With their summer break at an end Mashiro tells Takagi how he’ll be working alone from now on, so he returns the key to the studio and explains to him how he’s started to write for Kaya just like he draws for Azuki, while they may no longer be a team Takagi still intends to go on as well and Mashiro will change his pen name to Ashiro Muto.
Takagi then leaves for school with Kaya and when he tells her what’s happened she feels guilty because she made him waste time with her, but Takagi tells her how it was still all his fault and how he’ll be going on for her because he likes her. After school Mashiro meets Hattori and informs him of his decision as well as the idea he has, however he immediately sees that it’s something Takagi would be suited to and calls him in secret. Finding out about how he intends to write a mystery story and encouraging him to keep at it as long as the protagonist is a normal detective who uses tricks.
He then returns to Mashiro and tells him how his art will be his strength in this, however at this point his captain, Aida shows up and tries to recruit him but Hattori tells him to get lost. Hattori then tells him how he could team up with the writer Aida has in mind but doing so would mean being unable to team up with Takagi. Something which with all the memories they have together is difficult to decide. The next day Hattori meets with Takagi and asks if he still wants to work with Mashiro and after hearing how it was his fault, he comes up with a plan to get them together as a team again.
Going on to tell him how they’re both writing the same sort of story, and with the minimum conditions leading to new series being canceled early he thinks it would be better for Takagi to spend the next two years planning out a good mystery story and when the time comes, Mashiro will draw it. With him making sure that he won’t be serialised until then, and when Takagi feels that it wouldn’t be right Hattori tells him how Mashiro reacted to being offered to team up with someone else, something that gives him the determination to want to right a great story without any help. As far as Hattori is concerned, his plan succeeded.
During one of their school days Kaya tries to get them to work together again, telling Mashiro how Takagi had used her computer but he’s still adamant about working alone, and later that night he hears from Fukuda who has a one shot coming up and tells him how Nakai has seriously changed. As he ends the call he tells them how as members of Team Fukuda they’ll all need to work harder to change the face of Jack. The next day Takagi meets Mashiro to accept his offer to check his names, all of which are detective stories. They then go on to tell each other when they got the idea to write a mystery and laugh at themselves for it. Takagi also tells Mashiro about the plan that Hattori had for him and Mashiro apologises for everything, realising that he needs his help.
As they head back to the studio they decide to trick Hattori by acting like they’ve still split up and when they’ve combined their ideas they’ll surprise him with the results. As usual Kaya is a bit behind on things but is happy at how they’re working together again, and when she feels bad for telling Azuki that they had split up Mashiro sends her a message telling her otherwise, actually showing Kaya and Takagi the response.
Mashiro leaving behind his position as an assistant at Eiji’s studio may have also meant leaving behind the fun antics with Eiji, Fukuda, and Nakai along with the exposition on the way manga is made, well the latter for the meantime. But still, this was a pretty good episode in how it went about the division that had slowly been building up between Mashiro and Takagi and resolving it.
For what it was the division aspect of this episode was one of the things that I liked, as aside from being built up to a few episodes before this it was also something that asked Mashiro just how important getting serialised as soon as possible was to him and whether it was really worth throwing away the friend who had been by his side all along to work with someone else. So if anything it put their friendship and all the memories that they had made working together to the test, making Mashiro stop for a second before rushing at any chance of serialisation.
Another thing that it showed was just how well that they worked apart, or really just how badly as while each of them aimed towards serialisation alone, there would still be something missing from their work which ironically the other had. With Mashiro needing Takagi’s writing ability to make a mainstream mystery manga and Takagi needing Mashiro’s idea for a main character and art, proving that they still needed to work together and that they make a great team even if they’re apart in the way that they were pretty much still working together.
As usual the scenes with Kaya in this episode were also pretty good to see and how she was at least one step behind on everything that was happening was also pretty funny in it’s own way. While it may have not been entirely her fault, it was also kind of nice how she was shown to still blame herself for the split between Mashiro and Takagi, even after Takagi had told her that it was completely due to him, something that seemed to remind us that her heart is always in the right place. Other than that it was also pretty fun to see her go about trying to get them together as a team again behind Takagi’s back, and good to see Takagi tell her how he would continue on for her sake.
Hattori also got a chance to shine as well, where after he had found out about what had happened he immediately went about fixing it and if anything was trying to better Mashiro and Takagi’s abilities at the same time. With his plan being to have Takagi work on something great for the next two years while he would purposely stop Mashiro from going anywhere at the same time, allowing them to get better and even reach the point where he thought that they would reach their potential. Aside from that with this plan, it also brought up just how minimal the serialisation process is the Shonen Jack/Jump with only three chapters being needed to get the go ahead, so it isn’t too much to think that a lot of new authors go in with any long term plans and will write their series on the fly to keep it going. Which if anything was what his plan was to prevent from happening.