If there is one thing to say about this show, it’s don’t judge a book by a cover. Or in anime terms, don’t judge a series by its first few episodes. If I had dropped this show after three episodes I would have left behind a pretty entertaining series. Those had those teenage angst feeling with its “it’s us against the world” kind of thing. After that, I was able to dive into what the story was trying to do and figure out how likeable the cast is. Bakuman isn’t flawless, but then again what is?
The plot of Bakuman is pretty simple. These two Junior High kids want to become popular manga artists in such a way that their work gets an anime and one of them gets to marry their dream girl. In its simplicity comes the complexity. The various characters along the way, the hard ships, the rough patches in their partnership, and a whole host of other things that are completely unexpected.
Bakuman’s characters are pretty simple to. While they have enough depth to them to make them at least feel human, not much character exploration goes between the main two characters. There are also a lot of characters that get minimal screen time and mostly get pushed off to the side. The wannabe manga artists, Akito Takagi and Moritaka Mashiro, talk to each other a lot exploring their hopes, their dreams, and what their next story ideas are. For the story and plot of this anime, it works just fine.
The art and animation of Bakuman is average at best and the character designs are enough for each character to stand out from each other and gives each person a bit of personality. Each background is nothing to shake a stick at either, though I don’t understand why I used this expression and why people would want to shake a stick at things. They are hardly imaginative, but they do the job. Anyway, the very fact that this is an anime about want people to make anime gives the fun of making some openings and other bits of animation from shows that exist in that universe. It adds more to the atmosphere.
Okay, now for the major flaw of Bakuman. I am pretty sure this show is sexist. Say what you want about the main character marrying the girl of her dreams after both of their dreams are achieved, that’s fine I think. It has to do with Takagi’s girlfriend Kaya. She has a big chest, wears either short skirts or short shorts to emphasize her long legs, and plays the secretary or even mom character for these two manga artists. She serves them drinks and cooks them dinner from time to time. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem right to me. This could also linger onto Mashiro’s mom, but in the long run I don’t think so. She just wants the best for her kid in her own way and she has some dreams of her own. As long as you are aware of these issues, then go ahead and watch it.
To wrap up this review of Bakuman, it’s pretty alright. It’s nothing too intellectual or complex, but it isn’t trying to be. The anime’s job is to gives the watcher a story that they can get behind and that’s not a hard thing with this show. After a while, the show well just grab you and make you watch more of it. Getting caught up in the quest of these two manga artists trying their best to get their material into an anime is what makes the show what it is. By entertainment value alone it’s worth watching. Just be careful of some of its underlying themes and plot elements.