DVD Review: Bakuman – Season 1

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How hard will you work to follow your dream? If its Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi then very hard is the answer, but was enough work put into Bakuman – Season 1? Find out in our DVD Review:

Synopsis:

Top student Akito is willing to do anything to become a hit writer in the Japanese comics industry, including manipulating his unsure classmate Mashiro into becoming his illustrator. Before long, the pair have their backs up against the wall, fighting for a chance to get noticed in the intense world of manga publishing. But then, an unlikely series of events puts them face-to-face with what real comic artists have to give up: love, health, and maybe even their futures. Get ready for a compelling race through the world of publishing not limited to glimpses into the industry, but all-out panoramic views packed with insider details!

Our View:

Moritaka Mashiro is an average student and is contempt with following the traditional rules of society, by going to school, attending college and then working at an office company. That is until ace student Akito Takagi bribes him into teaming up and becoming a managka, a manga artist and author combination. At first Moritaka is reluctant to join but since Akito was holding his precious notebook hostage, which featured drawings of Miho Azuki (Moritaka’s classmate and love crush) he eventually agreed to team up. After successfully getting Moritaka to join him, Akito tells Moritaka that Azuki’s dream is to become a seiyu (voice actress) and so during a chance encounter at Azuki’s house, Moritaka announces that he will become the greatest mangka in japan and it will have an anime, when that happens he not only wants Miho to play a role in the show but he also wants Miho to marry him.

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It’s a tense moment and when Miho runs towards the house Moritaka fears the worst, however when Miho replies back saying “Yes” it’s the start of a new chapter in Moritaka’s life. It later turns out that Moritaka’s uncle, Nobuhiro Mashiro, not only produced the manga Super Hero Legend’s (which is featured heavily throughout the series) but he too also shared a promise with a girl at the same age as Moritaka, so now both Moritaka and his uncle share the same path of manga and romance.

This is what Bakuman is all about, working hard so that your dreams can be obtained, in this case becoming the best mangka in the country in order to get the girl of your dreams. Bakuman isn’t entirely a full fledge love story, but it does have elements of a love story and it plays a vital role in the developing plot, as it’s Moritaka’s motivation, but it’s something that’s rarely seen on-screen as becoming a successful manga artist is the main focus. During the ‘romance’ segments of the story Moritaka and Miho communicate with each via the use of notes and e-mails, while Akito on the other hand has his hands full with Miho’s best friend, Kaya Miyoshi, who frequently drops into their conversations and tries to drag Akito out on dates while they are supposed to be working.

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These comical romantic moments offer a break from the main goal and depsite the objective in sight things don’t go plain sailing for Moritaka or Akito. This is because not only does Moritaka have little experience using the G-Pen, a pen which is vastly used by professional manga authors, but Akito can’t seem to create the perfect story – mix this with tight deadlines, impending girl troubles and an up and coming manga genius, it’s going to be a tough battle to the top.

Extras:

Bakuman is spread over six DVD discs and each disc contains two trailers, for other Kaze UK releases, and at least one text less (karaoke styled) song. In addition to the opening and ending songs for Bakuman you also receive the text less songs for Anime series shown within the show, such as Super Heroes Legend and Saint Visuals Girls High School.

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In terms of trailers there are two per disc with each one playing before the main menu. Included trailers are Persona 4 Part 1, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (Season 1, Part 1), Penguin Drum Box 1, Code Geass Season 1, Journey to Agartha and Black Lagoon TV Series.

Tech Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x6
Running Time: 9:22:16 (6 Disc’s / 25 Episodes)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dobly Digital 2.0 192 kbps (Japanese)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Bakuman is an insanely addictive show and one that could have easily been produced as a life-action TV series rather than an anime, simply because it is realistic. There is no violence, blood, monsters or insane destruction, it’s just an extremely detailed story of two guys trying to create the world’s best manga as well as getting the girl(s) of their dreams. This story is told by following their journey from everyday school life to up and coming manga authors in the local shonen jack (shonen jump) manga publication. It is important to note that not only are cameo appearances from real manga such as Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, Dragon Ball and Death Note are shown but the amount of work, talent and effort that it takes to get a work published into the Shonen Jack magazine is also shown, yet again offering factual and realistic information to the viewer.

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In terms of the anime (and overall story) we get a nice blend of hard work, factual information (such as insight into the Japanese manga industry) and romantic comedy all of which put together creates an addictive show that leaves the viewer wanting more. Combine this with the realistic Japanese vocal track and the sharp picture quality viewers are provided a highly entertaining anime that could have only been made better if it was presented in High Definition.

While the anime is presented in near perfect quality it’s the subtitling and DVD structure that causes the most issues. The English subtitles have minor translation or punctation mistakes (shown below) and this is constant and noticeable throughout the entire series, it even gets a point where you have to re-read that line because it did not make sense the first time. The other minor annoyance is the DVD Structure, as you are returned to the menu after each episode, this is common with most Kaze releases but in an anime that has a ‘continuous flow’ it would be nice to be directed straight to the next episode rather than the menu screen.

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As per the norm with Anime DVD’s their isn’t many extra features but as previously mentioned each disc features two trailers for other Kaze releases, some of which have been out for several months, as well as a text less opening (or ending) from the series. Yet again there is nothing ‘special’ to be seen here, but if it was possible it would have been nice to see some ‘behind the scenes’ of Bakuman, seeing as the anime is about making manga it would seem fitting to have an extra feature surrounding its creation, but this is just wishful thinking.

Overall Bakuman is a highly enjoyable, but addictive, show and despite a few minor flaws it is presented nicely in this six disc set and even though this set contains the first 25 episodes of the franchise it will still leave you wanting more.

Score: review-stars-4

Bakuman – Season 1 will be available on DVD from the 17th June 2013.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

2 Responses to DVD Review: Bakuman – Season 1

  1. “punctuality mistakes” – prob meant punctation mistakes? Unless you mean mistimed? The examples you provide are embarrassing for Kaze. I also can’t help thinking I’d prefer bluray….

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