Ashirogi Muto are well and truly playing a tactical game as this week's Bakuman kicks off, submitting their Hitman 10 storyboard for serialisation while trying to short-circuit that very same process by entering another manga, Future Watch, as a one-shot competition entry.
Unsurprisingly given the relative lack of competition, Future Watch storms the judging of the one-shot competition, with Nizuma Eiji spouting praise aplenty for it even if he did point out that its protagonist isn't the most likeable character in the world. Despite this however, Miura and the rest of the editorial team continue to push towards Hitman 10 (now renamed simply Ten) as the manga of choice for the serialisation meeting.
Thus we return to the waiting game for Takagi and Mashiro as the serialisation meeting rolls around, and with both of their prospective series finding themselves under discussion. The final decision is certainly a unique one - both series will be run as one-shot manga in consecutive issues, pitting them both against other new serialisations including Takahama's newly serialised offering. The next question is, of course, how these two series will rate in the reader surveys - Mashiro in particular has his eye set on a high finish for Future Watch, but come the end of the episode there's yet more disappointments in store for our manga-writing duo. Have they lost their touch, or is editor Miura wringing the talent out of them?
Although this part of the series as it stands feels a little "rinse and repeat", as we've been through this whole serialisation process before, this episode at least has the common sense to whip through it at a decent clip, keeping the story coming with little time to take a breath while also finding opportunities to slip in a little comedy. There's certainly no Roy of the Rovers style return to glory from this series either, as it seems determined to show how hard the path to success in the manga industry can be - a decision which makes the series all the more compelling, thankfully.