Having been given the job of picking out nominations for a awards for up-and-coming manga artists, Ashirogi Muto find themselves in the tricky situation of witnessing the birth of a rival.
Indeed, their choice as a clear winner, The Classroom of Truth, feels like exactly the kind of thing Takagi himself wanted to write, while its artwork is also more than up to scratch. However, for all of their impressed reactions to this offering from an amateur, the powers that be at Shounen Jack decree that the gritty and disturbing tale within the story is more seinen than shounen, and thus not quite their cup of tea. That said, the overall quality of the work is enough to assign this young wannabe, Tooru Nanamine, his own editor, with a view towards pushing his work in the right direction to be suitable for their magazine.
It appears, however, that everyone has overlooked one rather important thing about Nanamine - that he's as cunning and wily as the characters in the manga he created. After instigating a furore online by posting his manuscript and the news that he didn't win an award for all to see, he effectively engineers himself a meeting with the chief editor to impress him with another work better suited for serialisation, and after requesting to meet Ashirogi Muto we get to see the real Nanamine... someone more than willing to step on anybody and everybody to reach his goals, even if that means passing off the ideas of others as his own and belittling the magazine's editors.
In short then, it appears that after all this time we finally have a real villain in the midst of Bakuman, at it feels like the perfect way to wrap the series up to the next level - Nanamine has just the right blend of talent and hateful characteristics to be a compelling foil to our good-natured heroes, and his appearance has undoubtedly shaken the whole scenario of the show up massively. In other words (and ignoring that weak seventh episode), this third season of Bakuman keeps on getting better and better.