Mashiro makes the trip to Kichijouji to work as an assistant for Eiji and hopes at the same time that Takagi is working as well as he intends to learn from Eiji.
When he gets there Nakai greets him and shows him around, Eiji however is completely absorbed in his work and aside from Mashiro and Nakai there is one more person working as an assistant, Shinta Fukuda. Someone that sees the job that they have as being easy since Eiji ends up doing most of it anyway, so he uses his spare time to work on his own works. When he finds out that Mashiro helped write Money and Intelligence he’s surprised but can see that it wasn’t suited for Shonen Jack, he also doesn’t appear to have much respect for Nakai who while he has far more experience than him as an assistant, still hasn’t been serialised.
At this point Eiji finishes the page he’s on and suddenly realises that Mashiro is here, even going as far as to offer him a seat and can’t see how he could learn from him in the first place. Meanwhile Takagi and Kaya are on another date where he’s still suffering from writers block and wonders whether it was the right choice for Mashiro to work as an assistant. Back at Eiji’s studio he and Mashiro talk about Crow’s rankings in the readers polls, where he tells him how the hard part starts after the first chapter and how he’s able to do manuscripts without names. However Fukuda can’t take it any longer and tells him how his series will be cancelled in six months if he keeps with the way he’s done the next few chapters. So Mashiro takes a look at them and can’t help but agree, with them both telling him how he has to think about his readers by getting them to ask themselves something instead of just doing what he thinks is cool.
This gives Eiji the resolve to redo these chapters in the two days before the deadline and even though they’re going to be rivals in the future they all agree to help, Nakai on the other hand can’t believe their youth. So the three of them have a meeting where Fukuda explains that he should try to grab as many readers as he can in the first ten chapters, and Eiji tells them how Yujiro got frustrated and gave up on meetings and names. So with everything in mind they set out to add more suspense and cliffhangers into Crow, even if they may be clichés and they even get Eiji to take out his notebook to draw names. Which when Mashiro sees he can see why Eiji is called a genius.
Before he sets off for his part-time job doing the early morning shift at a convenience store, Fukuda asks why Mashiro doesn’t work on his own however he tells him that he and Takagi are a team. He also takes the time to tell Eiji to actually think about where he’s taking his story so that they’ll have some work to do, and that with Nakai’s skill he should be able to draw the backgrounds with ease. Shortly after this Nakai and Mashiro head off to a nearby restaurant for dinner where Nakai tells him to order whatever he wants, as Eiji will pay for it all. When they arrive back Mashiro stays up a little longer and as he’s about to go to sleep he hears Nakai crying himself to sleep about how he hasn’t been serialised, and when he asks him about this he tells him to make sure that he doesn’t end up like him.
The next day they find that Eiji has done as they suggested so they actually have some work to do with Nakai’s skill as an assistant shining through. Yujiro arrives later on to pick up the chapter as usual and to his surprise he finds that the pages on the floor haven’t been completed yet and that Eiji has already got a name drawn out and wants to have meetings. While they may have ended up helping him, Fukuda doesn’t regret it and Mashiro resolves to learn something before he leaves.
Finally this series is starting to find its feet, with the focus shifting back towards manga and even the otherwise closed off cast of side characters starting to expand out. Through the likes of Nakai and Fukuda finally being introduced. Given how fun he is as a character, it’s also great to see Eiji get more screentime as well, and even though they may regret it in the future, Mashiro and Fukuda doing what they could to support him as his rivals.
It was also great to see Eiji get quite a bit of screentime as well, showing that even though he may be considered a genius it didn’t mean that he wasn’t without any flaws, in how he refused to do the names and have meetings with his editor which Mashiro and Takagi would always do. Let alone the way his manga seemed stagnant to those who read it, so to see him learn to do these things and better Crow was nice to see, and it was pretty fun to see how high he regarded Mashiro despite him being his assistant. And I may have not said it before but he has a strangely awesome sketchbook.
The part about how some of the characters are working as assistants was also pretty interesting in how it reflected the way that some real life mangaka had done the same before going on to write the series that they’re known for today. Other than that it also gave the chance for some of the characters to mess around together like how Eiji, Mashiro, and Fukuda went over the chapters of Crow in order to make them better, and showed what kind of work would usually be covered by them.
Fukuda also turned out to be a pretty interesting character, and how he was voiced by Junichi Suwabe was something that I liked and thought suited him. He also happened to present something that isn’t too rare in Shonen Jack’s real life equivalent as well in the way that new series don’t exactly last long, and will be quickly cancelled if they fail to grab enough readers within the first ten or so chapters. Aside from that he seemed to be the only one who really stepped up to critise Eiji and seemed to bring with him a somewhat hotblooded aspect to the series.
Nakai, voiced by Tomoyuki Shimura on the other hand seemed to introduce another possible result to those who aspire to become mangaka, as in all the years he had been an assistant he had never been serialised. Something that while he didn’t appear all that bothered by when we first saw him it was really something that pained him, let alone as an assistant he would have always been the one supporting those who were serialised on the side. So in all this seemed to introduce another possible failed end similar to that of Mashiro’s Uncle, however unlike Kawaguchi Taro it would be one where they fail to take off to begin with.