Bakuman

It’s no secret here that I’m always into anime and manga that depicts any behind the scene of whatever industry. But the one that fascinates me the most is none other than anime, manga and video games industry because this is the industry that I’d like to be a part of. I bet that you share the same goal as I do if you’re a creator of any kind.

Before anime like Shirobako and Sore Ga Seiyuu! come into an existence, the manga and anime Bakuman seems to be the pioneer for this sort of trend. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I don’t see any anime or manga that talks about this industry in-depth.

So, let’s take a trip to memory lane about Bakuman

What Bakuman is all about

Bakuman is about two middle-schoolers, Takagi and Mashiro who’ve decided to work together to establish their career as a mangaka for Jump a reality. Throughout the story, we’ll get to know what they have to go through in order to become a professional and successful mangaka.

The manga itself depicts the reality of being a mangaka. Even Masashi Kishimoto, the mangaka for Naruto admits everything portrayed in Bakuman is true. The only exception is that he said it was impossible for a high school kid to be able to do this full-time.

Well, he does have a point. But I think a high school kid may be able to do this if he quits school and work a part-time job. I guess I’ll save it for another day talking about his opinion on being a mangaka in my future blog post.

The impact of Bakuman on me

I won’t deny that anime and manga like this are packed with a lot of life lessons we can relate to even if you don’t have any desire to become a mangaka.

Back then when I was watching the anime, I wasn’t an indie author yet. But still, I was inspired by the fact that I shouldn’t give up and believe in my own work. I believe that the impact would probably be even deeper if I’ve already become an indie author at that time.

Another lesson that impacted me was when they came up with so many ideas for their next manga. Even though they believe in their own work, they knew beforehand that their work may not necessary became a big hit. What’s even worst, their work may have the chance of being discontinued if the readers didn’t like it. It was a hard process, but they just continued doing it despite the uncertainty.

When I was watching Bakuman, I realized that it was fun and fulfilling to be in the creative mode. Well, you’re just playing around with your imagination, so the sky is the limit when it comes to your imagination.

The reason why I felt that way maybe it had a lot to do with my first business. Back in the old days, I was proud of being able to start my own business despite the young age. The problem was, I didn’t feel like the business itself provided a creative outlet for me. And since that business itself is a slightly traditional business (it was the online part that made it less traditional), people around me tend to have a conservative way of doing things. So, a creative way of doing things was seen as a bizarre thing from their point of view.

Or maybe they were just plain boring and uncreative bunch of people. Because of Bakuman, I was yearning for something like that. Since I was so busy to keep the business alive, I failed to realize that I could actually become something similar like them by being an indie author. I would probably choose to be a mangaka if I knew how to draw though. I should have realized it sooner that sort of business wasn’t meant for me, but I ignored it.

I was glad that it wasn’t too late for me to embark on my creative pursuit. So after failing for the second time in my consulting business, I finally decided to become an indie author. After becoming an indie author, that was the time I was able to experience the same thing like Mashiro and Takagi. The only thing I didn’t need to experience (which I never want to anyway) is the thought of having my work discontinued because not many people like my work.

Heck, I won’t deny that not many people will like my work (or some of them will say that my book sucks!). But just what I say back then about Julietta Suzuki’s comment, I don’t need the whole world to care about my work. Aiming for the whole world to love my work is just…plain stupid and idealistic. In reality, only certain kind of people will enjoy your work. And I’m fine with that.

Being a part of the creative industry is the most liberating thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. And I certainly won’t replace it with anything else, no matter how good is the opportunity for me.

My Bakuman collection

Bakuman manga collection

I started reading Bakuman when I saw the Malay version of the manga available at the bookstore. At a first glance, the art style for Bakuman seemed familiar to me. That was until I saw Takeshi Obata’s name on the book cover. In case you don’t know, Takeshi Obata is the one who does the manga for Death Note. If you have read Death Note, you may have known this guy.

So yes, I bought the manga because I was familiar with his past work. I had no clue what the manga was all about, but I still bought it. Thank goodness that it was an interesting manga to read. Even my friend was so curious about the manga too and started to ask me if the manga was worth reading or not.

Unfortunately, the official licensor for this manga in Malaysia stopped publishing the Malay version of the manga after that. I have no idea why. But my guess could be because they lacked translators to work on this manga or the poor sales. I bet it has a lot to do with the poor sales that halted the publishing for this manga in the first place. Maybe our fellow Malaysians don’t like this kind of manga?

Even so, that was a loss because the manga itself was great.

Thanks to this post, I feel like rereading this manga and continue to read the manga from where I left. I do plan to buy this manga, but maybe for this time, I’ll be buying the English version. I usually buy the Malay version or the Japanese version since it’s cheaper than the English version.

My reason for buying the Japanese version is because I want to have another reading materials in Japanese. I know that manga isn’t the best reading material for learning Japanese, but that’s the only thing I’m interested to read. If you want to practice reading in Japanese, you might as well read something that you like. That’s my rule when it comes to practice reading in Japanese.

But then again, a complicated manga like Bakuman can be hard to understand if your Japanese knowledge is minimal.And my Japanese itself is minimal. So, I don’t have much confidence in my Japanese skill because of that. Heck, I couldn’t even hold a simple conversation in Japanese.

This seems like a sudden decision to me, so I’d better start allocating my budget to buy this manga. But for the time being, I have to rely on the scanlation until I have enough budget to buy the manga.

I feel like writing a similar lesson post like the one I’ve written for Shirobako and Sore Ga Seiyuu!. But that can only be done once I’ve finished reading the manga.