The initial chapters of their début manga caused plenty of consternation for Moritaka and Akito as they fretted about rankings, but as we hit this second season of Bakuman's fifth episode we move forward to see their decision to stick with the formula they set their hearts on finally being to pay off.
With their seventh chapter ranking a lowly thirteenth, both individuals within Ashirogi Muto consider changing their style, whether it's to inject more comedy into proceedings or to sharpen up the dialogue, but as Takagi begins to do his research into making these changes it seems as if readers are finally warming to TRAP as it slowly but surely rises through the rankings.
Even though he's already losing weight at an alarming rate, Mashiro puts his heart and soul into improving his artwork alongside his colleagues efforts in the writing department to push their series to greater heights still, and as we witness the various artists introduced within the series suffer the highs and lows of their particular industry as they pertain to survey rankings, we finally begin to see evidence that Ashirogi Muto can seriously challenge Nizuma Eiji's genius as the release of the first collected volume of TRAP looms large. With Mashiro working harder and harder however, he has little time to enjoy Miho's success (or failure, if you ask me) in landing a part on SKET Dance, and come the end of the episode it seems that he might just have reached the end of his tether....
Much like my comment last week, the whole reason I watch Bakuman is to enjoy its tales and adventures within the manga industry, and once again this episode delivers fully on that promise, succinctly portraying the difficulties of knowing when you're on to a winning formula despite (or even because of) the existence of regular reader surveys to keep you on your toes. This allows us ample opportunities to both cheer on and worry about our pair of protagonists, while also keeping track of their rival artists into the process in a simple yet compelling episode that also reminds us of the dangers of burning the candle at both ends. I guess I really should listen to this equivalent of a public service announcement myself, shouldn't I?