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  • Anvilicious: When Mashiro and Takagi end up writing their story according to reader suggestions due to understandably being desperate to keep Detective Trap going, Miura, of all people, notices something's off and calls them out on it. He then points out that the fan mail doesn't represent the majority of the readers, and the readers are there for Mashiro and Takagi's story. It's not exactly subtle that it's a message against merely pandering in an attempt to gain popularity.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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    • 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. Similarly, considering that he accuses Aoki of causing his present situation by rejecting him, it's possible that his long history of failure is more his fault than he's willing to admit.
    • Toward the end of Hideout Door's serialization, Nakai becomes desperate to stay serialized, while Aoki refuses to compromise her vision. Is Aoki self-centered and inconsiderate of Nakai (especially given his long struggle to get serialized), or is she simply staying true to herself like a good artist should? Is Nakai's concern understandable, or is he so desperate to stay in the magazine (not to mention work together with Aoki) that he disregards her wishes?
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    • 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?
    • While the editor in chief is largely seen as unreasonable for putting Detective Trap on hiatus while Mashiro is hospitalized, it's possible to conclude that he's the Only Sane Man concerned about Mashiro's health but unwilling to end his career over this, like his mother wants. Considering that the main characters realize that the editor has valid points later on, and he's generally portrayed as a tough but fair Reasonable Authority Figure, it's possible that the story even intended for him to be seen this way.
    • Does Mashiro really love Azuki or does she just love the ideal he has about her? Especially if we take into account that due to the promise they made, their interaction is minimal and they cannot get to know each other well.
  • Awesome Music:
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    • "Shin-Takarajima" (New Treasure Island), the optimistic alternative-punk ending theme for 2015 live-action adaptation of Bakuman by a Japanese group Sakanaction.
    • The anime's second opening, " Dream of Life" the second opening of the anime, is no slouch either. The awesome instrumentation and vocals are backed up by lyrics that uncannily match the show.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Iwase. How sympathetic is she, and how does this compare to how she is intended to be seen?
    • Same goes for Kayoko Mashiro, for not only being a nagging mother, but for being very strict and hardly supportive of her son's dream to become a manga artist (especially considering the circumstances that inspire him to do so). Some believe she has valid reasons to do so, given what happened to her brother-in-law, but others see her as being unreasonable. Granted, she does gradually loosen up and become a bit more willing to tolerate Moritaka going into manga.
  • 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 Dark Horse:
    • Hattori is rather popular for being a good mentor to Mashiro and Takagi, as well as to his kohai Miura.
    • 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.
  • Epileptic Trees: The series started a popular real-life theory that Tsugumi Ohba was actually just a Secret Identity for Hiroshi Gamou, the author of popular 90s Gag Series Luckyman. Evidence for this is that Nobuhiro's manga and later career heavily resemble Gamou's, making his death very strange from a meta sense, Ohba's own art shown in the volumes closely resembling Gamou's, and that Ohba himself has literally zero credited work prior to Death Note, suggesting he had a career prior under a different name. When asked, Editor-in-Chief Sasaki pointedly declined to answer.
  • 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 with Hiramaru, and is ultimately engaged to him.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In-universe. 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?
    • The authors' occasional Take That! towards Jump SQ becomes hilarious as their next work, Platinum End, is serialized there.
  • 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 gets some hate for being overly pushy and trying to force Mashiro and Takagi to do gag manga, in spite of his lack of experience. Some of these reader reactions may be intentional, since the main characters are somewhat frustrated with having him as an editor, although they do accept that they can't blame him for all their troubles.
  • 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.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Azuri and Mashiro have almost no interactions with each other due to promises, making it hard to believe all the devotion they have for each other.
  • 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!"
  • Villain Has a Point: As obnoxious as Nanamine is, when Mashiro tells him that the only way to make manga is by working with an editor and he says there are other ways, it's hard not to concede that he has a point.
    • It's acknowledged in series that there are manga produced without editors, such as doujinshi.
    • Some artists in the series seem to work perfectly well without editors (such as Nizuma, who is never shown getting meaningful feedback or help from Yujiro and doesn't even show Yujiro his storyboards or have meetings with him until Fukuda insists. At one point Yujiro even admits that he can't think of any advice or help to give Nizuma).
    • Some editors in the series weren't actually helpful. The most noticeable one was Miura, who repeatedly advised Takahama and Ashirogi to submit half-baked works which were rejected (such as when he had them submit Tanto the first time; he said that it would be accepted as long as Ashirogi completed three chapters but the work wasn't picked up). Miura also damaged Takahama's first work by insisting on add gag themes which Takahama wasn't good at, resulting in the work getting quickly canceled. And when Iwase ran into trouble following the conclusion of the +Natural anime, Miura was so distracted by other things that he was totally useless and gave no help. Given that, it's hard not to wonder if they might have been better served by getting advice from friends or others instead of Miura.
    • It's also noted that Nanamine's company (which eschewed the editorial department) was genuinely capable of producing really good manga. All of Nanamine's submissions except for two (Yanagi's fantasy one-shot and Nanamine's 'Beauty and the Billionaire' one-shot) beat Ashirogi in the rankings.
  • 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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