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As Bakuman proves, rivalry can be a touching and heart-warming thing.

A rare occasion for us to get a true Eiji-centric episode. The past three episodes may have centred around him, but they weren't so much about him. They were more about giving the other authors their due via a pseudo-antagonistic relationship with Eiji. It was time to conclude this arc.

For a man I consider to be an enigma, this conclusion was just right for Eiji. Often portrayed as many different things - from genius to antagonist - his existence may seem more complex than it is. At heat, Eiji's just a kid who didn't have friends. He may be a genius but it wasn't until he met Ashirogi Muto and the others that he came to be the man he is today. Though his portrayal in Bakuman has been that of a genius, he too has grown as a character. Both as a manga artist and a human being. The genius in him may have led to his decision to end Crow, but it wouldn't have been the same without his friends and rivals.

His thanks towards his rivals was touching. Mainly because he sometimes come across as the antagonist instead of the rival, this was a sweet moment. Of course Ashirogi Muto were always going to be the ones to receive his final thanks; they're eternal rivals after all! Alongside the sweetness of the episode, there was some bitterness for Ashirogi. They just missed out on beating Eiji, even with all the effort they put forth. Disappointing for sure. That doesn't mean it's the end, as displayed by their final conversation.

Eiji claims to have come up with the best manga ever. Clearly we're headed somewhere exciting right

Based on the preview of the next episode, Bakuman is ending this season. The final arc will have to wrap up the entire manga. That leaves 9 episodes to animate 27 chapters of the manga. Just as I feared, the quick pacing is catching up to Bakuman as we enter the final stages of the story. It'll literally have to be done at 3 chapters per episode.

No more detours. The final arc of Bakuman will comence next episode!