Onto their third serialization, manga duo Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi—also known by their pen name, Muto Ashirogi—are ever closer to their dream of an anime adaption. However, the real challenge is only just beginning: if they are unable to compete with the artist Eiji Niizuma in the rankings within the span of six months, they will be canceled. To top it off, numerous rivals are close behind and declaring war. They don't even have enough time to spare thinking about an anime! In Bakuman. 3rd Season, Muto Ashirogi must find a way to stay atop the colossal mountain known as the Shounen Jack rankings. With new problems and new assistants, the pair continue to strive for their dream. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Dreams are hard to follow and even harder to make them come true. Whether it’s getting securing your ideal job, marrying someone you always admired, or becoming a superstar, dreams require many ingredients to make it come true. It requires hard work, determination, motivation, creativity, and even a little luck. Yet, when people follows these dreams, it can be surprising on how much they realize about their goal and about themselves. In Bakuman 3, the series follows two best friends who hopes to achieve their dreams and become professional manga artists.
Ahh, Bakuman once again returns as the third installation of this trilogy, known as Bakuman 3. It’s amazing how this show can still keep it together after several years. The series is written and illustrated by Tsugami Ohba, who is known for his famous work Death Note. In contrast though, the series does not give off psychological impressions but rather follows a slice-of-life style of presenting its story. The series has achieved universal success with its manga predecessor and likewise, I find that the third and final installation manage to keep it together once again.
The series follows two best friends, Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi. Collectively known by their pen name, Muto Ashirogi, the duo hopes to make a name for themselves by getting serialized in the Weekly Shonen Jump. With a little hard work, motivation, determination, and luck, they might just be able to do just that.
Like its previous predecessors, Bakuman 3 presents itself as a slice-of-life style series. Dreams are hard to make into a reality but we can clearly see that Muto Ashirogi hopes to do so. It follows their youth lives in a natural way as opposed to normal teens. Most teens often think about their future and dream jobs later on in life but at only 9th grade, the duo Muto Ashirogi has already began to climb that ladder to success. It’s not easy though as becoming a manga artist is a very stressful way of life. In fact, Moritaka already knows this with the unfortunate circumstances of one of his family relatives. It even strived him away from thinking about the dream in the beginning. Furthermore, there is competition. Becoming a manga artist is a lot harder said than done. In fact, it can be compared to climbing the world’s tallest mountain, winning an Olympics gold medal, or achieving a world record in the Guiness Book. Okay, I’m probably exaggerating a bit here but you get the idea. It is not easy.
Surprisingly, Bakuman 3 incorporates many ideas from the art of manga creation itself. It presents to viewers how manga is made with the ideas, how to get the material published, and how the industry works directly with many of its episodes. It looks hard and definitely requires a lot of effort. Yet at the same time, watching this series makes the career seem fun and exciting. In fact, it’s that much exciting when Muto Ashirogi gets recognized for their work at various circumstances. In a way, Bakuman adapts its series of manga-in-manga but in a way that makes it look like a lifestyle.
The slice-of-life continues to exist just like its previous predecessors. It follows the duo in their every day live mixed in with comedy, drama, and romance. The drama part comes from Nakai who continues to linger his ways of going after Aoki despite their previous encounters. It doesn’t stop there though as a love triangle ensures between him, Aoki, and Hiramaru. It’s two guys and one girl in a triple threat. As silly as it sounds, the love triangle plays more of a progressing role for Aoki as she makes her stand and point known.
With the dramatic romance part aside, the technical part of Bakuman 3 also comes into play with some controversial events. In fact, Ashirogi Muto gets some unprecedented media attention after some unfortunate events. The duo wanted to make a name for themselves but not in the way that they see it this time. It gets a bit complex and even causes stress to the duo for their dreams. Forget dreams, it’s more like a nightmare now after such an event. It should be no surprising though as the author of the series wants to visualize what manga artists needs to deal with in the real life. It’s realistic in many senses from this case as becoming a manga artist is never easy. There are challenges every day whether it’s competition, scandals, overworking to meet due times, and bringing out ideas to audiences in its finest form. The imaginations that manga artists comes often requires extensive thoughts and planning as well. I personally found that the ideas used by Ashirogi Muto is a bit repetitive and even borrowed from themes used by the real artist/illustrator of Bakuman. In other words, although the series’ manga ideas are fun to read, they often lack a bit of uniqueness or set themselves differently from others. It’s often hard to present ideas when so many others exists beforehand but overall, I only considered the ideas that Ashirogi Muto came up to be….average.
Fortunately, I find Ashirogi Muto and their way of working to be quite interactive and fun. Often when working together, the duo seems to have more fun than expected with their ideas. It’s not in a workaholic way in which the duo tries to be the very best or earn cash but rather to do what they enjoy in while hoping to achieve success. Even when the duo are arguing, the dialogue is presented in an entertaining way. The words spoken by the characters are colorful and often or not, becomes an inspriation for their ideas. These ideas are transformed into their product for the world to see. Of course, success isn’t easy to come by especially with competition. Major supporting characters as Eiji are obstacles for Ashirogi Muto and they must overcome him to achieve that success.
On the more dramatic side, Bakuman 3 also introduces what some fans may see as a real antagonist in the form of Toru Nanamine. He represents the antithesis of Ashirogi Muto. On the surface, he looks like a fun and outgoing guy with a chill personality. However, deep down he is seen as a hot-tempered, manipulative, and an individual who is willing to do absolutely anything to achieve success. The construction of his character makes him an antagonist by the way he compete against Ashirogi Muto because he even relies on underhanded tactics to ensure his assumed victories. To him, making manga is about winning and being the best in contrast of Ashirogi Muto who wishes to achieve their dreams.
Bakuman 3 does seem to continuously adapt a slow pace. Furthermore, the many dialogues used between the characters often gets dull, lacks flavor, and dragged. The seemingly antagonist Nanamine is also easy to predict by viewers as the villain by the way of his actions. It’s not hard to see him as a two-faced individual who wishes to become the best even relying on iniquitous tactics. These tactics of course doesn’t always go the way he wants to.
The artwork of the series remains intact compared to its previous seasons. J.C. Staff adapts the anime based off of the manga and does a fit job in making its artwork intact. And of course, because this is an anime series based on making manga, the artwork created by the various artists themselves also are presented artistically well. The artwork in fact is edgy but gives off that realistic look at the series from the outside. In the inside, the manga and characters’ designs gives off a natural sort of look. It looks realistic and doesn’t look too flashy, not that it needs to be anyways. There is no fan service and fans shouldn’t be surprised at this considering it’s NHK network known for airing lighthearted series.
For the soundtrack department, everything seems to remain the same. Both the OP/ED song for the first and second half depicts on a montage of the main characters. Some of the soundtrack does to be repetitive but still retains its natural vibrations. It balances it out with the general lighthearted outlook of the series.
Overall, Bakuman 3 is a pleasant series for me and I think for fans, especially those who’ve watched the previous predecessors. Even if you don’t like the idea of making manga, the series makes it interactive with its extensive dialogues, competitions, and characters’ interactions. And of course, some of the manga ideas themselves can be entertaining. It’s not easy making dreams come true but Ashirogi Muto sure has great hopes. They’re climbing that ladder of success and opening doors to imaginations.