(For those unfamiliar with the terms: Anime are Japanese animated cartoons, and Manga are Japanese comic books.)
To be more correct, Bakuman started as a Manga about making Manga. More curiously, it was created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, the same duo responsible for Death Note, a very dark Manga about people using a magical book to kill others. Who’d though they’d create such a sweet, yet realistic series- not to mention one that makes the subject matter so interesting? Talented creators indeed!
I haven’t seen the Bakuman Manga; and I only recently started watching the Anime based on it. Yet it has become one of my favorites, despite not having any fantastic or action elements in it. That’s very unusual from me, believe it! Rather, it’s the story and the characters that have me hooked.
The story is about two teenagers, Moritaka and Takagi, who join forces to make a Manga (turns out this is unusual, most Manga are written and drawn by the same person; of course, 14-year-old Mangakas (Manga creators) are even rarer!) This is complicated by Moritaka and his girlfriend being so obsessed over romantic ideals that they swear not to marry -or even speak!- until they achieve their dreams! (She wants to be an Anime voice actress, and they agree she’ll voice a character on the show they are *sure* will be made about his Manga.) This of course proves harder than they expected, especially when the reality of how many years they will be apart from each other if they follow that plan begins to sink in. If the show has a fantastic element, it’s that; How many people would make such a vow, much less expect not to change their minds along the way? And yet, the characters are so likeable, you tend to forgive it.
Further complicating matters is their Professional Rival, Eiji. Now THIS is a quirky character. A 15-year-old Manga Genius, so talented he has the backing of the magazine Moritaka and Takagi want to work at. But the only thing he thinks about *is* Manga. He might be autistic. And yet, in a twist I didn’t see coming, he actually befriends our heroes rather than becoming a bitter enemy. They are still competitors though.
Also, Takagi has his own girlfriend, the somewhat overly-aggressive Miyoshi. She unwittingly comes between the friends by drawing Takagi’s attention away from his work.
I’m far from done watching the series. There’s about 50 subtitled episodes on Hulu and I have only seen the first dozen or so. But I intend to watch them all. I can already assure you, this is one great show and I recommend it for people curious about the process of making Manga, as well as those who like Romantic Dramas (with a touch of Comedy added.)