It may have effectively taken three whole episodes to reach this point, but appears that the time is now finally upon us for Akito and Moritaka to being pursuing their dream of becoming manga artists in earnest. Of course, their path isn't going to be an easy one, with this episode serving to show us just some of the difficulties they're going to have to face up to very quickly.
Perhaps topping the bill in terms of difficulty is the struggle Moritaka is already having in balancing his school life and attempts to draw manga, leading to him falling asleep in the middle of tests and forsake studying for exams in deference to sharpening up his manga skills. Despite having some pretty obvious natural talent, even the drawing angle isn't as easy as you might think, as we're guided through the difficulties of using the right pen as well as just how much effort and how many steps need to go into every single page of manga.
Although you might think it would have bolstered their confidence a little, the boy's determination is shaken a little by news that a lad of just fifteen has won the much-touted Tezuka prize, giving way to the realisation that there's a lot of competition out there for our upstarts. This series of events leads Moritaka to decide that something will have to give if he really wants to chase his dream, and thus he decides to lower his expectations when it comes to his targets for entering high school, with Akito soon promising to do likewise - it's quite a sacrifice to make for both of them, but then again they both seem to be more determined than ever not to compromise on their dream. It's enough to make you feel a little envious really.
While Bakuman admittedly seems to determined to move things along at its own slow pace, I honestly enjoyed this episode rather a lot, if only as an education as to just some of the difficulties facing a wannabe manga artist. That all of this was presented in an interesting way and woven into the story as a whole only served to make it more entertaining, while this instalment has also seem some more intriguing characters introduced to provide a little friendship and/or rivalry for our dynamic duo. Part of me really wants to encourage Bakuman to hurry along now we have the show's ground rules and targets set in stone, but another side of me is quite happy to continue taking this slowly and allowing us to savour and understand just what these guys are putting on the line for their passion and art. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what's around the corner... at least, those of us who haven't read the manga will, anyhow.