Official Selection: Udine Far East Film Festival 2016, Japan Cuts 2016
In spite of his undeniable talent as an illustrator, Moritaka (Takeru Sato) abandoned all dreams of becoming a mangaka following the death of his uncle Taro (Kankuro Kudo), himself creator of a manga series published in the legendary magazine Shonen Jump. When his classmate Akito (Ryunosuke Kamiki), a motivated teenager with great writing skills, invites him to collaborate on their own manga, Moritaka refuses. Things change when beautiful Miho (Nana Komatsu), following her dream of becoming an actress, offers to give one of the characters her voice if the series ever gets adapted into an anime. Madly in love with her, Moritaka decides to team up with Akito. Their objective is simple but ambitious: get published by Shonen Jump, no matter what. To succeed, they’ll have to work day and night to meet the magazine’s high expectations and defeat rival Eiji Niizuma (Shota Sometani), a prodigy that won the prestigious Tezuka Prize when he was 15 years old.
The manga is one of the most important emblems of Japanese culture, accounting for over 36% of publishing within the country, and Shonen Jump has become THE reference for the field. So a film that exposes the inner workings of this institution is sure to make all comic fans drool. BAKUMAN, however, will also please the uninitiated with its contagious dynamism, accented by a sublime electro soundtrack by the band Sakanaction, Japanese Academy award winners, and crafty use of digital special effects bringing the pages created by our heroes to life. Writer/director Hitoshi Ohne (LOVE STRIKES!) makes full use of his creativity and feel for rhythm in this adaptation of the manga created by the authors of the legendary DEATH NOTE series. Starring a cast of actors at the top of their game, BAKUMAN is a condensation of popular culture that will mesmerize you, with a visual and musical richness that will take your breath away.
— Nicolas Archambault