What a strong proposition from Mashiro. While I still worry about the focus diverting away from a unified Ashirogi striving for their ultimate goal, I do appreciate that Mashiro is getting some compensatory treatment after the spotlight was so distinctly turned away from him for a while. That said, Mashiro developing enough skill as an author to contribute is one thing, but him developing enough skill to stand on his own as a solo mangaka would effectively ruin the point of Ashirogi Muto, at least from the standpoint of Mashiro and his desires.
Perhaps I won’t have to worry too long about whether Mashiro will overshadow Takagi as a writer, considering that his determination to spearhead the one-shot was apparently founded on pure confidence, without an actual idea to support it yet. That’s a suitably amateur way of acting, enough to keep Takagi firmly in the picture.
It feels like it’s been such a long time since we’ve actually seen Aoki in an actual scene, rather than in a small cutout panel. I love Weekly Aoki Ko and all of Hiramaru’s comical longing for her, but she deserves more attention than just that.
Aoki’s editor is absolutely right in not wanting her to write another romance, but a hybrid fantasy/romance could be the perfect style of manga for her to stand out enough to work her way back into the main cast.
Iwase is also doing a romance series? I hope something changes, as I’d hate for the two female mangaka to be generalized and gender stereotyped to such an extent.
No, if the middle of this chapter is any indication, I definitely don’t have to worry about Mashiro becoming an incredible author.
Mashiro’s walk carries a pretty listless and fairly depressing tone. Writer’s block and lack of inspiration are respectable problems, but Mashiro realizing that he has no particular interests or hobbies is a little sad, whether or not the scene is meant to convey such an emotion.
The relationship between Hiramaru and his editor has grown in a fascinatingly bizarre way, to the point where Hiramaru is almost the one in control, as he deliberately provokes the editor into offering him incentives for working hard. The editor still has enough grandiose plans up his sleeve to maintain the advantage for now, at least.
Whoa. Is this the creepiest panel Obata has ever produced?
The rapid exchange of panels, shifting between Mashiro and Eiji each explaining their ideas for the one-shot competition, is a brilliant idea executed to perfection. Seeing Eiji again is enough of a positive, but Mashiro’s contribution to this entire scene is so great that Eiji doesn’t completely steal the show. Wonderful end to the chapter, and the fact that everyone is coincidentally aiming to do romance one-shots is fantastic as well.
Final Flash: It’s amazing how great this series can be when highlighting the strengths of the established cast, rather than unnecessarily building up a new character far too late in the game. The lack of Shiratori and the interplay between the strongest characters in the series made for a refreshingly good chapter.