Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Bakuman Season 3 - Episode 15

Now that the lid has been lifted on which manga series Nizuma is planning to cancel once he proves himself to be king of the Shounen Jack hill, both his rivals and the magazine's editorial department are fired up to do everything possible to knock him from his perch.

This means that all of the major creative players in the magazine's output are suddenly awash with new ideas - introducing new characters here, changing art styles there, and giving a debut to a new villain in Ashirogi Muto's case.  With colour front page spreads for some of these outings as well, confidence abounds that one of these contenders will be able to knock Crow off the top spot.

However, all of this confidence appears to be without merit - although the concerted effort of all of the artists certainly diminishes Crow's lead over the rest of the pack, that lead is still well and truly there and seemingly as unassailable as ever.  As those colour covers come and go, it seems that only PCP has an opportunity left to know Eiji from top spot before it's too late via a colour centre spread... but can Mashiro and Takagi come up with something suitably ingenious to make full use of that spread in the context of their wider story?

It almost feels weird looking back upon those days where Bakuman was a sedately-paced affair that meandered a little too often into its clumsy romantic territory - that era seems to be a thing of the past, as once again this week's episode offers up an almost blistering pace that progresses at an impressive rate and keeps you hooked from beginning to end with its rising sense of tension and a cast of characters who are almost universally likeable in various ways.  Put it all together, and you have a hugely compelling series that is undoubtedly on top of its game at the moment, to the point where it's disappointing to think that its end is just over the horizon.

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