9 Things Bakuman Teaches You About Real Life

Last night, my husband and I watched Bakuman at the premiere of the Eigasai PH Japanese Film Festival. The festival showcases different Japanese movies to Filipinos as a way of enhancing our understanding for their culture and lifestyle. The movies shown during this 5-day event are free, which is definitely a big advantage for everyone interested in Japanese culture.

I've attended a couple of French Film Festivals-- one in 2015, the other just a few weeks ago; so I had a good idea on what usually goes on in these things. Well, I thought I did-- until I saw a long line of people waiting outside Ayala Center Cebu's Cinema 4 as early as 6:30 pm. The movie was set to start at 7:00 and it was truly a surprise for me to find people eagerly waiting to get inside the cinema.

Prior to watching the movie, I did not have any clue of what the movie was about except that it had something to do with manga. I am not exactly the type of person who goes crazy for anything Japanese (except food) since I find it unoriginal. But I have close friends who religiously follow Japanese pop culture and I know this would be their cup of tea. My husband, meanwhile, is a huge fan of watching movies. And this is what I loved about him. He's open to watching different movies with me. Yes, even the cheesiest Tagalog movies that I recommend him.

When we got inside the cinema, I was turned off with the number of people already inside. We should have eaten dinner much earlier or brought our food inside so we could have chosen better seats.
When the movie started, I was pissed off that the group beside me and another group behind me were talking with their friends during the movie. I really can't understand why people do this.

I wanted to leave and walk out. But something about the movie made me want to stay.

So I did.

I watched.


Boy, was I on the edge of my seat the entire movie. And to be honest, it was probably one of the best Japanese movies I've ever watched. Granted, most of which were horror movies (that I've since stopped watching).

But to be honest, Bakuman was truly enlightening and was entertaining-- I loved how the entire team worked at digitally rendering each page of the manga into real life and how they made a beat out of each stroke of a mangaka's nib.

The movie gave me a glimpse of what life was like for a high school student in Japan. About how each student is encouraged to find their purpose in life. How when you find your passion, you have to work hard to prove yourself. About how you fail a lot of times and succeed in a few. And most importantly, the importance of comic books in Japanese culture.

But it did more than open my eyes to Japanese culture. It taught me some important life lessons.

Here are 9 things I learned from watching the movie, Bakuman:

We all need friends who can help us

Photo: ritsunodoramaland

Finding real friends in a competitive world is tough. You never know whether they are actually helping you or double-crossing you. But when you find friends, the real ones at that, they are worth keeping your entire life.

Much like the friendship of Moritaka Mashiro (Takeru Satoh) and Akito Takagi (Ryunosuke Kamiki). The two lead characters in the story tell us how their individual passions paved the way for a lifelong friendship and a partnership that exceeds their creativity. They have shared each other's successes and failures, both with a lesson to teach them.

You can't do everything on your own

Photo: dmenu

You are not a one-man show. Sometimes you need the help of other people to finish something, even if you won't admit it.

This fact of life can be seen towards the last part of the movie where Mashiro and Takagi get together with other Jump manga creators Shinta Fukuda (Kenta Kiritani), Kazuya Hiramaru (Hirofumi Arai), and Takuro Minagawa (Sarutoki Minagawa), each one carrying their own skills to accomplish something good.

Hard work pays off

Photo: Kotaku

No matter what people say, hard work pays off. You have to do your best so you can accomplish something that you have set your mind on.

The movie depicts the struggles of a mangaka or a Japanese comic book artist. I like that each of the Jump mangakas were portrayed with different goals in mind. While there were some who were driven by their ambition to get rich and famous, there were others who were purely there to show their love for the craft. But in either case, the creator of the movie showed that each of these mangakas worked hard to achieve their goal. And even if that meant working together, they still proved this notion to be true.

A good editor will push you to be the best

Photo: @Jpoplovers

"When editorial and creative clash, the true editor sides with the creator." - This is a line said by one of my favorite characters in the movie, Akira Hattori (Takayuki Yamada). I can relate with this line because as a writer, it's difficult to find support from an editor who truly understands you. But in certain circumstances, Hattori proved his loyalty to his creative team by motivating them to be the best. He was also a constructive editor ever since the first time he met Mashiro and Takagi, praising their work and giving pointers on how they can do a better job next time.

And yes, there were more "maybe next time" lines that were said throughout the movie. But this just shows how you, as an artist, can grow and hone your craft. Hattori never gave up on Mashiro and Takagi, even if that meant going against his own boss, Sasaki (Lily Franky).

You can be an artist at any age

Photo: ritsunodoramaland

Many people believe that to be an artist, you must have been practicing ever since you were young. This was not the same in Mashiro's case. He only discovered his love for drawing when he was inspired by the beauty of Miho Azuki (Nana Komatsu). Mashiro used his admiration to get rid of his boredom in class. When Takagi discovers Mashiro's talent, he praises him. Mashiro, however, refutes the idea that he was already "really good" since he only started drawing.

This proved to me that you can be an artist, no matter what age you are. Inspiration strikes anywhere and it changes the way you see things-- not only by how you draw but also with your words. The same is true with Takagi's epiphany for the manga that led to their success. He was not expecting to be inspired at that time but he did. And the rest of the scene is a really creative look at what goes on in the head of a writer who was just hit with a storyline.

On that note, don't compare yourself to other people

Photo: YouTube.Trainer Kelvin

Throughout the movie, Mashiro compares himself with Eiji Niizuma (Shota Sometani), another high school mangaka who has been labeled as a "genius". In the movie, Niizuma has been drawing since he was 6 years old. This means that he has the right skills and knowledge to express himself through his artwork.

Since Mashiro is new to drawing, he feels like he has to compete with Niizuma's work. At the same time, the audience can see how Niizuma is slightly threatened by the idea that a newcomer, who's roughly his age, has gained recognition from the public. He feels Mashiro is a threat to him and challenges him to be better each time they meet face to face.

Just like Mashiro, who is clearly exceptionally talented in drawing, it's important that you stop comparing yourself to someone who's been doing the same thing for years. You need to continually bring something new to the table and grow in your own way.

Health is important 

Photo: ritsunodoramaland

Japanese culture has since been controversial for how many people die from fatigue and overworking. In the movie, this can be seen in how Mashiro continues to push himself to be the best mangaka in Jump; even going as far as not sleeping for three days. And when his health gets in the way of his success, the head publisher of Jump has to prioritize his health.

I first envisioned Sasaki as an evil publisher who's out to put down Mashiro; at least this is what our protagonist recalls with his own uncle's experience. But later in the movie, it's revealed that Sasaki only wanted Mashiro to not end up like his uncle.

While it's good to be motivated, it's important to keep your health in check. You have to remember to sleep, eat healthy food, and give yourself time to rest.

People will underestimate you because of your age

Photo: Hana-angel

There was a scene in the movie wherein the publisher was in a closed door meeting with the other editors in Jump. Out of all the mangakas who submitted their work, Mashiro and Takagi were downplayed because they were young-- that they still had a lot of time to learn.

This happens in real life. When I was younger, I wasn't given a lot of opportunities to do something because of my age-- that I still had time to learn. What these people failed to recognize, however, that by giving that opportunity, I could have learned something vital in my craft.

In Mashiro and Takagi's case, they did not give up. They came up with something better and gained the respect they deserved.

Life goes on

Photo: Sakurais3

Yes. Life goes on. Even if Mashiro and Takagi earned their goal, their lives still continued on. They did not remain on the number one spot for too long and they took a break from drawing manga but it did not stop them from going back to their love for the craft. They learned to accept that their lives went on, that even if they reach number one, that number can slip away anytime. But instead of becoming depressed by this realization, the two learned that this was what life was: sometimes you're up, most times you're down, struggling to be on top. The important thing is that they do not lose hope.

I completely loved the movie and hope you guys find time to watch it too. It's no longer available in Eigasai's schedule for Cebu in the next coming days but there are some other movies that have plotlines as exciting as this one. I'm really looking forward to Her Love Boils Bathwater and Sweet Bean (An). I just hope I can attend them.

There's still time to catch the remaining movies from Egasai Japanese Film Festival in Cebu 2017. You can find the plot for each movie on their Facebook page.

Here is the schedule for the remaining days of the festival:


  1. Good read, Trix. I'll try to convince Ann to watch this :D :v