Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Bakuman Season 3 - Episode 16

The final battle (for now at least) between Nizuma and Ashirogi Muto is upon us, and it seems as if our pair of heroes have something rather special up their sleeves to compete for the top spot in their final opportunity to dislodge their rival from his perch at the top of the tree.

Certainly, as Mashiro and Takagi unveil the manuscript for their latest chapter to Hattori, he seems delighted enough, and the presence of a colour spread which has been woven smartly into the story only serves to strengthen its appeal.  Is it really enough to beat Crow however?  While we're teased as to the preliminary survey results after the chapters in question hit the magazine, we don't have to wait for the final results to come through...

If you're hoping for some kind of happily ever after ending at this point, think again - Eiji wins the day in spite of an impressive performance by both PCP and Road Racer Giri, meaning that Nizuma gets his wish and ends Crow a few weeks later.  Not that this is the end of his manga career - there's no off position on the genius switch and it seems that he already has a number of top-notch manga that he's "doodled" while working on Crow laying around; what's more, Ashirogi Muto's comments printed alongside Crow's farewell chapter seem to have inspired him yet further, as he promises to create "the best manga ever seen" with his next work.  And thus, Onii-chan no Koto nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne was born....

If I have to express disappoint about anything in this episode, it's that Ashirogi Muto's "twist" in their search for top spot felt a little limp compared to all of the build-up and exclamations of amazement surrounding it - that aside, this was a good finale to a great story arc that has made the most of the simple pleasures of this series, that being a bunch of manga artists competing to be the top of their trade that carries itself courtesy of strong characters and well-paced storytelling.  Whereas in the past I'd be a little dismayed at a good segment of the show ending in case something less stellar was on its way instead, this third season of the series has left me feeling bullish about whatever direction Bakuman might go in next.  Hopefully it won't disappoint.

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