The previous episode of Bakuman seemed to leave us, cruelly, teetering on the precipice that was the end of Ashirogi Muto's career with Shounen Jack. Is this really time for them to say their goodbyes to competing on an even footing with Nizuma?
Well, no, not really - despite the final vote as to whether Perfect Crime Club can oust Crow or +NATURAL from the top of the manga tree going against them by a single vote, the realisation of what this would mean amongst the core editorial staff quickly sees a spectacular U-turn, as most of those who voted in the negative change their mind to save Ashirogi Muto's career. Thus, Perfect Crime Club is serialised, and the celebrations can begin.
This decision also corresponds to another change of editor for our manga writing duo - although when I say "change" I mean "putting things back how they were", as Hattori returns as Ashirogi Muto's editor while Miura has the decidedly terrifying job of putting up with Eiji and Iwase's foibles as the new editor of +NATURAL. As Hattori decides to give it to his new charges straight when it comes to the editorial teams thoughts on Perfect Crime Club, both Mashiro and Takagi are determined to rewrite the story from the ground-up to create a series that can beat Nizuma's efforts without question. The only real issue here is how to go about it, but once Hattori provides some understanding of where they're lacking compared to their rival, they soon begin to see ways to hone their already impressive style to close the gap between their own work and Eiji's.
Despite some rather "off-kilter" moments (baking a USB flash drive into a cake is never a good idea, and would a magazine really let a story that has been approved for serialisation be completely rewritten from the ground-up?), this was yet another instalment of classic Bakuman enjoyment, with its focus almost fully on the manga-making process and the more personal tales that go alongside that. There is perhaps little that the series can teach us or fascinate us with anew at this point in time, but that doesn't stop it from being entertaining in its own right. With its final episode likely to concern itself more with rounding things off for now, I can already see myself looking forward to its third season somewhat.