Bakuman (バクマン。?) is a shōnen manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and drawn by Takeshi Obata. The series follows talented artist Moritaka Mashiro and aspiring writer Akito Takagi, two ninth grade boys who wish to become mangaka.
The first chapter was released in Japan on August 11, 2008 serialized in the magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump. The first volume was released on January 5, 2009 and as of 4 November 2009[update], five volumes have been released. During the first two weeks of its release, the first volume placed fourth and ninth in manga sales in Japan. It is also the first manga released online by Shueisha in multiple languages before becoming available in print outside of Japan. At San Diego Comic-Con International 2009, Viz Media announced they had licensed the series for their Shonen Jump imprint.
Bakuman begins with Moritaka Mashiro, a junior high student, leaving his notebook containing a drawing of his crush and classmate Azuki Miho in class. When he notices and returns to the classroom after school, his classmate Akito Takagi is waiting for him with the notebook and tells him that he believes Azuki likes Mashiro too. He then tries to persuade Mashiro to become a mangaka and draw the stories Takagi writes. However, Mashiro is reluctant due to disillusion with modern society and the fate of his uncle, a formerly serialized mangaka who died from overwork trying to regain that status.
Later Mashiro gets a phone call from Takagi in which he is told that Takagi will announce Mashiro's feelings to Azuki. Mashiro runs down to Azuki's house to find Takagi waiting for him. Once Azuki comes out to meet them, Takagi tells her that he and Mashiro are aiming to be mangaka. Mashiro then learns that she wants to be a voice actor and Mashiro, thinking of the romantic misadventures of his uncle, proposes to Azuki who accepts under the condition that they will only marry after both achieve their dreams. With a goal before him Mashiro sets out to make this dream a reality. His goal is to have Azuki voice the heroine of the Anime adaptation of his manga. Due to the highest probability for success, he and Takagi vow to become serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump and attempt to become the most popular manga in that magazine.
After submitting many one shots to Shueisha, Mashiro and Takagi begin with their first published series, Detective Trap, which was eventually canceled due to its declining popularity. Shortly after Mashiro and Takagi begin work on their next series, Run, Daihatsu Tanto!, a gag manga. Deciding that the series will never be popular, they end the series and begin their third series, The Perfect Crime Party.
Written by Tsugumi Ohba and drawn by Takeshi Obata, the chapters of the Bakuman series have been in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine. Since its premiere on August 11, 2008, over ninety chapters have been released in Japan. The first volume of Bakuman was released on January 5, 2009 and as of 4 March 2010[update], eight volumes have been released. Several chapters of the series have been released on Jumpland's official website in Japanese, English, French, and German; the first chapter was released on August 19, 2008. It is the first manga released online by Shueisha in multiple languages before becoming available in print outside of Japan.
In addition to the success of Bakuman in Japan, the series has also been licensed in Korea by Daiwon C.I. and serialized in their Comic Champ manhwa magazine, by Tong Li Publishing in Taiwan, and Tokyopop in Germany. It has been licensed by Viz Media for English release in the US and Canada.
Carlo Santos of Anime News Network praises the conflicting viewpoints of the protagonists and is surprised that the series succeeds, not only as a manga about manga, but as slice-of-life series about the dreams of youth. However, Santos comments that this series could learn from Ohba and Obata's previous series Death Note; the beginning is not as gripping and the plot twists are "pretty weak" and "seem like petty contrivances". Despite this, he believes that the series is "another hit".
The first volume of the series placed fourth out of thirty in manga sales in Japan for the week of January 6 to January 12, selling 154,675 copies during that time. The week after, January 13 to January 19, the volume fell to ninth place selling 38,176 copies. The second volume followed suit placing second during the March 2 to 9 week, selling 228,056 copies, and falling to seventh during the following March 10 to 16 week selling an additional 62,947 copies. The third volume continued the trend and placed fourth during the week of June 1 to June 7, selling 200,369 copies and placed sixth during the next week of June 8 to June 14 selling 67,541 copies. During the first half of 2009, the first volume placed twenty-eighth and the second volume placed twenty-seventh of fifty top-selling manga in Japan, selling 381,633 and 394,567 copies respectively.