After he hit Ishizawa, Takagi was suspended from school and Mashiro appears to be in another slump because of it. While he’s up on the rooftop he receives a message that shows that he’s still working hard but leaves shortly after Kaya comes up to ask about him. Later that day while he practices his drawing he remembers things from when Takagi had asked him to team up with him and how much he had sacrificed for his dream, wishing that it had all actually awarded to something.
At Azuki’s house, Azuki and Kaya read through the copy of Shonen Jack where Mashiro and Takagi’s work was judged, her younger sister, Mina shows up and is surprised that they know someone who’s work made it in. Her mother then appears, sending Mina away and finds out about what had happened to Takagi from Kaya, who at this point already considers herself to be his girlfriend. Mashiro is finding it difficult to sleep and meets his grandfather in the kitchen, who tells him how it’s actually his father that’s supporting his dream and counters his doubts by telling him how Takagi chose to work with him so he shouldn’t have any regrets about it, something that was also in his uncle’s manga.
So because of this he’s able to head to school with a brighter outlook and Azuki congratulates him during class but when she asks about Takagi he decides to head over to his house to see how he’s doing. So by following the address that the school gave him he finds a run down old apartment where Takagi answers the door, and if anything is still as cheerful and energetic as always. As he heads inside he sees two more pairs of shoes and sees that both Iwase and Kaya have also come over.
While there he sees all of the manuscripts that he wrote but didn’t quite think they were good enough, Mashiro then shifts the focus to why both Iwase and Kaya are here and while he could see how Kaya might be worried he has no idea for why Iwase would be here. But when he remembers how they had first met and shook hands, it lead to her considering that they were in a relationship while he had just thought it was the sort of thing rivals did, even then he still points out how he’s progressed further with her than Mashiro has with Azuki and how Mashiro’s timing had saved him from Kaya. After this Takagi tries to make it clear that if he had to choose whether he liked both of them or not, it would have to be like and the feelings that they both have for him are a bit stronger. However Iwase tells him to drop his dream of being a mangaka while Kaya supports it, so the choice becomes clear as he tells her that dropping it would be something he’d regret and that she can laugh at him if she’s right.
After this she leaves saying that laughing at him is something she could never do with tears in her eyes as she steps out the door. It then turns out that Kaya is also planning to go to the same school that Takagi and Mashiro are going to and after everything that had happened she takes it as them officially dating now, so he tells her that he didn’t intend to confess to her back then and that he had only talked to her because of Mashiro and Azuki. But before he can go any further he receives a punch to the face as she intends to go ahead with the beating she was prepared to give him before, he doesn’t resist in anyway and immediately after this Kaya is already acting as his girlfriend. Takagi and Mashiro then get a chance to talk to each other with Takagi telling him how Hattori told him to make sure that they revised their work and Mashiro helping him up while promising that Takagi won’t regret working with him. Meanwhile Eiji has made it to Tokyo and as his editor shows him around, he locks eyes with a crow and immediately starts to chase it down the street.
Once again the pacing was ridiculously slow where while the previous episodes had managed to cover at least one chapter of the source material, this one didn’t even manage to do that. Only the latter half of the episode covering half a chapter, however despite that it was still alright to see some extra details come into it. But it’s just that with 25 episodes set out this kind of pacing would only really be suitable if it was a never ending sort of series, where there really isn’t a set episode count like quite a few other anime adaptations to series running in Shonen Jump.
Some of these details were things like the discussion that Mashiro had with his grandfather about the doubts that he had about whether Takagi had made the right choice to team up with him, and aside from putting these at rest for the time being he was also able to learn that while his father was still kind of distant he had been supporting the dream he had by paying for his studio’s upkeep. The doubts that he had were also clearly presented as Takagi being suspended for defending him had clearly put Mashiro into a slump with these doubts coming to the surface.
The love triangle between Takagi, Kaya, and Iwase was also settled in this episode, though the former had no idea that he was even in it or that both Kaya and Iwase had taken otherwise simple gestures to be something else. And while Kaya had remained fairly awesome I actually found myself liking Iwase a lot more than I did back when I had read it two or so years ago. As the love she had for him came across as a bit more genuine and how she wanted Takagi to give up his dream came across as something that was really the best choice. As it’s been clearly set in place that the choice to become a mangaka is something that most people would regret as most often than not they will end up with nothing. However she just did this in a series about following your dreams.
With Iwase’s departure it would obviously mean that Takagi would be left with Kaya, as what the deciding factor seemed to be was that she would still support his dream. Though he didn’t really intend to start a relationship with her to begin with, and how she voiced her reaction to this was something that was pretty fun to see. As she switched between a lovey-dovey sort of mood to one where she was prepared to put all the martial arts that she was known for being good at to good use, particularly boxing and then back again. But while this alone sounds kind of generic there’s just something else there that makes it a bit more entertaining to see, and even then the two of them work together well enough.
Another detail that it showed towards the end was where Eiji found the inspiration for the work he would have serialised, as among the bustling city that would have all been new for him he found himself locking eyes with and chasing after a crow. However how he’s continually used as a cliffhanger every time he appears isn’t really something that I like at the moment, as while he’s an interesting character who’s fairly popular to boot (even topping a recent poll). Only being used in that way feels pretty weak, so it would be great to see him actually show up more often in the body of the actual episode itself.