Young people are pursuing a highly appealing calling that many aspire to, but few can succeed at. The main character not only wants to succeed, but rise to the very top, for the sake of a promise to someone close to him. Does this sound like the typical story of a manga? It is a manga story, about making manga. The characters are typically well-rounded and interesting, often developing and displaying hidden depths over time. Unfortunately, they often go in and out of the story, and many chapters (as well as often months or years in universe) pass without hearing from some. The passage of time is different in Bakuman than it is in many other shonen manga; often, several weeks will pass in the course of a chapter. Despite this, the story flows at a good pace, and things remain suspenseful as the protagonists try to accomplish their short-term goals while advancing their long-term plan. The series does a good job of showing certain debates regarding manga; very rarely will a character come off as completely unreasonable or without good points, and most of the characters have their turns at being right or being wrong. The main characters learn quite a bit over time, including realizing that some of their initial assumptions were wrong, and it helps show how much they changed over the years. The series is quite insightful in its look at the creation process. Through reading it, one can understand certain decisions, such as why an arc goes on longer than it should (sometimes longer than the author wants it to), why a series shifts genres, and why some series end just as they're getting good. It also effectively displays just how much work doing a manga series is. Bakuman also remains very human, with characters falling in love, having friendships and personal lives outside of their time as mangakas. Their goals are important to them, but not the only part of them, which helps them come across as believable and likeable. In short, Bakuman is well worth your time.
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