Bakuman: Chasing your dreams

Bakuman (Winter/Fall 2010)

In my last post, I mentioned that Panty and Stocking had the biggest impact of the last season; not because it was exceptionally written, but because it was exceptionally different. Well, Bakuman is the exact opposite of that. It is really bland in terms of animation, but it still manages to completely draw me into its world. You know what other anime I love that fits that profile? Nodame.

Like Nodame, we have a story of love, sacrifice, and of chasing one's dreams. Unlike Nodame, we don't have a quirky cast, just a pair of talented, but rather ordinary teenagers who dream of becoming mangakas (manga creators). Regardless, you can't help but to cheer the two on as they try to rise into the professional ranks of the manga industry. What weighs heavily against them is the societal pressure to do well in school and to get good, stable jobs. Each character has his own additional motivation; one involving a promise with a girl about getting married after each meeting success, and the other about rebelling against the "suits" society that Japan has become.

At its core, this is a romanticized coming of age story, but instead of using macho sci-fi settings or hidden, world-beating prodigy talents, it tries to deliver a more realistic, identifiable experience. You also get a brief (and somewhat dramatized) peek into the manga industry along the way, which is pretty cool. Overall, I think that this is a really well thought out series, and I don't think that anything I see in the second half of the season will shake that belief.

kenholic.com rating: 8.25 out of 10. Even though it's only 13 episodes deep so far, this might put it somewhere in my top 50?

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