I’ve never really said much about Bakuman. here (besides ranting how the anime doesn’t do it justice) but now that it has ended, I just have to. Out of the hundreds of manga I’ve read I am not afraid to say this ends up as my favorite.
It has its problems here and there, but what Bakuman. always had, and consistently so until the end, is its willpower and energy (which the anime failed to replicate in oh so many levels). There was always that drive in Takagi and Mashiro to be better, not only for their dreams, but for their own. They always realize that it’s not in their personality to be satisfied with just being average (Tanto arc, PCP not getting an anime) and it always drove them to create a piece even better than before (PCP, Reversi). Well of course the main motivation for the Ashirogi team was for them to get an anime in which Miho will be the voice actress and sometime along the way, because of this motivation, I became so immersed and also drove myself to excellence in what I do with motivations I had.
Of course you cannot talk about Bakuman. without talking about its wild and diverse cast of characters. My favorite has to be Hiramaru-sensei and his editor. They always have these jabs that never go old. There’s the cold then turned lovely Aoki-sensei, the trashy Fukuda-sensei, and of course the main rival, Niizuma-sensei. Each characters personalities reflect the manga they are making. Personally I never really had that much infatuation with the main cast, but I never really hated them. I love all the editors though and their ways of caring for their mangakas, especially Hattori.
The main selling point of Bakuman. is its insights to the whole manga industry. “Popular = Best” is what’s important in Shonen Jump. From names/storyboards, to questionnaires, to rankings, to the editor’s department, Bakuman. really gave you an inside feel to the industry.Of course there’s that whole “It’s a manga about a manga” cynicism (and maybe that’s why the anime failed) and that was the main catch for me.
The Death Note duo, Ohba-Obata, created a gainax-stylized pump-ish feel to complement its never-ending competition theme (something the anime failed to realize). The whole story seems to mirror the duo’s own personal experiences and opinions, something I always loved. I especially loved the way Ashirogi Muto ended Reversi as a complete story (never dragged or anything) and how it somehow mirrored the way Death Note was done. In Death Note’s time, it was probably one of the most popular manga, but Ohba-Obata decided to end it when it needed to end. Actually, based on rumors, Death Note was actually supposed to end halfway through the story, with Light dying instead of L but the editors didn’t want to because its popular. Still Bakuman. addressed these issues SJ had (along with other problems) and I can’t thank Bakuman enough for doing this.
Bakuman. is my favorite manga of all time. What I wrote here doesn’t even do justice to how good it is. EVERYONE GO READ IT NOW THAT IT’S FINISHED.