On August 11th, 2008, the first chapter of Ohba Tsugumi and Obata Takeshi's "Bakuman" came out in Weekly Shounen Jump.
And now, nearly four years later, it's time to say good-bye.
It really snuck up on us, huh? Many of you probably saw this textwall and went TL;DR and...yeah, it is. Feel free to skip straight to the download/read online links below, but if you could take a few moments to hear me out, that would be very much appreciated.
I have a lot of feelings for this manga. For those of you who don't know me, I'm SAKU, the main proofreader for Bakuman (more or less) since the days of MRI. Before that, I worked on the series with IEatManga after we picked it up from MangaStream. School and other things made me retire from scanlating last December, but my love for Bakuman was too great, and I returned but three months later, this time to proofread for RedHawk NEO.
I have worked on Bakuman for roughly two years with three groups, and it hurts so much to say good-bye. It's basically the first and only long-running series I've followed since the very beginning, and it's struck a chord with me like no other series has; I'm battling tears just writing this release post. Like many of you, I don't want to see it go, but we also know this: like Ashirogi Muto did with "REVERSI", Ohba-sensei and Obata-sensei are giving Bakuman the ending it deserves, instead of dragging it on. For that, at least, we should be happy and thankful.
As RedHawk NEO closes the book on Bakuman, some of the staff who've worked on this would like to say their own good-byes:
"Bakuman is the series that brought me into the scanlation scene and it's been truly a pleasure working on the last 30 chapters of it, going from working on it as a part of MRI and on to RH NEO. I'm proud to have been a part of this team and to have worked on not only a great series, but one of my most favorite series. It's been full of ups and downs and some really big typesetting challenges (especially in some of the more recent chapters), but I wouldn't have traded it for anything. As with anything good, it's sad to see it end, but I feel that it was given the ending it deserved and am looking forward to the next series Ohba-sensei and Obata-sensei come out with. I know whatever it is and whenever it comes out, it will be amazing and I hope to work on it as well. I hope you all have enjoyed the series just as much as I have." - Flashily, Typesetter."I want more of bakuman, like how made her childs ~___~ hehehehe, really hard to work and read we gonna miss you Bakuman T_T" - Lokocr, Cleaner."Well, where do I start? I picked the series up by watching the anime. When I first heard of it, I thought of 'Bakugan,' the little kids’ anime that was dubbed in English. After watching the first episode of the anime, I noticed that it was nothing like I expected it to be. It was something unique, something that I've never seen before, and something that I could somehow relate to, though I honestly don't know how. I finished the first season of the anime in a couple days. Afterwards, I moved on to the manga and read from chapter 35, to chapter 145 in 3-4 days, doing nothing but school, eat/sleep, and reading. Right before the original MRI(Muda/RH/IEM) broke up, I applied to be a cleaner, but explicitly stated that I would not clean any series that I read simply because I did not want to be spoiled. Ironically, it seems that all I want to clean now are series that I actually read. I started cleaning Bakuman on chapter 148. Through many struggles, I have cleaned at least a page of each and every chapter since, except for chapter 167, when I officially burned out and took a chapter off to become less stressed. A month or two after I started cleaning the manga, I was offered a position to QC the anime, in which I happily accepted. In the end, after fansubbing the anime and scanlating the manga, I am truly sad to see the series go. I hope to be given the chance to help scanlate Ohba and Obata's new series, whatever it may be." - KoolKidsK, Cleaner."To Bakuman, I'd like to say that this was one of the best marathon reads I've ever done, about 115 chapters in 2 nights, with nothing but a bottle of Irish whiskey, a pot of coffee and my laptop on quite the slow weekend. It was one of the more interesting ideas to have graced WSJ, and a very fun and interesting read. I've only proofed half a chapter (Thanks for picking up the other half, SAKU! You saved me from a text-induced coma. I appreciate you helping me out there ^^), so I'd like to extend my warmest regards and appreciation to all who've worked on this in one fashion or another. And last but not least, my thanks to the duo of Ohba-sensei & Ogata-sensei for their hard work and decication. I look forward to their next project ^_^" - Epokreign, Proofreader."I've always said that proofreading is a job for masochists, and working on Bakuman would probably be the crowning example of that. Yet, it's the manga that I've proofread the most chapters of, and the only reason I stuck with it (and the reason why I'll miss it, even) was because I just loved reading it. As text-heavy as Bakuman is, it's also incredibly fast-paced; in some sense, forcing myself to comb through every page at a snail's pace helped me appreciate it more. Goodbye, Bakuman. I'm truly proud to have been part of this huge, fantastic endeavour, and I'm definitely going to miss it." - INeededThat, Proofreader.Now for my own shout-outs. Since my return, Bakuman chapters have been surprisingly short, never more than 2,300 words when before the usual was 2,600+ words a chapter. To put it into perspective, an average shounen manga has 1,000 - 1,200 words a chapter, many even less, so working on Bakuman was like working on two or even three chapters at once. It's an immense job every week, and it would have never been possible without a team of very dedicated, very talented people such as those who gave their good-byes above."It is truly sad for me to see Bakuman end so suddenly. Although I have not worked on or read Bakuman for about a year now, i still have many fond memories of it. Bakuman was the manga that launched my career as a cleaner, and also the manga that eventually brought me over to Red Hawk, but that's another story. I kinda regret it now, looking back, that I was unable to continue contributing as a cleaner for Bakuman due to my increasingly busy schedule. I promise that I will eventually find the time to read Bakuman from where I've left off (I think it was chapter 119). Thanks to all the wonderful people who have toiled over this manga and I appreciate the time and effort you guys have put into this series. May the good memories last forever within us." - Otamega, Cleaner.
Some of these people have since gone their separate ways, but I would like to acknowledge them nonetheless:
First, to Saladesu, GreenMoriyama, Umeboshi, Kanon64, and all other translators I have had the pleasure of working with: Thank you for working so hard to translate this series. It's no easy task, but you gave it your all, and for that you deserve my heartfelt gratitude.
To INeededThat, thank you for covering for me all the times I've disappeared, be it in IEM, MRI, or RHN. Though you call me your mentor, I've learned a lot from you, too. You are so talented and I wish you the best, best of luck with college and beyond.
To ObsidianTK, Bakuman was in your hands during my absence, and what good hands they were! When I came out of retirement, I thought I would have to fight for my bb back, but lo and behold, you ended up practically throwing it at my face!! Thank you for all your work, Bakuman was well-taken care of.
To Flashily, I can't believe you've been single-handedly typesetting Bakuman!! I remember the days when fellow typesetters and myself scrambled to do it all in time, and yet you solo it, and quickly, too!! It's been great working with you, one of my few fellow females on the team, haha!!
To Mooltie, Lanie, ikore, and all the other people who I've been with since our IEM days, well, you all know how I feel. Thanks for all your hard work, and keep in touch!! I'll punt you otherwise. B(
And to Everyone who has worked on and supported Bakuman from MRI until now, thank you. I wish I could mention you all...
...and thanks to the lovely Lokocr, I can!
And, of course, the biggest thanks go to Ohba Tsugumi-sensei and Obata Takeshi-sensei for bringing us this wonderful series. And thank you all for supporting us, too, through this entire run. Everyone, I hope you've enjoyed reading Bakuman as much as we've enjoyed working on it. Let's look forward to the Senseis' next series together!!
And with that, I bring Bakuman and my own scanlation career to a close with this:
The title, "Bakuman", comes from "tobakusuru", "to gamble", and "manga". If there's anything we should all take away from this series, it's that some things in life are just worth taking that risk for: If you have a dream, a wish you are truly willing to put your entire heart and soul into, go for it, no matter how impossible it may seem. Go for it, cling to it, and never, ever let it up.
Take the gamble, because who knows?
You just might win it.
In honour of the finale, Bakuman 176 will be available for regular download for twelve hours. After that, it may be found on major online readers and IRC.
Please support the authors by buying the licensed manga when it's available in your country!!
Raws: Red Mango
Cleaning: KoolKidsK, Fragarach, Kundumstaf, Finestyle
Redraws: Vaelis, Escfal
QC: Vaelis, Mooltie