After a bit of a crisis of confidence, Reversi is back on track as Takagi and Mashiro assert themselves in deciding that the best thing they can possibly do is allow the manga to run and full pelt and not concern themselves with it ending quickly.
Lo and behold, this decision (and the blessing of Hattori) sees Reversi rocket back to the top of the rankings, from where it refuses to budge - a good job too, as we something else to preoccupy ourselves with, namely Hiramaru's latest attempts to woo Aoki. Although this doesn't seem like the best of times, given that her latest manga has just been cancelled, Hiramaru ups his game with an invitation to an amusement park, with an ultimate goal of proposing to his beloved. It's a plan that is only ever likely to end in tears, but will they be shed out of joy or misery?
It isn't too long before our thoughts return to Ashirogi Muto however, and the release of the first compiled volumes of both Reversi and Zombie Gun. With the former topping the magazine rankings, surely it's a shoe-in to boast bigger numbers here too? Not so, as the draw of Nizuma's name and the more easily digestible en masse nature of Zombie Gun make it the bigger hit of the two. With anime companies already tussling over the anime rights to the manga, have Mashiro and Takagi been left behind again?
You know, I'd almost forgotten just how clumsy Bakuman is at depicting most of its romantic elements until this week's episode, which felt as silly as it did far-fetched before going some way to rescuing that feeling of awkwardness with a genuinely heartfelt end to that little side story that was actually rather sweet in its own way. Regardless, it still plays second fiddle to the rivalry between Ashirogi Muto and Nizuma, and it's clear that this is now where it's at in terms of driving the series through to its conclusion, no matter what it might be. I just hope it can find enough twists and turns to keep this rivalry from becoming repetitive; an issue that it certainly doesn't look like bumping up against at the moment.