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Bakuman, Volume 1

Review

Bakuman, Volume 1

written by Tsugumi Ohba, illustrated by Takeshi Obata

We all have a dream.

But for many of us, we set those dreams aside in exchange for stability. For some of us, we work hard for years toward that dream, only to fail. For fewer of us, we actually accomplish that dream. No matter where it ends, it is the journey that matters.

Moritaka Mashiro always enjoyed drawing. His uncle was a manga artist, and somewhat successful, but not successful enough to retire on his one hit. When he died young, Moritaka was sure that his parents would never allow him to follow in his uncle's footsteps. So he resigned himself to a banal life. He studied hard to get into a good high school, but had yet to find a passion other than drawing.

Everything changes one day when the class genius Akito Takagi comes across his notebook and discovers his talent. Akito tells Moritaka that he wants to write a manga, and wants to team up with him to draw it. At first, Moritaka refuses, knowing full well that his parents would never allow it. Using a wily scheme, Akito tricks Moritaka to confess to his crush Miho that he wants to be an artist. In return, Miho confesses that she wants to be a voice actress. The pair agree that they will only correspond via email until the day that they are both successful. When that happens, Miho agreed that she will marry him.

The proposal ignites a fire in Moritaka. He works up the courage to ask his parents to become a manga artist. Amazingly, they agree and even give him the keys to his uncle's studio. The boys spend hours each day in the studio, studying manga and working on their drafts. When they are finally happy, they make the decision to submit their work to an editor for consideration. But will they find success, or will their dreams be crushed?

Bakuman is one of those series that's been needed to be made. It takes a realistic look at the process of how manga is developed and published, but instead of making something educational, it weaves the lessons into an endearing story about two boys reaching for their dreams. The reader will quickly become invested in the outcome.

This manga was written by the creators of the popular Death Note, but what is interesting to note about Bakuman is that it is surprisingly...plain. The panels never overlap. The artwork is solid but typical. However, this is the kind of story that doesn't need fancy artwork or big dramatic scenes because it is all about an average boy. He is relatable and leads a very normal life.

Bakuman is appropriate for anyone over 10 and would especially appeal to those who are inspired by manga, want to learn more about the process, or even want to create their own. The lessons we take from it are the kind we can keep with us for the rest of our lives.

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Reviewed by Courtney Kraft on October 18, 2011

Bakuman, Volume 1
written by Tsugumi Ohba, illustrated by Takeshi Obata

  • Publication Date: August 3, 2010
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
  • ISBN-10: 1421535130
  • ISBN-13: 9781421535135