Bakuman: Dear Artists/Writers – Slice of reality!

Bakuman.
Story by Tsugumi Ohba and Art by Takeshi Obata.
Published by Viz Media. 208 pages. 2010. $9.99

Just how many noticed the past fall season?

Anime Diet has been pretty heavy in discussing Bakuman which had its anime run Fall 2010. (Mike’s 1st post, 2nd post, 3rd post) Now I am finally bringing up a review for the graphic novel version, to which I am pleased to say is quite engaging, and definitely eye opening.

Moritaka aka Saiko (a play on his name) and Akagi aka Shujin are both junior high school student who has a goal of becoming pro mangaka, and having an anime made from a series of their creation by the time they are 18 years old.

Frantically at work....

So far the first two volumes are out in English, with two more coming out this year (2011) in English. There are 11 volumes in Japanese. I can only say that it would be a bit of a waiting game to wait for this graphic novel series to come out. But would be artist/authors can be in the know on some aspects of publishing industry.

This manga follows a slice of life Japanese path. Do you want to stray from the “normal” path to pursing a dream? It can either make or break a person. This manga is quite realistic to the real life, with even blurring the lines of reality or not in mentioning Shonen Jump employees. Call this a realistic parody if you must.

I have yet to read other manga that would be a really similar read alike, but if you do like this book, and want to go for another of a similar vibe.. then Dramacon, or Genshiken would be pretty good choices in my opinion at the moment.

4 thoughts on “Bakuman: Dear Artists/Writers – Slice of reality!”

  1. Being a woman yourself, what do you think about bakuman’s sexism? I hear its far more prominent in the manga.

    I don’t really mind it, but that one line;
    “Men have dreams that woman wouldn’t understand”

    Ruins the mood a bit, dont you think?

  2. @woo Thanks for your comment. Bear with me, as my response to your comment turned into an essay.

    Now as for my perspective…I didn’t really notice the sexism, when I was reading the manga. I probably overlooked it. Shonen Jump manga original target audience is men. It also has a lot of themes to have the protagonist go on a journey/objective with some, to no ending in sight.

    So as a female and a fan of this publisher, I tend to overlook any mention of gender issues with the focus on reading the hero’s path itself. It is a culture manga specific issue/industry that I support. So I know that if I read too much into it… then manga becomes something other than enjoyment for me. Would you fault me as a woman then to overlook some aspects then?

    So far what I have seen is that Kaya Miyoshi is very much like a regular Shonen Jump heroine, always beating up the male character. Azuki is very much an ideal woman though, for the hero who is pretty introverted himself. Since the Japanese came out to volume 11, and I am only up to volume 2 at this point, I really haven’t seen that much development in the females nor do I expect it. Point in case Keiko from Yu Yu Haksuho, she is very much in the forefront at the beginning of the series, but grows into the background as Yusuke progresses on his journey.

    Bakuman appealed to me in the matters of it being a slice of life reality from what I have read so far. It is quite realistic to what I noticed in Japan, and for that it is a culture specific difference. Japan is not the United States; they don’t have the same history of women equality as what the western had it. It might be strange, and while I am not promoting that idea of Japan needing to be the same like United States in terms of female equality. I just imagine that Japan will develop socially on a different process from the United States.

    For the line “Men have dreams that woman wouldn’t understand”… if you mention it being on the context that there is the sexism issue then yes, that would ruin the mood. But if you look at it from another perspective, then there might be a different opinion. Everyone’s dreams are different, so to put men and woman is to put in a broad label.

    Gender roles/stereotypes are explained to either a boy or girl when they are very young; this is very much similar to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHKzn8aHyXg That might be such a far fetched comparison, but even then on a physical level, that there are physical differences that separate men and woman. So then if you can even manage to read this essay type response, then my response is pretty much, don’t read it with that much expectation, it is a different culture, so for the original readers who read it, then it is their comprehension on what is gender roles then. For western audience, it is a situation of reading it with a grain of salt then. I learned to overlook such themes, since I won’t find enjoyment in the other aspects of the story then.

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