To celebrate their work getting into NEXT, Hattori treats Mashiro and Takagi to dinner as part the tradition where the editorial department always treats their new authors to dinner, and despite how they’re celebrating now he tells them that they’ll head back to his office afterward to plan out their oneshot.
When they get back he tells them about the other works being serialised in the same issue and then makes suggestions for what they should change and improve upon. It isn’t long until the issue of serialisation is brought up with Hattori feeling that it’s still far too soon for even Eiji to be serialised, however Mashiro insists that it’s their goal so he agrees that they’ll look into it if they not only manage to beat Eiji but also do well in the questionaires. Once they finish going over all the pages Hattori even pays for their taxi fare back with Mashiro feeling that they’re not being treated like kids anymore, back at the office one of the other editors suggests that their impatience towards being serialised is due to their youth.
At a fast food restaurant Azuki and Kaya are eating dinner together when she finds out that she doesn’t even know Mashiro’s address and as Azuki insists that she should do her best as well she has news that’s even more worse than not knowing his address. It’s then revealed that Azuki and her family will be moving away once she graduates when Kaya tells Takagi about it, this leads her to insist that they at least go on a date of some sort before they’re separated as there’s no guarantee that they’ll be together after it. Takagi feels that it would be going against the promise that they made but agrees with her when she starts to tear up. They then tell Mashiro about how Azuki is moving and suggest that he at least talks to her before she leaves, however he sees it as a reason for why he has to keep working and goes a little too far when Kaya confronts him on this.
When he’s alone Mashiro thinks this over a bit more, feeling that it’s still possible for him and Azuki to be together soon if they work hard, the reason for why he wants to be serialised. When he goes to the studio the next day he finds Takagi already working hard and they joke about how much they ate before, he then thanks him for his concern and makes amends with Kaya for the same reason who also feels she was out of line. There’s then another montage showing them working as the steadily head towards graduating, ending when they’re about to get to the hard part of the job, but before they go onto this Mashiro insists that Takagi and Kaya go out together while they can. It’s not long until they find themselves in the same park they talked in before where Takagi helps Kaya realise that Mashiro is still working hard but even then she’s still worried about them, Takagi then unexpectedly catches her off guard by commenting that worrying like that is kind of cute.
It then reaches the point where they all graduate from middleschool with Iwase giving a speech as their class representative at the ceremony. As they all prepare to go their separate ways one of Mashiro’s friends is in tears about it all but tells them how he’ll support them on their path to become Mangaka, Ishizawa also makes an appearance by telling them to keep up the hard work while Azuki still appears to be avoiding Mashiro. Who on his way back runs off in the other direction, eventually meeting up with Azuki who Kaya had stalled in order to give them a short amount of time to be together. But during that brief moment where they’re alone Mashiro finds himself unable to say a word before he finally finds the courage to ask her how long she would wait for him. Her answer is that she’ll wait as long as she has to, and so they all move on from middle school
For what it was this was still an all right episode, covering a few nice moments and while the pacing was still pathetically slow, still only managing to cover a single chapter. However like I’ve said before I think I’m actually starting to get used to it as the slower change of pacing makes it a bit more relaxing to watch. Anyway in this episode it was still nice to see some more of the things that an editor does shown along with Kaya’s concern towards Azuki and Mashiro being looked into a bit, as while she may appear forceful about how she doesn’t like their promise it’s really just because she wants them to be happy.
Being able to see the sort of things an editor does for the mangaka working with them, ranging from treating them to meals to just looking out for them in general, as seen when Hattori insisted that he would pay for a taxi back when Mashiro and Takagi were going to take the train home. It was something that was nice to see as it showed that their work wasn’t just limited to scrutinising the work that was brought in to them, but also seeing that the mangaka they worked with were taken care of when they started to show results, which also would have been something that kept them a bit more loyal to their magazine. On the other hand it also showed the slightly more serious side to it, where Hattori had went over each page and made suggestions for what they could change and what was holding them back, as even though he had done this in the past episodes he seemed a bit more serious this time around.
While it may have just been out of concern for Mashiro and Azuki, there was definitely some sort of divide between Kaya and Mashiro, as brief as it was. Looking a bit further than how she thought that their promise was weird by showing that it was simply because she wanted her friend to be happy, something she was generally sincere about. Eventually going further by presenting how it wasn’t absolutely certain that they could fulfill it, so considering how her opinion on it had been presented before it was great to see the reasons behind it explained and how she was actually suggesting that what she thought was the best for them, as she wasn’t telling them to completely give it up but more for them to at least spend a bit of time together while they can. So it was great to see this looked into, showing that her objections were because she had wanted Azuki to be happy while having her slowly accept it through seeing just how hard Mashiro was working towards it.
At the same time it also presented Mashiro’s stubbornness, showing how he went a little too far when Kaya had confronted him and how he still naively believed that it was possible for them to fulfill the promise if they worked hard enough, the very reason for his impatience. Along with just how naive Mashiro really was, as even if he and Takagi were serialised right away, their dreams for an anime could have still been quite far off. Meaning that just like Hattori had said it may have been better for them to wait a bit until they graduate before making that step, improving until then. However despite this Mashiro couldn’t really accept it, showing how his naivety and stubbornness had combined as the main driving force for how he was impatient about being serialised.
Other than that it also continued off where the feeling of transition in the last episode had left off, following up with them all graduating from middle school in preparation to go on to high school. For which the ceremony that was included was actually something that I liked about it, as even though it may have delayed things a bit it still gave off a nice feeling and allowed us to see some characters for what could have been the last time. With the likes of Iwase acting as their class representative, Mashiro and Takagi’s friends and classmates wishing them the best of luck, and even Ishizawa returning to show some form of apology for what he had said. However with all of that, it also lead to what would have been a fairly important scene for Azuki and Mashiro, where with her shifting even further away he found the courage to ask her how long she would wait for him. As due to how they mainly interact through messages and such, the importance to these scenes really stands out.
If anything we also now stand at the midpoint of the series, so I may as well take the time to talk about what I think about the series so far. Which I think that as a standalone series it may have been decent if anything but having read the manga I’m primarily viewing it as an adaptation, for which it is terrible as. Since not only is the pacing both pathetically and impractically slow, but it also lacks the feeling that I got when I read the manga, which was sort of fast paced and energetic while this is slow and relaxing. However the pacing stands out as being it’s weakest aspect, as no matter how you look at it adapting a weekly serialised manga at a rate of one chapter per episode without being ongoing just doesn’t work. It was also kind of disappointing to see it focus more on the romance aspect of the series as well, since personally I see it as one of the more weaker aspects of the series. However now that we’re into the second half there’s that chance that the pacing might pick up a bit and since Azuki has moved away the romance aspect shouldn’t be as prevalent as the manga aspect of it.