Bakuman – initial impressions

October 4, 2010 at 7:12 pm 4 comments

“Manga is the national pride of Japan! We’re going to leave our mark on history with manga!”

Takagi teaching Mashiro how to dance Village People style

It goes without saying that often how well an anime series turns out is directly dependent on how good the original manga is. I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll do so now again. Bakuman looks like one of the more promising shows this season, with its engaging premise and generally interesting characters. However it definitely does share some flaws with the original manga.

*dynamic pose*

Good things first: Bakuman has a really interesting story and premise. The ins and outs of the manga/anime industry have seldom been touched upon in actual manga/anime, so it’s good to see a show that doesn’t belong to the generic harem trope that we seem to come across every season now. I liked where Tsugumi and Takeshi took (and are taking) the manga, so the anime should be just as entertaining as well.


The humour (based on this first episode anyway) was actually pretty funny, and it wasn’t overdone. Takagi’s portrayal is reminiscent of a certain Kida Masaomi from Durarara!! except smarter and less angsty-bitch. The character of Mashiro is however less engaging, him being a member of a growing Kyon-character type: neither a jock nor a nerd, a cynical average Joe. Seriously, mangakas and anime producers seriously need to put some thought into their male characters.

Marriage - it's a strange thing.

Where Bakuman falls is its credibility or ‘believability’ factor. On one hand, while it does try to attempt to tackle the world of mangakas in a somewhat realistic manner, the romance element, like in the original manga, is somewhat forced and almost too convenient to be true.

They can't believe it either.

That being said, it’s this quirky relationship between Azuki and Mashiro that definitely drives the show, whether it be realistic or not. Everyone loves a good romantic yarn, and so I’m willing to let this off the hook, as long as the anime draws out the manga’s best qualities: it’s plot and characters.

Takagi attempting to pull one of the oldest pranks in the book.

One thing to note though: 10 volumes have been released for the manga, so I’m assuming the anime will either (a) end with an anime-specific ending; or (b) conclude with a major ‘arc’, allowing for a second season to go through. I personally hope for (a) as there have been too many instances of (b) in the anime industry to count. It’s sad how DVD sales these days tend to determine whether a second season goes ahead, rather than whether a second season is needed or not.

Coz heroes are cool...

Regardless of what I’ve just said, Bakuman is a must-watch this season for those who enjoy romance, slice-of-life, or those who simply want to watch something a little different.

OP (proper, not the opening parody): the song is admittedly pretty flat. Visuals are also fairly generic.

ED: I like what they did here: interesting art style definitely inspired by manga; the song isn’t bad either.

"OMG! A show that doesn't feature 5 females undressing in front of a pathetic excuse of a man!"


Entry filed under: Anime.

Demotivator of the week #37 Iron Man – initial impressions

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. justam  |  October 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Hey, Kyon’s are easy to relate to. Somewhat. Relatable characters help sell the show. Although I would have to say Mashiro here isn’t as cynical as Kyon (he was downright pessimistic at times)… perhaps a more suiting word in this instance would be realistic?

    I’d say the anime’s off to a solid start – it might not have done much with the plot yet, but it sure has done a fair bit with characterisation – for Mashiro anyway…

  • 2. ippius  |  October 4, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Kyon was a fan-bloody-tastic character in Haruhi, and is definitely one of favourite, if not, most favourite male anime characters.

    It goes without saying that his personality is, like you said, very relatable.

    I think Kyon should generally stay in Haruhi and not wander off into the woods 😛

    we hav many types of female characters, from the soft spoken, the brazen and sporty, and, of course, everyone’s favourite: tsunderes (almost always a loli), and even NOW we find these personalities repetitive. On the other hand, we pretty much only have 2 types of male protagonists: your growingly popular Kyon-esque male, and your generic cowardly, lame chick magnet who only becomes ‘manly’ periodically.

    • 3. justam  |  October 4, 2010 at 9:45 pm

      wait, haven’t you left out a third category – those inexplicably attractive bishie guys who are good at absolutely everything?

      And yes, Kyon left a pretty strong impression on me too. Haruhi was one of the first few shows I ventured into as I left the mainstream shounen shows, and at that point in time, I hadn’t encountered a cynical average Joe. It was definitely a huge change to see him get dragged around rather reluctantly through some extraordinary events. Having said that, Koizumi left an even bigger impact on me (ok, not the gay vibes), but his hand movements. At some stage, I picked up his animated hand movements while talking. Some of that’s still with me…

  • 4. ippius  |  October 4, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    LOL i totally forgot about the bishies. MY BAD!


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