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This episode of Bakuman, the series gets even more shonen. If you don't like it, then you might as well stop watching but I suspect that after 2 seasons anyone would have expected this.

As a manga that ran in Weekly Shonen Jump, Bakuman had the hard task of incorporating some of the more familiar shonen elements. Pulling off a Medaka Box and turning into a battle manga wasn't really in the cards for this series, so instead Ohba and Obata incorporated the most familiar aspect of shonen manga: rivalry.

This episode is all about the rivalry, delivered in shonen form. Clearly because of the series' demographic the rivalry was never going to be ugly or cut-throat, but that doesn't matter because it wouldn't fit with all the feel good energy Bakuman delivers. This episode is also a rare moment where Takagi is the centre of attention.

Even with the dual-protagonist setting, Mashiro tends to be the character in the limelight. Intentional or not, it's really him whose in competition with Eiji and this is highlighted over and over again. There have been moments where it's all about Takagi, like his wedding, though those tend to get eclipsed - his wedding comes to mind - so this was truly his episode.

Being one of the more memorable moments for him, Takagi's rivalry with Iwase was great start to finish. Presentation wise, I can't think of anything negative to say. It lasted the entire episode, it did a great job on revamping a theme that has been used by the series a number of times and it was just as enjoyable as it was in the manga.

The rivalry was all well and good, however another great thing about this episode is how it shows us the continuous learning curve that exists for mangaka. I'm personally interested in rankings and cancellations of Shonen Jump series, so for me Bakuman has always been a learning experience and I will always love this aspect of the series. All the information about arcs or 'series' is true and just goes to show you how young rookies have little knowledge of this and need to learn how to use them effectively.

Solid as always, and just what you'd expect from Bakuman

Final Note: The last moment of the PCP manga that we see, where the main protagonist uses helium was incidentally used in an early chapter of SKET Dance which caused an uproar and forced Shueisha to issue and apology. [Source]