Bakuman, volume 1

(2010)
Bakuman cover

Volume 1 of Bakuman introduces Moritaka Mashiro, an 8th grade student with decent grades and a habit of drawing in his notebooks during class. His drawing talent is noticed by Akito Takagi, fellow and best student in Mashiro's class. Takagi attempts to persuade Mashiro to join him in creating manga--he'll write and Mashiro can draw. Takagi's a skilled operator and manages to get Mashiro's crush, a classmate named Miho, involved, climaxing with a humorous scene in which Mashiro ultimately agrees to Takagi's plan. They know it will be grueling and require sacrifices, like giving up on any sort of elite schooling, but at the end of volume 1 they're dedicated to their goal.

This is an interesting story and I may grab subsequent volumes. The characters are enjoyably authentic, the artwork is high quality among manga, and the story is inspirational--how can I not pull for these young men facing terrible odds? The characters' view of the role of women is questionable, but growth in this area may be part of the overall story--they're in middle school, so I expect they'll grow over the course of the 20 volume series.

I'd recommend this to any teen or adult manga fan. I notice that this series is not as popular as other current manga titles at our library, but it might see more use if Death Note fans knew that Bakuman is by Death Note creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.

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