I'm not sure if I've brought this up, but I am a senior at SVA in Manhattan and my major is Cartooning. Drawing comics is pretty much a way of life for me. As such, I absolutly love comics about comics, and "Bakuman" is far and away my new favorite. To sum it up quickly, it's about two kids, Mashiro Moritaka and Takagi Akito who want to (and do!) write for Weekly Jump.
I am completely fascinated by this, by the ideas for stories that the characters come up with, and how they learn what they're good at, what they're not, and a look into how things work in Weekly Jump. They face problems like threats of cancelation, rivalries from other mangaka, and doing work they don't enjoy. But, like any heroes in shonen manga, they solve their problems with perserverance and manly determination. As they should.
And, like any shonen manga, there are the romantic interests, Azuki Miho and Kyoshi Kaya. These two are probably my favorite part of "Bakuman", even if the romantic plots play second fiddle to the main event of "OMG LETS MAKE MANGA!".
Miho has a dream of becoming a voice actor, and she and Mashiro have agreed that when Mashiro's manga is popular enough to get an anime, Miho will voice the lead female, and then they'll get married. They've also agreed not to see each other until then and only communicate by email. They've had to come in contact a few times, but the way they email back and forth is compeltely adorable.
And then there is Kaya and Takagi, who are my favorite thing about this series. Their relationship is vastly different from that of Miho and Mashiro. Kaya keeps herself around the boys all the time, wanting to have an active part in their dream. She and Takagi get togther somewhat by accident, but they form a close, absolutely hilarious and wonderful relatoionship.
One great, and simultaniousy disappointing thing is that I'll never get to read all of the series within "Bakuman". I would honestly love to read every single one of them. I honestly feel like I would read "Perfect Crime Club" and "Otters 11" forever if I was given the chance, and I could see myself having been very disappointed over the cancelation of "Detective Trap". And I can totally see "Crow" being a guilty pleasure of mine. Hopefully when we get the anime, maybe we'll get a "Kujibiki Unbalance"-esque spin off of one of them? If we did, I would hope it was for "Perfect Crime Club". Though I don't think we get a close enough look at any of the series-within-the-series to warrent a spin off.
One can only imagine how many incidents in the manga are based in some way on Ohba and Obata's own experiences, and how many characters are based on other mangaka they know. "Bakuman" updates weekly, and has started running in the english Shonen Jump magazine. Though if you don't have a subscription to that, you can find it as OneManga, MangaFox, and probably on other similar sites.
The anime, set to run 25 episodes, is starting this fall, so I'll probably take a swing at talking about that once it starts running. Though I'm really worried about a 25 episode run and what it will do as far as condensing the series. But it's a "wait and see" situation so that's what I'll have to do -- Wait and see.