to anyone, it separates itself from other shounens by having a unique storyline and manipulates realism to cause tension and comedy relief with its depth, something which adds to its entertainment value and makes this one of the better animes out there.