atched onto a new series (on Hulu) that I’m loving – Bakuman. It is an anime (cartoon) adaptation of a manga (comic) (for you squares). And for the writers out there, it’s worth a watch.
In the story, young Moritaka Mashiro, a male high school student, gets involved with Akito Takagi (ditto) who wants to be a manga writer. The problem is, he can’t draw. But he’s looked over Moritaka’s shoulder and watched him drawing (mainly moony sketches of the girl from the front row, Miho Azuki). Through long arguments. Akito convinces Moritaka to join him in this quest, to produce a manga series which will be turned into an anime. And heartthrob Miho has her own dreams, that of being a voice actress. So the two star-crossed lovers decide they will marry when Moritaka’s anime is created and she can voice in it.
This interesting series follows the two (and Miho in her distant orbit) as they navigate through the world of getting published in Jump (an actual real-life manga firm). There is a lot to do with the reader feedback cards, which rate the various comics and drive the various artists crazy. Interestingly, there is a large cast so we can see reactions from other artists (comrades and rivals) as well as the goings-ons with their editors. Really, it got to be a real cliff hanger series. I’m at the point where Moritaka, overworked from having to produce a series while still attending high school, loses weight and eventually damages his liver. And now we are left with the doctors telling him to rest, and him begging Akito to smuggle in his supplies so he can finish inking #19 and do the full color splash page.
I’ve really enjoyed this storyline. it has its ups and downs (as there are in every writer’s life). The guys cheer when they are selected for a series, and go into full panic mode when their numbers start to slip. You’ll find it on Hulu.
And something to note – there has also been a feature length movie in Japan, as well as a stage production. You understand, of course, that the Japanese take their comics seriously.
Worth a watch, particularly for the writers (and would-be writers) out there.