Things are looking up in the world for many of the major players in Bakuman as this latest episode gets underway - Eiji Nizuma and Ashirogi Muto are both hard at work on the titles they hope will bring them new successes, while Azuki's career is also reaching a new pinnacle.
Our focus, however, is on our two rival manga artists as they put together their concepts for a pair of one-shot stories, with Nizuma's Zombie Gun and Ashirogi Muto's Reversi provoking plenty of excitement in the editorial offices of Shonen Jack. This excitement proves to be well-founded too, as these two one-shots debut in consecutive issues of the magazine, and both prove to be record breakers. Is this finally the moment where Takagi and Mashiro reach the top of the tree?
Given the incredible popularity of both series, it's clearly time to consider serialisation for both of them, which presents some unique problems. In Mashiro and Takagi's case, the problem is an obvious one - can they possibly work on two series at the same time, with PCP also proving to be a continuing success? The answer to this is to shift their new outing to the equally new Hisshou magazine - or is it? Hattori clearly has an opinion on this, as do the artists themselves, and the final outcome is one that also looks set to spur on Eiji in his own goal of creating the world's best manga.
What all of this adds up to is a wonderful feel-good episode - everything is fresh and exciting, and that sense of excitement, potential and the fact that we're on the cusp of something special for those involved is genuinely infectious. It might not have any massive drama or tension, but it's simply great fun to sit down and watch as we move on towards the "final battle" between our manga artists. It's a climax that I certainly can't wait to immerse myself in, and this third season of Bakuman shows no signs of abating in terms of its quality.