「夢と現実」 (Dreams and Reality)
From the writers of the Death Note manga, Ohba Tsugumi and Obata Takeshi comes Bakuman, an anime about two students who try to hit it big as mangaka. Produced by J.C. Staff, Bakuman shines not in animation quality, but how the characters interact with each other and how the little things in life are emphasized. An adapation of a manga written about two students trying to become mangaka by two mangaka (Try to say that three times fast). The core of the story comes in the form of our two main characters, Mashiro Moritaka (Abe Atsushi) and Takagi Akito (Hino Satoshi), the dynamic duo that make the story (and jokes) flow.
Moritaka, with his amazing art skills is targeted by Akito, a top notch student whose goal in life is to strike it big. While he believes his looks and voice aren’t good enough to secure his future in acting or singing, his literary talents are what distinguish him as a top honors student and something that he figures he can use. Figuring that becoming a mangaka is the only way for him to be successful, he goes as far as blackmailing Moritaka with his notebook full of sketches of Azuki Miho, the girl whom he has a crush on. Fearing that Akito might show the sketches to Azuki, Moritaka sits and listens to his idea of becoming a mangaka. After blowing up Akito’s ideas with detailed statistics and the fact that most mangaka fail, Moritaka refuses to become his artist. Refusing to take no for an answer, Akito takes his blackmailing up another next level. After calling Moritaka telling him he is going to confess to Akito, he manages to place Moritaka face to face with Azuki. As Akito reveals that Azuki is trying to become a successful voice actor and that he is going to become a mangaka with Moritaka as his artist, Azuki promises she will work hard to voice their anime. Entranced by how cute Azuki is, Moritaka has no choice but to play along and become Akito’s artist. Taking this opportunity of having Azuki right in front of him, Moritaka accidentally decides follow in his late uncle’s footsteps, and asks Azuki to marry him. Leading to a horrible reaction. Only to then turn around again, and have his marriage proposal accepted. With one exception, that they don’t see each other and communicate only through text messages until they fulfill their goals. Azuki – becoming a voice actress and Moritaka – becoming a successful mangaka and having his manga become an anime so Azuki can voice the leading heroine. I don’t know the specifics of how long it takes to make an anime, but I know that it takes a long freaking time and that most manga don’t even become anime. If this exception sounds like “We won’t meet for a long time, and then suddenly get married?” then the point got across clearly.
What really pulled me into the story was Akito’s exuberant personality. While I described it earlier as him blackmailing Moritaka, it doesn’t have an evil intent behind it. More of a “I really, really need you to do this, and I know you have the ability to do this” kind of persuasion. Having no interest in actually harming Moritaka or in Azuki, it’s hilarious when Moritaka freaks out about Akito going to “confess” to Azuki, then not only confessing but asking her to marry him. Akito also tends to have some crazy body movements such as flying across the screen or ending up on top of tables whenever he gets really focused on whatever topic he’s talking about. It’s this kind of enthusiasm that makes him a really interesting character to watch and listen too (His voice pitch could be compared to Kida Masaomi from Durarara, it’s that energetic). With so much enthusiasm spewing out of Akito, Moritaka is able to round out the other half of the duo. At first coming off as cold and calculating, Moritaka at first shows no interest in moving forward in life. Not caring about his future and wanting to live as a simple office worker. As soon as he gets embarrassed, Moritaka’s serious personality flies out of the window and becomes a really likable guy. After having his entire life change as soon as he finds a purpose – working hard so Azuki will marry him, I hope that he stays in this more energetic mood.
From what I’ve seen so far, I really enjoyed Bakuman. The characters flow together nicely, and they all have their little quirks that distinguish them from one another. Plus, some of the jokes this episode literally made me fall out of my chair. I can’t wait to see some real mangaka action between Akito and Moritaka. I haven’t read the manga, so I’m really excited on whats in store for this anime adaption. I really enjoyed the Death Note anime, and J.C. Staff never fail to deliever quality work. So combining the two should be a recipe for success. For me, there aren’t many notable seiyuu except for Hino Satoshi (Rie Kuigimiya’s partner in Zero no Tsukaima and Shakugana no Shana), but I think the content of the anime will be the real reason to watch Bakuman.
The opening song is really, really catchy. As I went through trying to write up the post, I kept playing it over and over in the video. With the way it’s sung, it kind of reminds me of those older Asian songs that use singers with deep voices and have a slower overall pace. The animation sequence with the opening focuses on the main characters, but has a really well done circling shot of Moritaka and Azuki. With the music fitting perfectly with the scenes, it creates this really calming feeling when you watch it. The ending has a Naruto-esque feeling with Moritaka and Azuki running in the background with a sideshow playing beside them. The song itself is very upbeat, and is something that I could see in some kind of shonen anime.