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As we approach the end of Bakuman, it only makes sense that loose ends begin to be taken care of.
Iwase's half of the episode was nothing more than a loose end to be tied. Since it's been a while - it felt like that with the manga - she's brought back just so Ashirogi Muto can settle things with her. In Bakuman one does not simply leave things sour with the other authors. This particular relationship is my least favourite, but I still found it necessary to push back into the right direction.
Iwase has certain antagonist qualities. She was brought into Bakuman to stir things up, but she's been a lesser Eiji because of that. A genius writer that only now realises how hard it is to keep up with a weekly series, is a little hard to like.
Any how, Iwase's back to being a rival so we can move on. An interesting discussion was actually brought up by Takagi: "What's the best manga you've read " The question is interesting because it does indeed require the reader to distinguish between best and favourite. Much like how Mashiro stated there's a difference for him with his favourite Ashita no Joe and the one he found most interesting Barefoot Gen. I myself understand this, because my favourite isn't the one I found most interesting.
Pre-empting the meeting with Sasaki, the conversation stirred up some debate. The meeting with Sasaki was, in a way, a tying up loose ends deal also. One big difference though; this was a relationship that we had more to know about. We find out Sasaki was acting almost like a strict father pushing his sons to the limit. He's been harsh in the past, and now he can move on knowing he no longer needs to play the father figure. Interesting since Bakuman never relies on the fathers of our antagonists, just the father figure that is Sasaki.
With his seal of approval, the final battle commences! And what do our duo go for The dark hero story.
Perhaps a little clich nowadays, the dark hero story was a much beloved idea once upon a time. Even our original creators know this; DEATH NOTE was the shining example of this. Many speculate about the influence it had in CODE GEASS, another series from years back. I'll leave my opinion out of this, since I think this discussion is another use of Ohba and Obata's personal experiences.
As the duo said, they've arrived at this point through sheer experience. All those trials, hardships and suffering have led up to this one series. The one series that Bakuman has built up to. It's time for them to surpass Eiji, if they can beat him at his own game. Can they What's interesting is that Bakuman acknowledges the limitations of "non-mainstream" series. The non-mainstream is in fact limited; niche or "sleeper hits" tend to be popular but not overly so. It was Ashirogi Muto's strength, but weakness at the same time. Now it's no longer a weakness.
The stage has been set. Bakuman is entering the final battle! It's both comedic and fitting for both sides to tackle a genre that's very prominent nowadays. It's funnier since Ashirogi's series looks a lot like DEATH NOTE.
Final Notes (Mentioned Manga): Here's the series the assistants mentioned.