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Pacing issues, pacing issues, pacing issues.
One of the biggest problems any studio faces is adapting a long-running manga, announce another season and then have it end. This actually a reason why it's rare for a manga in Shonen Jump to end before the anime has ended.
Prior to this episode, I was confident that J.C. Staff wouldn't rush Bakuman's third season. You know what I'm still convinced their not rushing it. Those of you familiar with the source material can understand the nature of the manga at this point being a little disjointed and arcs like these popping up once in a while. Shiratori's arc was never my favourite and to see it be finished for the most part, makes me a little happier. That said, the pacing could have been handled with more care. It just felt a little forced.
One thing that Shiratori does add to the story in this episode is another breed of mangaka. If one were to research mangaka, you would find a variety of categories. If Ashirogi are the ones who made it after failing a few times and Nizuma is the limitless genius, then Shiratori is the unexpected genius. When I say genius I mean it in a loose term, but Shiratori is still skilled enough to make a manga with that much ease. All of this made the scene where Ashirogi and Hatorri told him about his talent that much more passionate, because if anyone knows about the struggles of making it is them.
The theme of pushing yourself to the limits is still very prominent in the episode, much like in the last one. In some ways, this time round its more prominent than it was before Ashirogi got serialised and it portrays the struggle of aiming for the top rather well. Following from last week's episode where the duo were looking to improve just by a little bit, Mashiro is now more serious than ever. He'd been serious before but this time it feels more determined and actually making progress.
So what's next in store for Ashirogi Muto Well with a semi-conclusion to the Shiratori arc, that part of the story won't be featured as much with the upcoming Leaders Fest. Based on the next episode preview, it feels like it'll short and sweet; this is yet another mini arc in the series but it'll be fun.
Some people might think this is a platform for Ashirogi to outshine Nizuma Eiji, however the reality is quite opposite. Even if it was, this is too small time and if anything the next episode(s) will be more about fun as opposed to story progression.
Final Note: Love how Hiramarau is being made more central to Bakuman. If you're wondering why, It's because when Bakuman was still running in Jump he was voted 3rd most popular character.