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YMMV: Bakuman。

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • One can argue that Nakai never quite Took a Level in Jerkass, and was mainly repressing the less admirable aspects of his personality, as he never admits how much Fukuda's reminding him that his career is going nowhere upsets him to his face. Over time, he does so less often, such as when he loses his temper at an assistant when Hideout Door is doing poorly.
    • Iwase: Snobby and obsessed with competition? Or is she a talented woman who is determined to prove herself, but is a victim of Unfortunate Implications and/or Takagi's dismissing her as being fixated besting him?
  • Base Breaker: Iwase. How sympathetic is she, and how does this compare to how she is intended to be seen?
  • Designated Villain: Iwase, to some of the base that believe that her portrayal as a snobby bitch because she's smart and talented is sexist. On the other hand, Takagi later accepts her as a rival, which could indicate that we are not meant to agree with his initial reactions.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Hattori is the best.
    • Hell, just look around some manga forums and you'll see this series is full of them. Hiramaru, Eiji, Aoki, Iwase.
    • Chapter 110 gave the results of a new popularity poll, with some very interesting results. Yoshida (Hiramaru's editor) made #9, beating out Iwase (#10) and Hattori (who tied at #12 with Kaya) and all the other editors. Aoki Ko was #8, Fukuda was #7, but Otters 11 (not Hiramaru, but the manga character he created) made #6, the only manga-within-manga character here to get notable rank. Takagi was only #5, beaten out by Azuki (#4). But the real surprise was the top three — Hiramaru was #3, Mashiro was #2, and Niizuma Eiji was #1 by a wide margin (1700 votes to Mashiro's 1200). In Japan, the Hiramaru/Yoshida subplot seems to be the up and coming darkhorse.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • It's OK to lie to and manipulate a lonely, and quite possible depressed man, if you need him to write more manga. Played for laughs with Kazuya Hiramaru and his editor.
    • Yoshida's manipulations become less effective and more obvious to Hiramaru over time, until Aoki becomes Hiramaru's motivation to keep writing manga.
    • Mashiro getting bed-ridden eventually teaches the audience that "Your dreams are more important than your physical health." Although it should be noted that Detective Trap ultimately ends up being cancelled, possibly even because of Mashiro getting hospitalized by overextending himself while in school.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Aoki with either Takagi or especially Shinda Fukuda. In the end, Takagi ends up married to Miyoshi, while Aoki is in a relationship wtih Hiramaru, and is ultimatrely engaged to him.
  • Foe Yay
    • Takagi and Iwase. They start out as academic rivals, but when Takagi abandons his academic pursuits to become a mangaka, Iwasee decides to challenge him as a mangaka. There's a fair amount of romantic subtext in this, especially in Iwase's one-sided feelings for him.
    • Aoki and Fukuda, who initially get along poorly, until Fukuda decides to help Aoki with Fanservice. Fukuda denies liking her, which his editor does not believe. The truth is that he never had any romantic feelings for her.
    • To an extent, Takagi and Aoki, who initially begin as rivals, and who later meet and swap advice on writing the opposite gender. Aoki may have had feelings for Takagi, but if she did, she does not pursue them.
  • Ironic In Hindsight: The third chapter has Mashiro forcing Takagi into making a name, with Takagi complaining that he could just give Mashiro a script. Guess how Eiji and Iwase make +Natural work, and how Mashiro and Takagi start taking the lead with PCP?
  • Idiot Plot: Chapter 63-65, with Mashiro and Takagi putting their respective relationships at serious risk for keeping secrets, instead of just telling a truth that might make Miyoshi jealous.
  • Iron Woobie: Nobuhiro "Taro Kawaguchi" Mashiro. The girl he likes, one of his main reasons for being a mangaka, found another man? He believes he got this far because of her, and she's still watching him. His contract got canceled? He thinks it's an opportunity to start over as a newbie.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • It's common habit to discuss the series mentioned in Bakuman as if they are actual series.
    • Miura would like you to know you need more gags.Explanation 
    • Posting images of the editor-in-chief during discussions of real-world canceled Jump series.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Poor Mashiro...
    • Nanamine's Classroom of Truth manga. Let's face it, that got incredibly disturbing at times. Also overlaps with Paranoia Fuel.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In Classroom of Truth, you could, out of nowhere, be put into a survival tournament against the people you work or go to school with every day. The person who outwardly seems like a Reasonable Authority Figure is willing to kill you so he can survive. And if you have any secrets you want to keep from others, you can't, lest you die.
  • Squick: Hiramaru's briefly mentioned medical condition that causes him to urinate blood.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Miura, especially in the later chapters, though the authors seem to be trying to avert it as of chapter seventy.
    • Nakai got this spot too with the way he's acting recently.
    • Iwase, too, gets treated as this from time to time, though it's been softened by Character Development. Other circles of the fandom like her and consider her a victim of author sexism. Ironically, Ohba appears to be fond of her.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat
    • Quite a few fans have been clamoring for an Aoki/Shujin ship, despite his Official Couple status with Kaya and his powerful confession of love to her coupled with a marriage proposal which she accepts.
    • This seems to have blown over and many fans seem to have moved on to shipping Aoki with Fukuda after his Big Damn Heroes moment, offering to help her with her manga despite the two having a less than stellar start. However, like the above example, this ship was sunk in Chapter 114, where Hiramaru asks Aoki out and she accepts, and Fukuda is shown to be a Shipper on Deck for them.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • An editorial decision to put Mashiro's manga on hiatus because he's severely overworking himself is shown in a completely negative light even though he had been hospitalized for said overworking with the doctor saying his condition could easily get worse. Even though there actually was some overreaction on the chief editor's part — such as extending the hiatus after the hospitalization was over — it still doesn't change the fact that Masahiro's self-proclaimed supporters also encouraged him to give it his all during his hospitalization, which the doctor had already declared unhealthy.
    • It's unclear how unreasonable readers are supposed to find his decision (even if the manga ends up declining in popularity and getting canceled partly as a result of the hiatus), since his decisions are largely characterized as tough but mostly fair, and even the main characters acknowledge that he has a point at times.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Nakai. The narrative indicates the audience is still supposed to feel some measure of sympathy for him, yet the majority of them has long since completely lost the capacity to be able to. The characters are split between those who have some sympathy for him and those who do not.
  • Values Dissonance: "Men have dreams that women will never be able to understand!"
  • What an Idiot:
    • Takagi doesn't tell Miyoshi about his seeing Aoki for ideas on his manga, and meeting Iwase while he's there, claiming that she'll get jealous if he goes to other women for help. As a result, when she finds Iwase's book, with a letter to him in it, while cleaning, she assumes he's cheating on her.
    • Nakai tries to salvage the situation with Nanamine's manga by telling his contributors that the ranking has fallen to 16th and they need to work hard to reverse it. The few left over then desert Nanamine after knowing for certain that he lied, and he gets fired for this.
  • The Woobie:
    • Previously Nakai, who'd been trying to get serialized and a girlfriend for over 10 years, without any success. Especially after he gets canceled because Aoki refuses to change anything. This was broken however when he acted like a total dick towards Aoki on rebound after being rejected by another girl, and has quit manga entirely. However, recent flashes to him show he's not completely content...
    • As of Chapter 102, Shiratori. As if having a crummy home life wasn't bad enough, when he makes a good enough concept for a manga and works with Takagi on it and makes it great, his mother, someone who knows and cares nothing about manga, doesn't give a shit and gives him an ultimatum: move to Paris to pursue only art, or quit being a mangaka's assistant and work for his father's makeup company. Though, he is aware of another course of action that he decides to take.
    • Azuma. He's been out of work for some time, and it has obviously taken its toll on him emotionally. As such, he turns to Nanamine, only to get cast aside when he's deemed to be not good enough. This makes it considerably more awesome and heartwarming when he does actually succeed on his own.

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