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An amateur artist teams up with an amateur scriptwriter (both of which
are still in high school) to create manga and break into the business
at Weekly Shonen Jump, but the demands and stress of the industry may
derail their plans. The stress of working in this particular industry
is a major theme here, and it's communicated in multiple ways.
First, there's the competitive aspect. Our protagonists are very
quickly roped into the cut-throat nature of business and almost
immediately create rivalries with other manga artists. Success at this
particular company is dependent on sales of the manga you're drawing,
so every week a Top 10 list is posted in the office, which gives
everyone a gauge as to how well their manga is doing. That creates
rivalry, because you need to perform better than the other manga
artists to stay on that list.
Second, there's the survival aspect. If your manga does not sell well,
it is discontinued and you will have to go back to the drawing board to
produce something else. But you're not a permanent employee of the
company, so if your manga fails, you may never get another one of your
works published ever again. It all depends on whether or not they like
your stuff. It would seem to me that the job security of this
profession is not good at all because you're constantly fighting to
keep your job.
Third, the weekly deadlines result in very long working hours. It
seemed like these guys were working about 80 hours per week, at least.
In fact, it's probably more because at times they had difficulty
finding enough time to sleep. That's just insane. I previously worked
at a Big 4 accounting firm for 5 years, so I know what working long
hours is like. But even I was horrified at what our protagonists were
going through in this movie. It almost makes the profession of manga
drawing seem undesirable. This is not a film that glorifies the
industry, and I like that.
Bakuman has a fantastic cast of young acting talent. Start with Takeru
Satoh, who recently starred in the awesome Rurouni Kenshin trilogy.
Then we have Ryunosuke Kamiki, who starred in Poison Berry In My Brain,
The Kirishima Thing and has appeared as a villain in films like As the
Gods Will and the second and third Rurouni Kenshin films. Then we have
Shota Sometani, who is practically everywhere recently. He was in the
Parasyte movies, Tokyo Tribe, Wood Job, As the Gods Will, etc. Finally
we have Takayuki Yamada, who had a lead role in the Crows Zero movies,
and has appeared in Lesson of the Evil, 13 Assassins, and many others.
So we have solid core of young acting talent that helps to establish a
foundation for Bakuman to build on.
Another big positive is the rhythm and pacing, which will keep the
viewer glued to their screens throughout the entire runtime. The film
keeps moving and it maintains interest. The story plays out very
naturalistically; even the romantic subplot is nicely portrayed and
really like how it concluded. There's a nice dramatic impact to
everything and the protagonists have very likable personas. There are
also some very funny scenes along the way, which always helps to
humanize the characters and make them even more relatable.
Stylistically, there are a few creative sequences that use manga
drawing special effects that are blended with the live action shots
and it works really well. It's something a bit different, but I liked
it. One final surprise, for me at least, was the scoring and
soundtrack, which are really good and were apparently performed by a
Japanese band by the name of Sakanaction. I may have to check out some
of their stuff.
I definitely recommend Bakuman, and I can't really think of any big
flaws to complain about. This is a solid movie.
Tags for Bakuman. Full Movie
, Nana Komatsu
, Ryûnosuke Kamiki
, Takeru Satô
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