Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Bakuman" episode 1: Starting strong right out of the gate!

Ah you guys!!! I just got through watching the first episode of the "Bakuman" anime! I've been excited about this for months, and the last few weeks my friends and I have really been building up to it. This morning I watched raws of the opening and ending sequences, and a little bit of the episode, then decided to wait for fansubs to watch the rest!

I was confused when I started and got the opening for "Super Hero Legend", in my mind I recognized what it was but I kept wondering if I was watching the wrong thing by mistake. But when it faded to a young Mashiro reading the manga for "Super Hero Legend", I laughed.

Then the real opening sequence began...

I instantly fell in love. Especially given the context of the early story, which focuses mostly on Mashiro and Miho, I felt that this opening was really appropriate. It focuses mostly on Mashiro and Miho, with a backtone of Takagi and Kaya. It really sets the tone for the start of the story, and I am just in love with the song, "Blue Bird" by Kobukuro.

So far it's pretty faithful to the manga. The "Death Note" joke was retained, and that was great for me. As of episode one, I have no complaints about how the anime is following the manga. Still, this is episode one so it's a little hard to tell just what direction the anime will roll in.

As for the visuals, I'm about 75%. I like the way Mashiro and Takagi are presented. They feel very natural and they look like themselves. Takagi pulled out some really great expressions, though as of now some of the comedic faces don't seem to have come through in the anime. I'm not sure how many really showed up this early on, so I'm hoping that they just haven't gotten a chance to really make those expressions yet and will pull through on it in the future.

But the girls... The girls are my sticking point right now. Kaya doesn't feel like herself to me at all. Of course we've seen almost nothing of her, so it's hard to really say what the problem is. But as for Miho, it's her eyes. In the manga, and even in Mashiro's drawings of her in the anime, Miho's eyes are very wide, bright, and expressive of the fact that she's a very hopeful, dreamy character. In the anime, her eyes don't always express that, and it's a little disappointing to me. I hope that as the anime progresses I lose this feeling and Miho's eyes begin to feel more natural to her character for me, because I really love Miho and those qualities about her.

The voice acting completely wins my support. My favorite is Takagi, who is being voiced by Hino Satoshi. I'm not familiar with any of his previous roles, even though he's had some major ones. But he really gives Takagi the energy, cunning, and personality that the manga always made me believe he has.

I'm really excited about some of the other voices (which are all listed on one of Wikipedia's "Bakuman" articles) for supporting characters who haven't appeared yet. Fukuda is going to be voiced by Suwabe Junichi, who voiced Grimmjow in "Bleach", and I feel like this is a perfect fit.

The background music is hard for me to comment on, as I tend to lose track of it while watching. But I suppose that is a good thing. It makes me comfortable watching the things going on and doesn't jar me or pull me out of the story at all. It feels natural to the events occurring while it plays.

As for the ending sequence, I'm just as in love with it as the opening.

Here we get to see a lot more of the backbone of what "Bakuman" is and will be. We get to see our supporting cast done up in manga panels, showcasing their personalities. The song is "Bakurock: Outline the Future" by Ya-kyim. The song has some drawing puns in it, which I think is fantastic, and the tone of the song just really fits the overall tone of "Bakuman".

Out of the gate, "Bakuman" gets a solid "A" from me, and I'm really really looking forward to episode 2 next week! I'll do my best to follow through with reviews on each episode if I have time and remember to!