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Well a lot certainly happened in this episode of Bakuman. Not in the best way.
The events of the episode were excessive. In just one episode we went from the one-shot being approved, to the decision to run it weekly instead of monthly. A process that should have taken slightly longer, just crammed into a single episode was obviously going to have problems.
Given the state of this season, it's no surprise there would be pacing issues. Much like how some people may have found season one too slow - myself not included - this season is too fast. With so many events happening, the episode ended up as somewhat of a long detour. This was a small part of the manga also, but in animated form it really falls flat. As if this episode was done with sole purpose of delaying the end. That said, one can still enjoy all the good in this episode.
It's the first genuine victory for Ashirogi Muto since the beginning of Bakuman. A victory that is the signal for the beginning of the end. It was a little sad that the moment lacked a certain dramatic effect that it could have had, but it was at the very least celebratory in nature. A grand and over-the-top reaction may have been a nice change from the norm, yet I don't completely dislike Bakuman for going down a more quiet and understated route. This may have been the victory, but it's far from the goal. Remember episode one of Bakuman They still need to get an anime adaptation.
Let's also not forget about Hatorri. The man who wants to please everyone, finally did something for himself. More than just being a time for selfishness, it goes to show how much editors do care about their authors and their series. It's not all corporate talk and promotions - Aida, I'm looking at you - there are those with genuine love for what they do.
With the first step to attaining that goal being achieved once again, it's back to square one. This time, it's with a vengeance. In a way that's the beauty of being a manga artist, since there is possibility to restart and do so with mounds of knowledge you would't have without the experience. Since Ashirogi Muto represents the mangaka that need a try or two to get it right, there's also that sense of happiness you feel for them. The same can't be said for Nizuma.
Once again, I find myself seeing Nizuma as arrogant. His portrayal in the anime continues to be more villain than rival, though that too isn't a terrible thing. Being an antagonist really works well for the final arc, since there is someone to beat. To me he continues to represent the genius types like Oda and Kishimoto, who make it big from the start and rarely struggle. Embodying everything that Bakuman goes against, his villainous portrayal is something fitting, to a higher degree. Throw in some moments of his childlike behaviour post-defeat, and you have someone you genuinely don't like. Funnily enough, as the seasons of the anime have gone by, I've grown to like him less; the opposite of what happened in the manga.
As the episodes countdown, my worries for Bakuman aren't easing up. Pacing is definitely the issue here. Were it not for that, I'd be eagerly anticipating the conclusion that's to come with the next seven episodes. I still can't wait for the end since, even with the knowledge of the manga, the ending will bring closure to the whole franchise.
Final Note: Another notebook Really