The manga was serialized in the magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from August 11, 2008 to April 23, 2012. The 176 chapters were collected into 20 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha, with the first released on January 5, 2009 and the last on July 4, 2012. An anime television adaptation of the series began airing on NHK-E on October 2, 2010. To date there are three seasons created by J.C.Staff, the third of which began broadcasting on October 6, 2012.
Bakuman was the seventh best-selling manga series of 2011 and the tenth best of 2012, with nearly 4.4 million and over 3.2 million copies sold those years respectively. Additionally, it is the first manga released online by Shueisha in multiple languages before becoming available in print outside of Japan. In 2009, Viz Media announced it had licensed the series for a North American release. Besides releasing the series in collected volumes, they also released it in their online manga anthology Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha (beginning with chapter 162), with the final chapter released on May 7, 2012.
Some manga characters resemble real authors and editors of Weekly Shōnen Jump; many manga titles mentioned in Bakuman are also series published in Weekly Shōnen Jump at that time.
PlotThe plot begins when Moritaka Mashiro, a junior high student, forgets his notebook in class. His classmate, Akito Takagi, notes Mashiro's drawings in it and asks him to become a manga artist to his stories. Mashiro declines, citing his late uncle, a manga artist, who died from overwork. Takagi incites Mashiro to meet with Miho Azuki, Mashiro's crush, and tells her the two plan to become manga artists. In response, Azuki reveals her plans to be a voice actress. Mashiro proposes to her that they should both marry when Azuki becomes a voice actress for the anime adaptation of their manga. The two then start creating their manga, under the pen name Muto Ashirogi, in hopes of getting serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump.
After submitting many one-shots to Shueisha, Ashirogi begin with their first published series in Weekly Shōnen Jump, Detective Trap, which is eventually canceled due to its declining popularity, owing partly to Mashiro's hospitalization during its run due to overworking. Their next series is the gag manga Run, Daihatsu Tanto!, which they give up on, realizing it will never be popular; they also considered making to be torture. Their current series Perfect Crime Party is met with considerable popularity but due to its theme, is unfit for an anime series as children can easily imitate it. When their rival, Eiji Nizuma, submits a one-shot for serialization, Ashirogi competes by submitting Reversi which replaces Perfect Crime Party while the latter is moved to Shueisha's fictional monthly magazine, Hisshou Jump. Reversi soon becomes Jump's signature series and is chosen for an anime adaptation with Miho as one of the voice actresses, after she passes a public audition. After fulfilling their dreams, the series ends with Mashiro officially proposing to Miho at the place they made their promise, followed by their first kiss.