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Autumn 2010 – First Impressions (Bakuman.)

October 3, 2010

I normally cover two series in each of these posts, but I went on a wee bit too long in my write up of Bakuman and nothing else has been released yet anyway, so I’ll just post my impressions of Bakuman up on its own.

Bakuman.

My concerns have been eased somewhat by this first episode of Bakuman – I had been a bit worried about how well it would translate into anime, but JC Staff seem to know what they’re doing. The strongest aspect of Bakuman is its characters, we’re going to be following Mashiro and Takagi as they struggle to become successful manga-ka, so you kind of need to like the characters and want them to succeed. Since I’ve been following the manga I already like the characters, however I had forgotten that Mashiro was a bit of an emo kid at the very start of the series before Takagi’s passion for manga (and matchmaking) shook some life back into him! It was nice to be reminded about what Mashiro’s background is like, I’ve gotten so used to him being the authority on manga that I sometimes forget that it’s the tragedy of his one-hit-wonder manga-ka uncle’s death that has shaped his view of the manga industry. Takagi is passionate, but Mashiro is very pragmatic and the two make a great team.

The other aspect of this series is the romance, and I have a feeling the anime adaptation is going to push that to the forefront a bit more than the manga does. Mashiro’s impulsive marriage proposal to Azuki is hilariously awkward, and the whole ‘we won’t see each other until we achieve our dreams’ aspect could only happen in fiction; still Mashiro needs a goal to strive for other than just popular success, and marrying the girl of his dreams is a pretty good goal!

So anyway getting ahead of myself, back to impressions of the episode. I enjoyed the fake-out OP of Mashiro’s uncle’s anime – it was a great shout-out to those old school series and I can imagine quite a few people had to pause the episode to doublecheck the filename! As for the real OP, I’m not fussed yet – seems a bit cheesy. The animation in general is going to take me a while to get used to, it’s not really up to JC Staff’s standards and I really don’t like the way the characters hair is done – its way to static and shiny (kind of like its been moulded out of highly polished plastic!). However they’ve really nailed the facial expressions and general feel of the characters, so once I get used to things I’ll be happy.

I’m also glad they’ve kept in the references to actual Shounen Jump series (Mashiro’s shelf had Dragonball and One Piece, the book shop has Hikaru no Go and Death Note, Takagai directly name checks Death Note); because, as you would expect from a series about creating shounen manga, Mashiro & Takagi talk about other manga quite a lot when brainstorming ideas. I wonder how difficult it was to get the go ahead to use these titles in the anime?

In terms of voice acting Satoshi Hino gets excitable Takagi spot on, but I’ve got a slight problem with Atsushi Abe’s Mashiro – there’s something about Abe’s voice that grates on me, he always sounds a bit too whiney and I can imagine this is going to irritate me more when Index 2 starts and I have to listen to him as Touma again. Think this just a personal problem though, there’s nothing actually wrong with Abe’s acting. Music wise, I’m not fussed on the OP but really like the ED (even if the animation is a bit bland). In the actual episode there’s some random use of comedy sound effects that I don’t think are really necessary since the characters expressions and actions are more than enough to nail the comedy.

OK think I’ve gone on long enough! I knew this was going to happen – I always end up rambling about series that I really like. Needless to say I’ll be keeping Bakuman on to the end, I’m really looking forward to seeing more of the manga-ka and editorial staff characters introduced once all the intro and setup is out-of-the-way.  I Still haven’t decided if I’m going to blog this or not, need to see the rest of the 1st eps before I make my final decision – however Bakuman is a strong contender.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2010 1:24 pm

    lol you and I have the same worries when it comes to Mashiro’s seiyuu. It is probably because we always see Abe as Touma and thus the whiny aspect of that character, we assumed, will be portrayed on other characters that he voiced as well.

    • October 3, 2010 1:35 pm

      Glad I’m not the only one that has difficulty putting past roles completely out of my mind! Abe was a bit whiney as Kosuda in B Gata H Kei and as Akiyuki in X’amd too. There’s just something about Abe’s voice that grates on me and I really can’t put my finger on what it is!

      Still at least Hino is awesome as Takagi!

  2. October 3, 2010 7:00 pm

    Haha, I liked the marriage thing in that it’s the kind of absurdly romantic idea that only kids would actually think is a good idea to try. But, yeah, there’s no way in hell it would actually work in reality, at least beyond the honeymoon part of the marriage. Kids will be kids, I guess.

    (I think this comment just aged me 20 years.)

    • October 3, 2010 9:19 pm

      It is a very idealist and pure romantic notion, that we as jaded adults know would never work. Ah to be a stupid teenager again!

      Actually no I take that back, do not want those teen hormones and angst back! 😆

  3. October 4, 2010 12:41 am

    I’m looking forward to this series. I’m particularly excited that they have enough time allotted already to develop something worthwhile. They have credibly laid out the motivation for what is to ensue, but we really haven’t seen anything to explain (to those, such as myself, that have not read the manga) what the real substance of the show will be like.

    • October 4, 2010 9:23 pm

      Its off to a sound start for sure – although I can’t wait for them to get started on the real meat of the manga creation element.

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