No sooner does the second half of the Bakuman saga begin do Moritaka and Akito come face-to-face with their rival, Eiji Niizuma. It’s a disquieting scene, watching him suddenly belt out twenty pages of manga in a half-hour before their eyes…but it doesn’t discourage them as a naysaying Hattori hopes. He’s their rival, after all. If he was easy to defeat, it wouldn’t be interesting, would it?
Eiji is definitely an oddball, and possibly a high-functioning autistic, but he seems to take to his mangakas instantly. I don’t believe he’s being facetious when he says he liked their NEXT story and wants to be their friend. He may well realize that his weakness is their strength and vice-versa. He certainly has the edge in mainstream battle manga right off the bat, but Moritaka is certain that if he and Akito get their ducks in a row and face Niizuma apples-to-apples, They can win. They have six months to convince Hattori.
I’ll be pullin’ for ’em. One nice scene has Kaya mentioning to Moritaka that Miho, like him, has also been hitting some hurdles in the process of achieving her dreams. I’ll wager that neither of them knew how tough it would actually be, but nor do I think either will ever give up. One more aside: the ending sequence is much better than the first half’s…it seems like a lot more thought went into it and it introduces a few new characters. Rating: 3.5