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"Evil always thinks it s doing right; Excuse me, Stormtrooper, these are the droids you re looking for.
I know starting off this post with a quote from The Big Bang Theory isn't the most fitting way, but I just couldn't help myself. This might be because I know how it turns out for Nanamine, but there is definitely an element of "bad villain" in the current arc.
When I say bad villain, I don't actually mean a villain that's not doing his job. For me one definition of "bad villain" are those that follow the old school stereotype to the letter; monologue, think their way is right, belittle those around them etc. Nanamine has that going on and a part of me laughs - even back when I read the manga - at his overconfidence. See Even Bakuman can have an antagonist this bad.
The episode continues to examine the relationship between editor and author. Alongside Nanamine and Kosugi's strained relationship, we get a look at Ashirogi and Hattori's trusting relationship. I've mentioned that Nanamine basically aims to be the anti-Ashirogi, which only makes sense if he is nothing like them. This extends to ignoring and treating editors like shit. Bakuman hasn't focused on editors all that much (not counting Aida's countless drooling), so it's nice to see the story go there.
We see a lot of characters being brought into this fight and most notably, Nakai returns! We could have done with anime original flashback to Saiko's farewell to him. It wasn't BAD, just unnecessary and a little too obvious as a hint. Shiratori's cancellation was another downer; I really liked him as a character even if I didn't like his arc.
Finally, let's talk about the Hiramaru x Aoki relationship in the background. Almost like it was snuck into the series, it continues to be a loveable addition in the background. Rarely doing much, it did brighten up this episode with its less than serious style and over-the-top drama from Hiramamru.
Bakuman as always is enjoyable. One thing that I have to applaud this episode for is pacing, the biggest issue Bakuman usually faces.