Bakuman begins with Moritaka Mashiro, a junior high student, leaving his notebook containing a drawing of his crush and classmate Miho Azuki in class. When he notices and returns to the classroom after school, his classmate Akito Takagi is waiting for him with the notebook and tells him that he believes Azuki likes Mashiro too. Mashiro ends up thinking that Takagi also likes Azuki. Takagi then tries to persuade him to become a manga artist and draw the art for the stories he writes. However, Mashiro is reluctant due to his disillusion with modern society and the fate of his uncle, a former serialized manga artist who died from overwork while trying to regain that status.