As if Ashirogi Muto didn't already have enough rivals to cope with, another one has appeared with the much-vaunted arrival of Nanamine, who is himself a fan of this dynamic manga-writing duo. However, there is a dark secret to his almost unbelievable early success...
In short, Nanamine is creating manga by "crowd-sourcing" his ideas from it, selecting no less than fifty individuals online to provide him with ideas, suggestions and so on. The idea of even doing this leaves Mashiro and Takagi apoplectic, but Nanamine makes no apology for his behaviour in the self-assured belief that this way of creating manga is far better suited to creating a masterpiece than the tried and trusted system of using editors employed by Shounen Jack.
Given that they decide to keep their discovery about Nanamine's true nature quiet, their former fan turned artist continues his prodigious and prolific work, amazing the editorial who have no idea what's going on despite their questions as to how he can churn out high-quality work so quickly. It's an impressive feat that takes him all the way to the brink of serialisation as he uses his money to shape, imbuing him with such confidence that he even confesses what he's bneen doing to his editor while simultaneously blackmailing him to keep quiet. They say that pride comes before a fall, but is anybody going to be able to strike his down?
As I wrote last week, the introduction of a villain at this juncture is a great move for Bakuman, and it continues to be so this week - Nanamine is sufficiently unlikeable from the outset to be someone to root against, yet his work and way of doing things are simultaneously fascinating enough that you can't help but throw a little credit his way. Provided that you can suspend your disbelief that both Ashirogi Muto and Nanamine's editor would be willing to keep quiet about what he's up to, there's some compelling and fascinating stuff here that has added a new dimension to the series just as it threatened to become a little stale.