Bakuman is a somewhat hard manga for me to describe without delving into meta, because this series is incredibly meta. Since October '10 when the anime debuted, it has been an anime, adapted from a manga that runs in Shounen Jump, about two kids trying to get a manga in Shounen Jump, to get an anime. *
The manga's plot is set up completely within the first chapter. We get our main protagonist Mashiro Moritaka's backstory, as well as his motivation and love interest, while he and the second protagonist Takagi Akito share a good amount of characterization for themselves. The plot from then on is their attempts, failures, and success in getting into Shounen Jump and the various other writers/rivals they acquire along the way.
Written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, the duo behind Death Note
, Bakuman simply is a very good manga to read. It's not a handbook for everything you'll need to know about getting into manga, but it nonetheless has some very insightful notes about the way manga works in a published magazine.
The art evolves gradually over time. The story's pacing is excellent, and avoids the hiccups of other series that make arcs drag on too long by keeping things just the right speed they need to be. The dramatic moments are dramatic, the funny moments are hilarious, and everything is of professional quality. This manga has a mastered sense of the cliffhanger and every chapter ending has you yearning for more.
The characters are unique and evolve naturally as they have to, and there's a wide enough cast to display plenty of quirks and insight, but the two that display this by far are the duo's first rival, Niizuma Eiji, and fellow mangaka rival Hiramaru.
If I had to fault it for one thing, its that Bakuman is a bit of a wordy manga. Most of the action involved is just the characters discussing the ups and downs of manga, and many of these discussions occur between the duo and their editor, Akira Hattori, and at times it can get a bit confusing. However, that's not to say this series is preachy.
All in all, Bakuman is an entertaining read, and I would highly reccomend it to anyone looking into becoming a writer/artist as reference inspiration.
As a final score, Bakuman is well deserving of 9/10.