Following the Chief Editor's decision to suspend TRAP until Mashiro and Takagi graduate, their fellow manga artists and friends suggestion of a boycott quickly escalates into a full-on stand-off between the authors and the editorial department.
With this group of high-profile manga creators refusing to budge, their editors go back to the office in the hope of persuading their boss to change his mind - an attempt which falls upon deaf ears with the chief's staunch refusal to change his mind. As Mashiro continues to work hard right the way through to his surgery, and again after its successful completion, so the boycott carried out by their comrades comes to pass, leading to a tough time for Jack in its wake.
Of course, once the magazine bereft of so many high-profile series comes into Takagi and Mashiro's possession, the cat is soon released from the bag, leading to the pair pleading with their fellow artists to resume work, if only on the assumption that TRAP's hiatus will be shortened until Mashiro is discharged from hospital. But given his stubbornness, is the Chief Editor even likely to make this decision ultimately?
While the mix of office politics and good old-fashioned withdrawal of labour in protest was a pretty interesting angle for Bakuman to take, this was undermined somewhat for me by the lack of any real explanation as to the Chief Editor's actions. Sure, we know that his decision was based in no small part around the fate of Mashiro's uncle, but his decision to risk the entire magazine's reputation against this ultimately personal choice felt a little odd, and this was only thrown into even starker contrast by the way he suddenly reverses his decision at the end of the episode with even less of an explanation. Couple that with some more clumsy romance between Mashiro and Azuki (they're in love but don't want to kiss? Err, okay...) and there was something a little "off" about this week's instalment, entertaining enough though it was. Still, things have been suitably shaken up before Mashiro's discharge from hospital, which will hopefully lead us back to the blend of items which tends to represent Bakuman at its best.