The World Ain't So Small After All.

Bakuman: First Impression

 

Death by pen? Again? Really?

 

BOTTOM LINE

Future mangakas of the world, unite! This one’s for you!

Air Date: 10/2/10

Studio: J.C. Staff

Plot: Moritaka Mashiro, a junior high school student, content to live out a relatively normal life as any other does, is persuaded by his classmate, Akito Takagi, to become an aspiring mangaka when the latter realizes his natural talent as an artist. However, Moritaka is reluctant to pursue his dream as his uncle, once a mangaka with his own serializations, died from overwork trying to regain his lost status. With Akito’s help, Takagi gets another classmate and his school crush, Azuki Miho, who is an aspiring voice actress, to voice in the anime adaptation of their future manga once it is completed. However, Mashiro also proposes to Azuki, who surprisingly accepts only on the condition she will marry him when both of them have achieved their dreams. With a goal set before him, Mashiro begins a long and struggling path to become a famous mangaka. (From ANN)

To be frank, I’ve been waiting for something like this for a LONG time. As an amateur mangaka myself, I could tell this was gonna be interesting from the summary—I heard somewhere that the manga goes into what it’s like to be a Jump mangaka, and if that’s true, this is gonna be the sickest, most ground-breaking thing since some random cavemen figured out that round objects can be used to move things faster.

I’m dead serious. I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of a plot like this. I mean, I’ve read Andrew Clements’ The School Story (twice), but…that’s different. That’s way different. I wasn’t an otaku back then. That was about publishing a book. Anybody can do that. And everyone knows that it takes tons more work to publish a manga and have it actually GET a reception; build a fanbase, improve your drawing, etc. Which is just what makes this show all the more intriguing. And if it gives an inside scoop on Jump like they say, then well, well, well, this is gonna be freaking juicy. Titania likes, nya~!

Okay, let’s get down to it: the beginning may or may not look like a cliche, depending on how you look at it (needless to say, this show’s gonna get totally ripped on some other blog somewhere for it); however, I’ve gotta say, I can actually relate to this Mashiro guy. It’s kinda creepy, really; we’re actually the same age. (YES I “RELATE” TO ANIME CHARACTERS, URUSAI AND DON’T TRY TO TELL ME YOU DON’T THINK THEY’RE REAL, TOO.) And I actually went through the same things last year, picking out a high school (haha to the Japanese school system, he’s still got another year of middle school left). I mean, it’s the standard “What’s the point in living in this world? I guess I’ll just have to go along with the flow so that I can please everybody and pay the water bill and be my emo self” bit, but, you know, even I’ve thought that way at some points. I still am. (Okay, I totally phrased that in the wrong way: I’m not emo, I just wonder about what kind of job I’d wanna get when I grow up. Don’t know if you could hear that, my emo foot was already halfway down my freaking emo throat.) Um, fox passes aside: So he’s having all these thoughts about all the pressure the adults put on him and all that why-am-I-here stuff, and then he’s got a crush on some moe chick that he draws pictures of in his Death Note.

Stopping there: yes, his Death Note. I think now would be a good time to bring up that the very mangaka duo that CREATED Death Note (Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata) created Bakuman. And there are some definite art similarities; however, I think it’s safe to say that Obata’s drawing may have changed a weeeee bit since DN. But that’s not all the irony of it: anyway, Mashiro leaves his Death Math Book inside his desk, and comes back later to find Light Yagami some dude sitting on a desk in his classroom, holding said Death Math Book and claiming to be the all-seeing guru because he sits in the back of the room. Mashiro is getting royally ticked because he wants to go home and study so he can please his parents and live a miserable life and die alone, but then Light the guy (whose name is Light Akito Takagi) questions him about it, and, somehow, he references Death Note. I left that out so I jammed it in~ I’ll just try to type out the conversation:

MASHIRO: (to himself) My notebook! Did he find out I like Azuki?

LIGHT YAGAMI: Why so serious? It’s not like it’s a Death Note, right?

Of course, I thought of the Joker first…but whatever.

As if I wasn’t lawling enough at that, the outer-anime references didn’t stop. I’ve always wanted an anime where they referenced others…I mean, when they showed a shot of an imaginary bookstore in Light’s Takagi’s fantasy, they showed a SPECIFIC shot of a stack of Hikaru no Go tankobon volumes (pffft worst plotline I’ve ever heard, zero chance of me watching/reading any more of that, so don’t ask me), and of course he mentiones Dragonball and One Piece at Azuki’s house. I mean, Dragonball was to be expected, but One Piece?! Seriously?!

Ah, and the marriage proposal~ I love it when fails become wins…So poor Mashiro just so happens to be at Azuki’s when he starts thinking about the story his mangaka uncle told him about a girl he loved but never saw after middle school and wanted to marry, and then he (of course) blurts out a proposal. She was a seiyuu, he was a mangaka, can I make it any more obvious? (I couldn’t resist!)

But it gets better: of course, the moe has to take a spaz and run back inside. (I swear, I’m gonna dedicate a whole post to the Law of Moe one of these days.) And HE’S left to take his own spaz at his motormouth, while both the viewer and Light Takagi take spazzes at the situation itself. But then—get this—Miho calls back out on her house’s intercom and accepts. Right there, she tells him yes to the marriage proposal. (As expected, Mashiro and Light Takagi’s faces are PRICELESSSSS!!!11) But then, for some random reason that I will most likely not understand until either the next episode or the last, she tells him that they “can’t see each other until their dreams come true.” And then they can just randomly get married. Either this is one twisted moe, or there’s some sort of deeper meaning behind this; of course, I was sitting there going “WUUUUT?” for, like, five minutes after the episode ended.

 

Congrats, you're marrying the moe!

 

So, now we’ve got a ninth-grade mangaka duo, a moe seiyuu with a twisted sense for romance (masochism?), a member of said duo that mixes Light’s look with Spongebob’s personality (WUUUUT?), and a plot that I swear to Haruhi I’ve never seen. It’s one A.M. and I just had my first homecoming dance, so I’m wiped and I’ve gotta sign off (by the way: homecoming = another word for SNOOORE.). Whatever…I’ve got high hopes for this show. Very high hopes. And if it lives up to them, I will be the happiest little mangaka in da world~ And so, for my first impression, I’m giving it a 4.7 out of 5. Which is awesome for my first review on TechnoSora! xDD Happy us!

Ja mata!

–チタニア (Titania)

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