GLX reviews Bakuman vol. 1.
Writer - Tsugumi Ohba
Artist - Takeshi Obata
Translation and adaptation - Tetsuichiro Miyaki
Touch-up artist and letterer - James Gaubatz
Bakuman vol. 1 is the tale of two boys that strive to make it in the world of manga. Moritaka Mashiro is a student that is manga fan that draws for fun. One day, Akito Takagi looks at his work and begs him to work on a manga with him. Their quest to become skilled manga creators isn't just about producing quality work, but Moritaka's chances of marrying Azuki as well.
What really grabbed my attention about Bakuman is Moritaka and Akito's quest to become successful manga creators. Their struggle is not only interesting because of the character's passion, but the intricate detail that Tsugumi Ohba describes the sequential art scene in Japan. It's littered with stats, commentary and details on the art of crafting manga. In a way, it reminds of Scott McCloud's work on the art of comics, but with more attention to telling a dynamic story. That's not to say that Ohba handles the manga's cast poorly. They're well-rounded characters in their own right.
The one thing that threw me off about the writing is the role that women play within the work. There's a scene in which Akito explains that Azuki is smart because, "She knows what it means to be a girl. She knows by instinct that the best thing for a girl is to get married and become somebody's wife..." In another scene, Moritaka's mom tells Moritaka that he can't become a manga artist. What does his father have to say about this? He tells her, "Let him do it. Men have dreams that women will never be able to understand." I understand that this takes place within Japan, but I found that the role of women within Bakuman to be off-putting.
Takeshi Obata's art compliments Ohba's writing nicely. His work shows a good grasp of black and white art through shading and texture. The action flows nicely through emotive characters and strong layouts. His art is reminiscent of Takeshi Miyazawa's art.
Bakuman vol. 1 is a must read for those that want to an in-depth look into the art of creating manga. The main conflict is handled wonderfully and supported with sharp characters. Even those that aren't necessarily interested in manga should at least give this a look.
8* out of 10*
Written or Contributed by: GLX
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