Things were very much on the up for Ahirogi Muto and PCP as this third season of Bakuman began. But can it last?
Of course not, and with +NATURAL once again proving to have the momentum to overtake its rival series, concern begins to mount for Hattori that there's a very real prospect of the series being cancelled and Mashiro and Takagi being cast out of the magazine as per their editor's wager. But what can they do to improve? With both Nizuma and Iwase wanting to continue their artistic battle at the top of the industry, both individuals have their own ways or urging the duo on while also finding ways to up their own game.
For PCP though, it isn't Takagi's writing that comes under scrutiny this time, but rather Mashiro's artwork, leaving him striving for a lighter, more shounen-esque aesthetic that has immediate results, even allowing Ashirogi Muto's series to overtake +NATURAL briefly. Nizuma Eiji isn't exactly the sort to take this kind of thing laying down however, delivering what is virtually an invitation of open warfare to Mashiro via a chapter of Crow. That isn't the half of it either - just as PCP looks to have a great chance to claim a victory via a full-colour spread, Iwase and Eiji conspire to deliver a massive and unexpected body blow to their rivals.
I feel like I've said this kind of thing before, but this is exactly the kind of stuff I watch Bakuman for - a bunch of artists duking it out on the printed page out of a determination to make it to the top of their industry. It's simple stuff, and the formula is pretty much set in stone by this point in the series, but that doesn't make it any less compelling as its twists and turns pan out via an industry which is fascinating to ponder in its own right. If this third season of Bakuman delivers a lot more of this kind of material as it moves towards its finale, I'm going to be a very happy bunny indeed.