Sunday, 3 October 2010

Bakuman - Episode 1

Moritaka Mashiro is a pretty disenchanted high school student - the kind of guy who just drifts through his life without any real dreams and ambitions, convinced that any such lofty dreams will only end up coming back to bite him in the end.  Better then to be a simple salary man, doing an average, middle of the road for a similarly average company and not concerning himself with what he really wants to do - a lesson learned by watching his uncle, a manga artists who worked himself into an early grave in the name of continued success.

At least, that's Mashiro's plan until one of his rather excellent drawings is noticed and effectively stolen by the top student in his class, one Akito Takagi.  What's more, the illustration in question is of Mashiro's seemingly one-sided crush, another classmate named Miho Azuki... this makes for a pretty potent weapon for Takagi to use to outline his plan - he wants to become a top manga writer, but to do so he needs an illustrator, and it appears that he's plumped for Moritaka to take on that role.

The Hanners' Anime 'Blog Health and Safety department would like to point out that standing on tables in the workplace is not recommended
From here, the rest of the episode allows us to watch Mashiro's natural resistance to such a crazy "gamble" (as he puts it), although inwardly he's torn between following his dream and simply doing what seems sensible.  It's only when Azuki is drawn into proceedings in a rather surprising manner than Mashiro has a change of heart, and so the scene for Bakuman is set.

Given its story and subject matter, it probably goes without saying that Bakuman is a series that is going to need time to bed down and find its groove, leaving us with little to analyse from this first episode which simple serves to lay down the ground rules for the rest of the series.  Still, there were odd moments on show here that were either cute or funny, which at least gives the show some solid ground to work from, while the source material for the series is arguably about the strongest you'll find from this autumn line-up.  Now that those pieces in place, we're going to have to sit back and wait and see whether Bakuman can deliver, but at first glance it has a half-decent concept and some likeable characters to see it through provided it manages to get everything else right, allowing this show to remain towards the top of my list of anime I'm hoping to enjoy this season.

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