The weekends are always fun but we can always have fun during the week as well. Say it’s Thursday, and you’re looking for something to do with the kids. Well, now there’s something to do. Try out Family Night, on the second Thursday of every month until December 13th down at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. And speaking of industry, last week we started up on a piece that showed in part the industry of manga and anime. So you know what? Let’s keep going with that theme. Today, we’re going to tackle the series Bakuman.
Bakuman is the story of two high school boys planning out their futures. You have Moritaka Mashiro, the artist, who’s just our plan “nothing is going to change” character. Then you have Akito Takagi, the writer, who is a grand enthusiast about aiming high and getting his stories out there. The first volume, and really the entire manga and anime, circles about the path these two take. Now, the premise of this shonen isn’t the usual “SAVE THE WORLD!!!” type thing. This shonen is more of a guidebook or a testimonial about what mangaka or manga creators have to go through in their day to day and ‘a’ possible way for them to start out.
Now the shonen struck a chord when choosing it. First off, this is done by some of the same people who did the ever popular, Death Note. But Tsugumi Ohba, Shueisha, and Takeshi Obita took a very realistic approach to this piece of work. There’s no supernatural and no aliens; it’s just real world as you and your neighbor live and breathe. And that is one of the selling points to the series. The boys experience real problems that any of us would experience in real life. It’s a feeding point of the plot and it works swimmingly. Without giving too much away, the plot of the first volume is three point based. The first point is common: Introduce you to the characters. But at the same time, it puts the reasoning in behind the characters. Why Moritaka is reluctant to become a mangaka. Why Akito wants him to so badly join him. They aren’t just “this happened and this happened.” The reasons are things that make you empathize with the characters. The second point is, of course, the girl, Miho. She’s the traditional “pretty and popular” girl that seems to be a staple in shonens. But she isn’t there as eye candy or to be used as fan-service. Her part is to motivate and finally convince Moritaka to persue his dream. And for the time she’s present in the shonen, she does a great job of it. The final point of the series is as was stated before, a look into the industry. Suffice it to say, the manga industry is not easily broken into, especially by teenagers. The first volume drags in places as they have the two boys go through scenarios and scripts, and other things that are needed to know to even start up in the manga industry.
And to add to that, the shonen is very well drawn and detailed in the art. From minute things to the most grandiose scenes and characters, Shueisha, Ohba and Obita live up to their reputation for their artistic prowess in creating a story to fit the art.
Long story short, if you wanted to learn about the manga industry or just looking for something to read, check out Bakuman, the anime or the manga or both. It is an inspiring story that could almost be felt was pulled out of real life and put to paper and film. It’s a real gem.