This is a special episode released in the Blu-ray Box of Bakuman 2nd series. It is the first animated episode of "Otter 11".
This is a special episode released in the Blu-ray Box of Bakuman 3rd series. It is the last animated episode of "Otter 11".
Included in the BD/DVD box 2
Moritaka Mashiro, an average student with a talent for drawing, forgets his notebook at school, where his classmate Akito Takagi finds and looks through it. Takagi likes his drawings and asks Mashiro to team up with him to create a best-selling manga. Mashiro refuses because his uncle was a manga artist until he died from overworking, while deeply in debt, which derails his dream. Takagi soon invites him to visit Miho Azuki, the girl Mashiro has an unrequited crush on, and Takagi tells her of his plan to create a manga that will become an anime, in which she will play the heroine. Mashiro also proposes to marry Azuki when both their dreams come true, and she agrees that they will, but shall not see each other until then. With this motivation, Mashiro decides to become a manga artist.
Mashiro chats with Takagi, who tells him that he chose Mashiro because he is smarter than many of his peers in matters outside of scholarship, and that he believes Azuki has a similar kind of intelligence, with the ability to be appealling to others. Mashiro tells Takagi that he believes his uncle committed suicide, and thus suspects that his parents will oppose him becoming a manga artist. Mashiro's mother says his uncle did not commit suicide, but still opposes his decision until his father and grandfather show support for his dream. Mashiro's grandfather gives him his deceased uncle's studio apartment, and Mashiro brings Takagi to see it.
Mashiro and Takagi arrive at Mashiro's uncle's apartment, where they look around and Mashiro shows Takagi the manuscripts and storyboards, that the author of a manga series produces before drawing it. Mashiro realizes that his uncle was working extremely hard until his death and vows to approach it with the same resolve. Mashiro and Takagi find letters between his uncle and his friend from childhood, which stop before his hit manga was serialized, and looking at a yearbook photo of her, realized that he had been in love with Azuki's mother. They go to visit Azuki's mother the next day, and learn that she was also in love with him, but never could admit it and fell in love with someone else. Mashiro asks Azuki's mother not to tell her about the relationship between her and her uncle, and he then sets out to make a manga.
Mashiro shows Takagi all that he has drawn and points out all the mistakes he has made, as well as the finer points of using tools for drawing manga. When Takagi questions him, Mashiro tells him about G-Pens and Kabura pens, making manuscripts, and Taro Kawaguchi's three rules to a successful manga: conceit, doing your best, and luck. When they go to a convenience store, Takagi notices that the latest issue of Jack has a semi-finalist named Eiji Nizuma, a fifteen year old manga creator. The two discuss their high schools, manga, and editors, thus coming to the conclusion that they would finish the manuscript for a manga by summer's end and show it to an editor of Jack. While walking home with Takagi, Mashiro encounters Azuki by chance; while the two are unable to look at each other as they pass, they both turn back to look.
Recalling when he and Azuki turned back to look at each other at the same time, Mashiro tells Takagi that he and Azuki have been on the same frequency for years, indicating that they are connected without having to say anything about it. Azuki's best friend Kaya Miyoshi goes to Takagi to complain about him telling Azuki about her dream, and as she does so, gives indications of romantic interest in Takagi that Mashiro and Miyoshi notice. During the summer, Mashiro and Takagi stay at Mashiro's uncle's office, and work on a manga called The Two Earths. When it is complete, they call the Shonen Jack editorial department.
Mashiro and Takagi meet with Akira Hattori, one of the editors at Shonen Jack. He notes that their work has flaws, as it is too text-driven and not drawn in manga style, but they have potential. He tells them that they are better suited to figuring out what could be a hit and drawing that, rather than drawing what they want, and while they are less likely to get a smash hit with that skillset, they are more likely to follow up on one if they do. Hattori gives them his contact information, encouraging them to come to him with their work. At school, the teacher decides to seat boys and girls next to each other, resulting in Mashiro sitting next to Azuki.
After meeting with Hattori, Mashiro and Takagi continue working on new submissions, and Mashiro writes notes to Azuki in class. Azuki cries after Mashiro asks her if they have to wait to be together until they have fulfilled their dreams, and she gives him her email. Mashiro is anxious to submit a work for the Tezuka Award so that Azuki can smile again, but Takagi suggests that they should proceed more cautiously and make their manga as good as it can be. Hattori calls them, and tells them that the work they submitted did not even make it to the finalists, but Takagi and Mashiro resolve to keep trying and go for the next Tezuka award, much to Hattori's pleasure. Nizuma receives a visit from his editor and the editor in chief, and agrees to move to Tokyo to write his manga if he gets the right to cancel one series after becoming the top-ranked manga artist.
Takagi comes up with some more ideas, including One Hundred Millionth, a story about people being ranked according to their abilities, and Hattori is impressed with the story, causing Mashiro to wonder if his art is good enough. The story is chosen as one of the finalists, but does not make it to the four chosen for the award or honorable mentions. Shortly afterward, Ishizawa, a classmate, claims that Mashiro's art is holding Takagi down. Takagi gets angry and punches Ishizawa.
Takagi is suspended for a week after punching Ishizawa, causing Mashiro to worry about him. He goes over to visit Takagi and learns that the story ideas he submitted to him were only a few of the ones he came up with. Mashiro then learns that Miyoshi and Aiko Iwase, the second best student in his grade, both have feelings for Takagi. Takagi tells them that he likes them both, but cannot be in a relationship with either due to his manga career. Iwase tells him to quit writing manga and leaves, while Miyoshi promises to support him. Miyoshi gets angry after Takagi admits that he only spoke to her to get information about Azuki for Mashiro, and Mashiro leaves with his determination restored.
Mashiro and Takagi meet with Hattori, who says the manga artists liked their work, but the editors judging it thought it would never be published. Mashiro, wanting to progress faster than he is now, wonders if he could submit a work for serialization, and Hattori is doubtful. The editor in chief says that work needs to be good to be serialized, but Mashiro and Takagi are not good enough yet, and need a good main character to do so. Their early attempts are unimpressive, but Hattori suggests that a cult hit that only 20 percent of the reader base would read, but consider their favorite, might be a way for Mashiro and Takagi to get first place. Takagi mentions an idea he has called Money and Intelligence, in which people sell the contents of their minds to others, and Hattori suggests that they work on it.
Mashiro and Takagi work on Money and Intelligence while applying to the relatively easy North High School. Miyoshi questions why Mashiro and Azuki are not seeing each other, and Takagi concludes that Azuki wants to remain focused on her dream. Mashiro and Takagi get accepted into North High School along with Miyoshi and learn that their work will run in the seasonal magazine NEXT. Hattori tells them that the editors are planning to use them to make Nizuma look good by comparison, but he tells them this is their chance to impress them and win against Nizuma.
After celebrating by eating out, Hattori, Takagi and Mashiro discuss Money and Intelligence, and what changes they need to make to it. Hattori says that they should wait until graduating from high school to go for serialization, and that even Nizuma is going for it too early. Miyoshi tells Takagi that Azuki is moving and hopes that she will see Mashiro at least once before she does. Mashiro insists on keeping to their promise despite not knowing how long it will take until he is able to fulfill it, but meets with Azuki on the way home from the graduation ceremony. He asks how long she will wait, and she promises to wait forever, pleasing him.
Mashiro, at Miyoshi's suggestion, sends an email to Azuki to begin correspondence with her. During the first day of high school, Mashiro and Takagi submit their new pseudonym, "Muto Ashirogi". Hattori is impressed with their work, but Mashiro notices that he is not expecting Money and Intelligence to be serialized, wondering if it is because of his desire that they wait until after high school to get serialized. Money And Intelligence gets first place in the early results of the NEXT polls, but drops to third place in the actual results, with Nizuma's work getting half the votes. This development convinces Mashiro and Takagi that they must make a mainstream work to go for first place, and resolve to make one better than their previous efforts.
Mashiro has come to the conclusion that doing mainstream battle manga is the way forward, and draws characters from other battle manga to polish his skills at drawing this type of manga, Meanwhile Nizuma's manga "Yellow Hit" is on the verge of being serialized, but Nizuma's editor learns that he is planning on submitting "Crow" instead, and brings him down to the editorial offices. At the same time, Mashiro and Takagi are meeting with Hattori, who tells them that they are not suited to mainstream manga and that the mainstream authors who are popular are considerably more talented. Nizuma meets Mashiro and Takagi, telling them that he liked Money And Intelligence and wants to be friends with them, before drawing a name in front of them. Hattori hopes that demonstration will convince them that they're not able to compete with him in mainstream manga, but they remain determined to do so, and he gives them six months to submit a good mainstream work before he steps down as their editor.
Hattori goes over the weaknesses of Mashiro and Takagi's storyboard, and tells them that they need good characters, simple yet exciting battles, cute heroines, and tragedy and humor to make a good storyboard. Nizuma admits that he wrote the name on the spot, rather than having it in his head, and Mashiro and Takagi realize that he is a "genius" who can draw what he wants. Nizuma tells his editor that he likes the passion in Mashiro and Takagi's eyes, and sees them as his rivals. Meanwhile, Azuki auditions for Saint Visual Girls' Academy, a midnight anime, and gets a bit part. Mashiro, seeing her progressing toward her dream, becomes somewhat impatient and asks her to continue waiting for him, and she promises to do so while telling him to stop sending emails like that.
Mashiro and Takagi, incorporating Hattori's suggestions, comes up with a concept for a story about an angel fighting other angels who kill humans to advance themselves, but are frustrated at their lack of progress. The name is rejected, but the feedback notes that they have promise. Around this time, Takagi is struggling to think of another idea, and begins seeing Miyoshi more often, prompting Mashiro to wonder if he is working on it at all. Hattori learns that Nizuma needs an assistant and that Takagi would not stop Mashiro from going to work for him. Mashiro hears of the offer, and is hesitant to accept it until he happens upon Takagi kissing Miyoshi.
Mashiro starts work as an assistant for Nizuma, and meets the other two assistants; Shinta Fukuda, who had placed lower than he did in NEXT, and Takurō Nakai, who won an award 10 years ago, but has been unable to accomplish anything noteworthy since then. Despite Fukuda and Nizuma questioning why he is working as an assistant instead of trying to get published, Mashiro is determined to learn what he can to help Takagi. Fukuda realizes that "Crow" will eventually get canceled after the novelty wears off if Nizuma does not make it more substantial and interesting. Nizuma adjusts the story accordingly, while also deciding to meet with his editor.
While reworking Chapter 5, Fukuda reveals that he is dissatisfied with many aspects of Jack, particularly how series are ordered by their popularity, but Yujiro tells him to get serialized before he talks about changing Jack. Nizuma tells Mashiro that he has been drawing since he was young, when his family had no money for video games, and Mashiro remembers how he also was drawing all the time before his uncle died. Mashiro, remembering his passion for manga, resigns as Nizuma's assistant and goes home, where he looks through his old manga, and decides to write a mystery next. Meanwhile, Takagi is writing cell phone novels for Miyoshi to publish, causing Mashiro to wonder if he is working on the name at all. Mashiro notices the contrast between Takagi's relationship with Miyoshi and his own relationship with Azuki, and wondering if the distance between them is increasing, asks why she is willing to accept not seeing him. After some thought, Azuki responds that she believes her love will be greater once they fulfill their promise, and Mashiro resolves to create a manga for her, by himself if necessary.
Summer ends without Mashiro hearing back from Takagi, and Takagi returns the key to Mashiro's uncle's apartment, apologizing for failing to come up with a name in time but resolving to become a manga writer. Mashiro meets with Hattori, who is impressed with his idea of a detective who cons criminals into exposing themselves, but doubts he can succeed without Takagi's help. Hattori learns that Takagi is also intending to make a mystery, but does not reveal Mashiro's story to him until another editor asks Mashiro to illustrate a runner-up for Story King. Hattori then plans for Mashiro and Takagi to work on their detective story for two years before it gets serialized, without having either tell the other. Mashiro struggles to write a name on his own, but Takagi approaches him and shows him five names, one of which is a detective story. Mashiro and Takagi decide to work together again, and to work on their detective story for the next six months.
Mashiro and Takagi discuss how to improve the concept behind the story, now known as Detective Trap, and Takagi begins looking over many detective stories that Hattori sent him. The two meet with Hattori, insisting on proceeding with Detective Trap while still in high school, and Hattori tells them that in order to get serialized, Detective Trap must do well in the Golden Cup, and they must bring him a 19-page story every two weeks to show that they can do so every week with assistants. They succeed in keeping up in spite of the difficulty involved in doing so, and are officially entered into the contest.
Mashiro and Takagi continue submitting a story every two weeks, with Mashiro sacrificing sleep to do so, but they have several weeks to go. They see Nakai with Ko Aoki, the runner-up of the Story King competition. Nakai reveals that he's entering- with her, and that Fukuda's entry is expected to place first. Hattori reveals that Muto Ashirogi's work has gotten into the Golden Future Cup, and while the rank influences how it will fare, so will the number of people who voted that they liked it. One of their rivals is Koji "Koogy" Makaino, a popular musician who wishes to become a mangaka, and Fukuda believes that his fans will give him an unfair advantage in the questionnaires. Fukuda, Nakai, Mashiro and Takagi then go to the editorial offices to protest this.
Team Fukuda reaches the editorial offices, but despite their protests, the editors do not believe Koogy's advantage is unfair or his tactics are unethical, and Mashiro decides to defeat him by making a better manga. Fukuda then proposes that the authors check each other's names, and they are surprised by each other's level of skill. Midway through the session, Aoki refuses to continue to participate, saying that her manga is better than the others, and the session ends with Nizuma says two of the manga are significantly better than the third, but declining to specify. Mashiro then ponders rewriting the name in the face of his competiton, and after getting an email from Miho discussing her doing singing again and her becoming more confident, decides to do so.
Mashiro and Takagi both decide to rewrite their manga. Fukuda, Aoki and Nakai also rewrite their manga. Later Fukuda's manga is shown first with positive reviews. Next Mashiro and Takagi's manga is also shown with good reviews. Nakai panics and thinks that when Nizuma said that the winners were tied and there was a third place, he meant his manga. Then Aoki and Nakai's manga is shown with also positive reviews. All three series are okayed to begin work on names for serialization. Azuki said that she liked Mashiro and Takagi's manga, which gives Mashiro hope.
Koogy's manga does poorly in the Golden Future Cup, leaving Mashiro and Takagi, Fukuda, and Nakai and Aoki as the top contenders. An unprecedented two-way tie happens, with Fukuda and Ashirogi Muto both getting first place. Azuki calls Takagi to thank him for supporting Mashiro and encouraging him to pursue becoming a manga artist, but is too embarrassed to congratulate Mashiro directly herself. Having won the Golden Future Cup, Mashiro and Takagi prepare to submit their story for serialization.
Thirteen series are submitted for the serialization meeting and are discussed by the team captains, editor in chief and deputy editor. Of all 13, Detective Trap and Otter 11, a manga by newcomer Kazuya Hiramaru, are chosen for serialization. Mashiro receives congratulations from his rivals, who promise to get serialized themselves to compete with him. Mashiro then reflects on how far he has come and how far he has yet to go, before he receives a call from Azuki, who congratulates him and tells him that their dream will come true. Hattori stops by with a man called Miura, who will be their new editor.
The story picks up directly where the Season 1 finale left, introducing Miura as Moritaka and Takagi's new editor and introduces Hiramaru at the New Year's Party
Mashiro and Takagi get to know their new assistants, while Azuki struggles with her decision to do an ecchi photo shoot.
Nakai vows to do whatever it takes to renew his partnership with Aoki.
As Trap's ranking continues dropping, Mashiro and Takagi consider major changes.
Trap begins to move in the rankings, but the competition is fierce. Overwork takes its toll on Mashiro.
Mashiro is hospitalized, but refuses to stop drawing. Trap is put on hiatus.
Trap is put on hiatus unless Muto Ashirogi's rivals boycott can stop it.
The boycott is in full effect. Miura makes one last desperate plea to sway the chief into resuming Trap.
Trap resumes publication, but is cancelled due to low rankings.
The team must decide which genre to choose for their new manga. Miura urges them to draw a gag manga, but Mashiro and Takagi prefer something serious.
Both Muto Ashirogi's "Future Watch" and "Hitman 10" are well received by the editorial staff. The chief decides to run both as one-shots, before making a decision on serialization.
Miura's data research concludes that the team should focus on a gag manga, however Mashiro and Takagi are not so sure.
Takagi gets advice from Aoki, which leads to problems in his love life.
The boy's new gag manga is published in NEXT, however both have serious problems in their love lives.
Azuki and Mashiro continue to fight with each other over trust. Takagi and Miyoshi both feel extremely guilty, and blame themselves for them fighting. Takagi finally decides to explain what happened to Miyoshi, considering Mashiro and Azuki are too stubborn to apologize to each other. After planning to meet at the zoo, Takagi is met by a crying Aoki, who hugs him, causing Miyoshi to run off. When Takagi finally reaches her, he proposes to her. After a talk with Aoki, they decide to get married after he gets serialized. They invite Azuki to tea, and Azuki forgives Mashiro, much to his confusion.
Aoki asks Nakai to draw the art for her new manga but he states he only will on the condition she will go out with him, angering her to the point she slaps him. Afterwards she continues her in search for someone to help her draw sufficient panty shots in order for her manga to have a more "shōnen" feel to it, but isn't able to find anyone suitable. After many events, Fukuda ends up offering his help, since his manga Kiyoshi Knight is doing so well due to his own well-drawn panty shots. Aoki is a hesistant to accept his help but under the circumstances she has little choice but to accept it in the end.
The team awaits the results of the serialization meeting. Nakai considers quitting manga and returning home. Hattori talks to Nizuma about doing the artwork for a new project.
The results of the serialization meetings are announced and everyone finds out Niizuma is the one who did the art on +Natural.
In an effort to motivate them, Hattori snubs Ashirogi Muto at the Christmas party. +Natural is released to critical acclaim, but Tanto is holding steady.
Feeling they will never beat Niizuma with their current manga, Ashirogi Muto consider quitting Tanto.
The team begin on their new anime, a reworking of "Money and Intelligence." When the serialization committee rejects it, Miura suggests they try mainstream fantasy.
The team's newest work "Stopper of Magma" is rejected without consideration for serialization. Miura reveals he has been receiving advice from Hattori, who suggests they draw a serious comedy. Muto Ashirogi follow Hattori for inspiration, and develop the idea for their last chance manga.
"Perfect Crime Club" gets rave reviews, but the serialization committee must decide if it can beat "Crow" and "+Natural."
The committee decides the fate of "Perfect Crime Club," and the team gets a new editor.
After working hard to make last minute changes to their manuscript, Muto Ashirogi leave "Perfect Crime Party's" fate in the hands of the readers.
Miho is offered a chance to audition for the upcoming +Natural anime adaptation.
Competition heats up between Perfect Crime Party and Niizuma and Akina's +Natural causing Mashiro and Niizuma to change their art styles. Akina becomes infatuated with Niizuma after he acknowledges her talent. Takahama and Fukada begin new serializations.
Mashiro and Takagi decide that Perfect Crime Party won't be able to beat Crow and +Natural at their current pace. Takagi decides that writing a five-week long story arc will increase PCP's rating for week 25, but feels the story he comes up with is lacking something. After seeing Iwase again, he realizes that PCP needs a rival character.
PCP gets selected for a drama CD to which Mashiro and Takagi nominate Azuki for the role of the main female character. As popularity of PCP continues to increase a light novel is also spawned. However Takagi and Mashiro still push for an anime adapation causing Hattori to say that PCP will probably not be made into one. He goes on to explain that the editors at Yueisha had received numerous letters of complaint from adults saying that their children have been engaging in petty crimes and mischievous behaviour because of PCP's realistically influencial content. Niizuma also seems upset upon learning of this news. Shiratori draws his own storyboard with help from Takagi and shows it to Hattori who says that it may be good enough to be printed as a one-shot and even a serialization. Mashiro had conceived a plan for Ashirogi Muto to begin work on another manga. Therefore the news of Takagi and Shiratori collaborating took him by surprise because it would mean that Takagi would have to team up with Shiratori as well.
Takagi and Shiratori's manga Rabuta & Peace is entered into the serialization committee and it is published in the November issue of Shonen Jack placing 5th in the voting charts. Mashiro decides to use his free time to improve his drawing skill, aiming to reach a level where he can draw two manga simultaneously and be on par with Niizuma. Shiratori's mother disapproves of him drawing manga because of their family's high class reputation causing him to run away from home. His family then comes to the studio looking for him where Shiratori's mother insults everyone there by looking down on their manga artists' abilities. This leads to a heated exchange of words by both parties. Hiramaru and Aoki's serializations are both canceled due to low ratings and enter into an upcoming competition, Super Leaders Fest. Upon learning of this and Niizuma's participation (meaning that he will now be working on three manga) Mashiro decides to enter on his own with a new manga, since he doesn't want to affect Takagi's quality on PCP and Rabuta & Peace. However Takagi states that they will enter together.
Mashiro convinces Takagi to let him work on their entry for the Super Leaders Fest so he can concentrate on Rabuta & Peace. After overcoming a bit of writer's block, Mashiro decides on entering with a love story. At Yueisha's Annual New Years Day party (2015) it is discovered that everyone intends on entering the Super Leaders Fest with love stories. Mashiro asks Azuki for her input in his manga which would be based on their feelings for each other. Mashiro and Takagi end up having a fight over whether or not it is right for them to drift apart and work on separate manga. Shiratori decides to quit being an assistant and focus on getting Rabuta & Peace serialized while Takagi stops coming to the studio altogether, even going as far as to discuss PCP with Hattori separately. Later on Takagi comes back and explains that he had been away teaching Shiratori to become independent because Rabuta & Peace is his manga. Ashirogi Muto end up entering together and in the end they place 4th in the competition but reflect that it was worth it because they both had grown from their experiences.
Yoshida wants Hiramaru to aim his manga, Never Reaching You, which placed 2nd in the Super Leaders Fest for a serialization. Hiramaru reluctantly agrees so long as he can go on a tea date with Aoki. Suspecting that Yoshida may be pulling the strings behind the scene, Hiramaru and Aoki to turn off their phones so they can't be disturbed. When Yoshida realizes this, he goes after them but is sent on a wild goose chase through the city. Takagi, Mashiro and Fukada deduce that Hiramaru went to the tea shop he wrote about in his manga. They chase him and Aoki to a pedestrian bridge where Yoshida tries to convince him to keep drawing because he is a true genius that comes around every 2-3 years. Hiramaru goes to confess to Aoki, but Yoshida tries to talk him out of it because he will be crushed if he is turned down. However he goes ahead with support from Mashiro, Takagi, Miyoshi and Fukada, to which Aoki accepts. Ashirogi Muto are chozen to judge a competition called Treasure, and they are told that a newcomer, has entered with a manga called The Classroom of Truth that potentially surpasses all of their work.
Mashiro and Takagi begin reading The Classroom of Truth and decide that it is an excellent manga despite the fact that it is unorthodox in nature. The serialization committee however, in the end, decide that the manga itself is not suited for Shonen Jack and have it remain a finalist in the competition. Its author, Nanamine Tooru turns out to be a long time fan of Ashirogi Muto and is brought to Yueisha to discuss changing the material of The Classroom of Truth. However, Nanamine releases the manga on the internet which upsets Yueisha's policy but in return he brings them a new manga which the Chief reads and approves as a one-shot immediately, while everyone begins to think highly of him. Later, when Nanamine meets Takagi and Mashiro, he reveals a devious plan where he deliberately collaborates with fellow mangaka on the internet and incorporates their ideas into his work, which he then passes off as his own. He states that he will do what is necessary to rise to the top of Shonen Jack. This new revelation leaves both Mashiro and Takagi angered.
As Nanamine's meeting with Mashiro and Takagi continues, he equates them to amateaurs with no self confidence. Realizing that their words are falling on deaf ears, Mashiro adamantly states that sooner or later Nanamine's scheme will be exposed. Nanamine continues to refine the storyboard for his one-shot with help from his internet community, should it get serialized and completely neglects input from his editor, Kosugi. A flashback shows Nanamine being a loner as a child, until he read Ashirogi Muto's Money & Intelligence, spawning his myopic philosophy that anything can be achieved through money alone. As Nanamine's rating gets even higher, Mashiro and Takagi analyze his progress and begin to discuss their successor to PCP. The editorial department continue to marvel at Nanamine's work albeit minor skepticism from Hattori and Kosugi. Eventually Kosugi goes to Nanamine's house for a meeting where Nanamine reveals his method; paying artists to draw his manga after merging their ideas, to a shocked Kosugi and virtually blackmails him into keeping it quiet. Eventually the serialization committee makes their selections.
The serialization committee decides to serialize Aoki's What God Gave Me and Nanamine's What You Need for a Meaningful School Life. As Kosugi begins to be bothered by Nanamine's method, Hattori senses his discomfort and visits Mashiro and Takagi to gain some insight on Kosugi's attitude, which they reveal is due to Nanamine's unorthodox method, enraging Hattori. At the same time, Nanamine calls Akito to gloat about his serialization, but Ashirogi Muto states they will crush his methods using all the hard work they have put into PCP. Unperturbed, Nanamine says that they will let the rankings decide who is superior. Eventually, Hattori confronts Kosugi and is able to lift his spirits by reminding him of his value as an editor. As Nanamine collaborates with his internet acquaintances, some drop out after becoming fearful of his intention to challenge Ashirogi Muto. While Mashiro and Takagi decide how best to contest Nanamine, they realize, that they can best counterattack, by pitting the climax of PCP's current arc against Nanamine's second chapter. Eventually, as Kosugi reviews Nanamine's work and points out the weakness in his background drawings, Nanamine reveals his secret weapon: a returning Takuro Nakai.
As Nanamine's battle with Ashirogi Muto continues, he hires Nakai and is able to increase the level of his art albeit Nakai inadvertently discovers his method. As the weeks progress, Aoki's What God Gave Me rises to the top of the rankings followed by a sharp decline, while Ashirogi Muto's PCP remain steady at 4th place. Nanamine's What You Need for a Meaningful School Life initially comes in 2nd place but soon plummets to 15th and is on the verge of cancellation since he keeps adding too many ideas from his internet community. Nanamine then tries to bait Ashirogi Muto into competing with the same type of story, which they reject outright due to Yueisha's policy. While he continues to argue with his internet community and rejecting Kosugi's input, a large part of Nanamine's community abandons him for rejecting their ideas and exposes his method to deputy chief editor Aida. Kosugi decides to take full responsibility and visits Nanamine, who asks him to steal Ashirogi Muto's next storyboard out of desperation. Afterwards, Kosugi visits Mashiro and Takagi and explains the situation to them. He asks that they compete with the same story as Nanamine (with permission from the Chief and Hattori) and teach him what it really means to be a mangaka, which they accept.
Kosugi explains the competition to Nanamine and tells him that if he loose, he has to form a proper author-editor relationship with him. Meanwhile, Takagi explains the obvious flaw in Nanamine's method: controlling such a large group of people and choosing/blending the best ideas from them is simply impossible. Nakai also realizes this and tells the internet community that Nanamine had been hiding the true ratings from them to prevent their departure, which they do upon learnin of this. With his ranking dropped to 19th and PCP in 3rd place, Nanamine decides to give up but Kosugi doesn't let him walk away and demonstrates he wouldn't leave him, prompting Nanamine to start anew by doing the work himself. Eventually, at Yueisha's Annual New Years Day party (2016), Nanamine deems Ashirogi Muto his rival and vows to beat them eventually. Soon an elementary school reunion takes place which Mashiro attends and is hailed as a celebrity by his former classmates. Afterwards, he explains to Takagi how their profession made them miss out on enjoying life with their friends but are both content that they are pursuing their dream. Finally, news of a bank robbery airs. A volume of PCP was left, showing the thieves mimicked the manga.
As Mashiro and Azuki ponder the effects that the robbery would have on PCP and Takagi, the Chief and Hattori decide to support Ashirogi Muto as much as possible. However, Takagi's mental state has already been greatly affected. This causes him to write lower quality stories and eventually he reuses old ideas he once rejected. This results in PCP's ranking dropping from the top five to the 12th place. As PCP enters a slump, Yujirou confides in Hattori of Nizuma's deal to cancel one manga should he get the top spot in the rankings, which may happen soon. This leads Hattori to become fearful of PCP's serialization. As another bank robbery occurs, the thieves leave a card, claiming they are PCP, which enrages Takagi but he finally finds a way to resolve this.PCP's next chapter is about a copycat crime intended to make it seem like the PCP protagonists had done it, but is foiled by their rival who realized the real PCP wouldn't commit criminal acts, much less claim it was their doing. As the results of the rankings come in, PCP jumps back to 3rd place with Mashiro and Takagi expressing that their manga does not condone crime.
Nizuma begins devoting himself to CROW, which soon manages to place 1st in the rankings for five consecutive weeks. Yujirou is initially thrilled but later worries Nizuma's determination is connected with the deal he made with the Chief. He speculates Nizuma might want to end +Natural. As Ashirogi Muto follow CROW's progress, they take it as Nizuma's method of motivating them to improve PCP. Soon enough, Nizuma pays the Chief a surprise visit at the Yueisha and Yujirou can only speculate what they discuss. Yujirou informs Fukuda of Nizuma's intentions, who then gathers together Takagi, Mashiro, Aoki, Hiramaru, Takahama and Akina to confront Nizuma directly. Nizuma explains the deal he made with the Chief: he'll get to end a anga should he gain 1st place in the rankings for 10 consecutive weeks. He then reveals that he intends to end CROW at the height of its popularity since he doesn't believe in Yueisha's policy of continuing a manga solely for profit. However, since everyone always looked up to Nizuma, they refuse to let him have his way and resolve to surpass CROW before he can end it. Nizuma accepts their challenge and proposes a modified ultimatum: if they can beat CROW in the rankings at least once before he finishes his final manuscript, he will not end the manga.
With Nizuma's ultimatum clearly set, only seven weeks remain until the end of CROW. Yujirou decides to inform the entire editing department of Nizuma's intentions, much to their frustration but eventually decide to do all they can for their authors to surpass CROW. As the weeks close in, everyone does their best to improve their manga, with Fukuda introducing a new character in Road Racer Giri and Takahama beginning a new story arc for Seigi no Mikata while utilizing their cover spreads. As Ashirogi Muto decide how to compete against Nizuma, they decide to utilize the strength that PCP possesses: its unconventionaliy and introduce a mysterious new anti heroic character called "Sigma". As the results come in, CROW remains 1st while Road Racer Giri and Seigi no Mikata place 2nd in consecutive weeks followed by PCP, with the editing department's favorite for beating CROW being Seigi no Mikata. However, with everyone's manga greatly improving, the voting gap closes between everyone else and Nizuma. Hattori is able to secure a colored centered page for Ashirogi Muto in the 36th issue of Shonen Jack. After brainstorming, they come up with an idea to plant a hidden message within the colored page, which would only become apparent once the readers finish their chapter and with this, Ashirogi Muto challenge CROW.
Yujirou acknowledges Nizuma's determination and states that he will support him in ending CROW. As Ashirogi Muto's next chapter of PCP is published, everyone marvels at their brilliance in using the colored page the way the did. The page itself is an invitation for the protagonists of PCP to meet the mysterious "Sigma". The page shows the portrait of PCP's leader, Matoko, which is altered by "Sigma" to detail the date, time and place of their meeting. The idea is that the readers are able to engage themselves in the puzzle by using the colored page. As the results come in, Ashirogi Muto ties in second place with Road Racer Giri while CROW takes first place yet again. As Takagi and Mashiro think about their defeat, they realize it was their rivalry with Nizuma that brought them as far as they have come, and express this in the comments section for CROW's final chapter. As Yujirou congratulates Nizuma on ending CROW, he is shocked to discover Nizuma already has many other manga's drawn. Eventually Nizuma visits Takagi and Mashiro and they both express their admiration for being each other's rivals as well as Nizuma's joy of making friends based on their shared passion for manga. Finally, Nizuma tells Takagi and Mashiro that his next work will be the greatest manga ever written.
As +Natural's ratings plummet to 15th place in the rankings, and being informed by Miura that her story is not on par with the battle archetype, Iwase loses confidence in her abilities and decides to stop writing altogether. Upon learning of this from Aoki through Takagi, Mashiro pays her a visit and reminds her that she is Takagi's driving force and should stay as a fellow rival, although she is free do do what she pleases. Eventually everyone from Team Fukuda shows up and witnessing how much they care, Iwase is able to restore her resolve. Later, Sasaki is transferred to another magazine, but before he leaves, pays Nizuma and Ashirogi Muto and visit. He expresses his desire to see them both do well and acknowledges the fact that he had favoritism towards Mashiro and Takagi due to a promise he kept to Mashiro's late uncle, Nobuhiro. Nizuma shows Yujirou his storyboard for his next manga with a zombie theme, with Yujirou remarking that it is already better than CROW. Mashiro and Takagi also finalize plans for PCP's successor and decide on the standard battle archetype. Their new manga would involve two demonic protagonists with differing ideals battling it out for the sake of Justice. As the archetype fits perfectly as a Shonen Manga, and using all the experience they have gained so far, Ashirogi Muto decide to challenge Nizuma's next Zombie Manga with their Demonic Manga
The editing department go ecstatic over Ashirogi Muto's Reversi and Nizuma's Zombie Gun so both are published as one-shots. Meanwhile, Azuki lands the lead role in a popular soccer anime and Mashiro congratulates her, promising the breakout role from their future anime. As the votes come in, Zombie Gun sets a new record by getting the highest number of votes for a one-shot: 692. However in the second week, as Reversi is published, it places 1st and beats Nizuma's Zombie Gun by a margin of two votes. At the serialization committee, it is decided that both Zombie Gun and Reversi should be published, however they have a difficult time deciding how to deal with Ashirogi Muto producing two manga's weekly. Heishi seeks advice from Sasaki and they decide it would be best if Ashirogi Muto does PCP weekly and Reversi as a monthly manga. This news upsets Hattori since he confides in Yujirou that he wanted to edit Reversi. At another serialization meeting, Yujirou takes Hattori's desire into account and calls him, Takagi and Mashiro in to have them voice their opinion. They unanimously agree that PCP should go monthly because of its broader audience and publish Reversi weekly so it can compete with Nizuma's manga for dominance. Eventually, Mashiro decides to buy the studio from his grandfather, who gives him Nobuhiro's Diary. As Mashiro reads it, he becomes more determined than ever to continue his uncle's legacy.
As Ashirogi Muto struggle to meet deadlines for the Shonen Jack and Hisshou Jump magazines, a backlog of work starts piling up. As Mashiro and his three assistants, along with help from Takagi and Miyoshi push themselves to their limits to complete the storyboards, returning professional assistant, Ogawa, steps in with two new assistants and is able to complete the storyboards. As the competition between Nizuma's Zombie Gun and Ashirogi Muto's Reversi takes off, Reversi manages to take 1st place in the rankings for three consecutive weeks. This results in Nizuma changing one of his antagonists for Zombie Gun and rises to the top once again, showing up the weakness in Reversi for having two protagonists. As Takagi realizes this, he slows the pace of his story to match the standard battle archetype which further results in their ratings dropping to 5th place. Eventually, after a discussion with Hattori, Takagi calls Mashiro and they both agree that Reversi may not be a long running manga, even managing 50 chapters. However they discuss being content with resolving the conflict between the protagonists in the most interesting way possible, rather than prolonging it. Nevertheless, for the sake of himself, Mashiro and Azuki, Takagi promises to go all out and turn Reversi into a masterpiece they can all be proud of.
Mashiro and Takagi discuss their intention of covering the final confrontation of the main characters of Reversi in one go with a shocked Hattori, but they decide to cross that bridge when they get there. Meanwhile, Hiramaru's Never Reaching You is selected for an anime while Aoki's What God Gave Me is cancelled. In order to cheer her up Hiramaru invites Aoki to an amusement park with the intention of proposing to her. On learning of this, Yoshida is initially intent on stopping Hiramaru, since he will be distraught if he is turned down, but upon remembering his very first meeting with Hiramaru, decides to help him. At the amusement park, Hiarmaru takes Aoki to the ferris wheel, but isn't able to propose since he loses the engagement ring. Aoki realizes what Hiramaru is doing and gives him another chance, where he proposes in an unorthodox manner and she accepts, much to Hiramaru and Yoshida's joy. Later, Reversi continues to dominate over Zombie Gun in the rankings however demand for the printed volumes of Zombie Gun skyrockets. As Ashirogi Muto and Hattori analyze what this means they realize that the content of Reversi isn't easily comprehensible to children or the female demographic alike. Towards the end of the year, Mashiro, Takagi, Miyoshi and their assistants attend the annual, Tezuka-Akatsuka (2017) Prize Party. Here, Kato's friend, a voice actress called Ririki Kitami tries to hit on Mashiro, but gives up when she learns Azuki is his girlfriend. Eventually Ashirogi Muto meet Nizuma who commends them on dominating over Zombie Gun in the rankings but promises that sales of the manga volumes won't lose to them, words that they take as motivation. Finally Mashiro and Takagi are approached by Futoshi Tanabe, a producer for the Japanese Animation Company.
Mashiro, Takagi and Miyoshi go to a hot spring for the short new year holiday. Mashiro and Takagi contemplate how far they have come since middle school. As the year begins, the editors at Shonen Jack have a tough time deciding which series, Zombie Gun or Reversi should get an anime adaptation since both have compelling circumstances. Yujirou explains this to Nizuma who turns down the offer, but when he learns that Reversi will take its place he changes his mind. Aida asks for Hattori's approval in selecting Reversi but he is torn. He knows Ashirogi Muto might end the manga before the anime even starts and feels obliged to tell this, but then the offer might be pulled. Hattori discusses this with Mashiro and Takagi who both immediately agree on the anime, but they realize they may have to prolong Reversi for a year and thus sacrifice its quality. Takagi promises that he will not let Reversi's quality waver and Mashiro finally tells Hattori why Takagi would go so far for him: because of the promise he made to Azuki. Hattori realizes that he was wrong to worry too much about it and wants to support them. Afterwards Yujirou and Hattori try to make convince Heishi their manga should get an anime and become the flagship series. Later, Hattori hurriedly bursts into Mashiro's studio with news of the outcome.
Hattori announces that the Reversi anime will begin airing in October and Mashiro breaks into tears as their dream is at last within reach. Heishi calls Nizuma and explains why he rejected Zombie Gun, since it will help Ashirogi Muto to rise to his level and secure the future of Shonen Jack. Azuki calls Mashiro to congratulate him and recites lines from Reversi. Later Ririki Kitami blogs about her meeting with Mashiro and his involvement with Azuki, which goes viral across the internet. As rumors begin spreading, everyone worries the public will accuse Ashirogi Muto of favoritism to Azuki, something that could damage her career. This is confirmed when Mashiro, Takagi and Hattori meet the animation committee for Reversi. Mashiro tells Azuki that she should deny any relationship with him on her weekly radio broadcast to preserve her image. However, instead she goes public with her relationshiptells everyone about their promise. This has a mixed effect on the public. In the end, Mashiro calls the show and tells the public to believe in Azuki as they always have and adamantly states that she will get the part of the lead female role in Reversi by her skills alone.
After the radio broadcast, Azuki's fans seem to have calmed down and Reversi gets a lot positive attention. The anime producers want to hold a public audition for the female lead role and let the public vote who should get the role, which would be unfavorable for Azuki sinds she won't be judged objectively. Despite this, Mashiro agrees, not wanting to let people think she got the role through connections. During the auditions Azuki's performance is excellent but people notice that she mentioned "Schwarz" instead of "Weiss" during her performance, like all the voice actresses did before her. Worried how the different line in the script will affect her, everyone is worried. Later, during the show, the director of the program makes a short announcement in which he states the script was based on the published Shonen Jack magazine edition, where the mistake was printed in, but that this was corrected in the manga volume. Since Azuki used the manga volume to learn the lines, she didn't make the "mistake" the other voice actresses did without knowing. He tells the public that no one is "wrong" and that this fact should be considered in the votes. In the end Azuki wins by a huge margin and Mashiro, Takagi and Miyoshi celebrate Mashiro and Azuki's dreams finally getting fulfilled.
Following Azuki securing the role of the lead female character, Hattori, Mashiro and Takagi begin discussing their intention to end the Reversi manga in July. Later, Mashiro calls Azuki to congratulate her and they make plans to meet once the first episode of Reversi finishes airing. Hattori tells Heishi about Ashirogi Muto's plan, which he rejects and orders Hattori to convince them to continue the manga. Hattori explains this to Mashiro and Takagi and they decide to think about their final decision. However, Takagi has a separate meeting with Hattori. He states that he will end Reversi in 8 chapters and surpass Nizuma in both rankings as well as volume sales, making Mashiro the best mangaka in Shonen Jack, wanting this to be his wedding present. Hattori decides to take responsibility reflect the words of Director Torishima: 'when the company and authors are at odds, a good editor should stand by the author'. Heishi, having heard the same words before, sides with Ashirogi Muto and informs the animation studio of their decision, which they accept. When the final chapter is published everyone is awestruck at the spectacular climatic battle between the two protaganists. It is such a smashing success that the manga volumes sell out within a day, surpassing the sales of Zombie Gun by selling 1.22 million copies per volume. Finally, at Reversi's end, Heishi, summons Ashiro Muto to Yueisha where they meet Nizuma and their motivational rivalry continues.
Hattori meets with the production staff and cast of Reversi's anime as production gets underway. At the studio, Mashiro reveals to Miyoshi of his intention to propose to Azuki after Reversi's premiere and thanks her for creating their pen name: "Ashirogi Muto". As Miyoshi leaves, Mashiro and Takagi reflect on their journey thus far. Elsewhere, Azuki reveals her and Mashiro's plans to meet after the anime to her mother, while Mashiro reads his uncle's diary. Later, after the anime premieres, Mashiro picks up Azuki in an fashion, honoring one of his late uncle's dreams and they talk about the times they had been together. Soon, Mashiro takes Azuki to visit her former home where they recreate the scene of the first time Mashiro approached her at her house, before proposing. Azuki answers by kissing him and promises that they will be together forever. Eventually everyone attends Hiramaru and Aoki's wedding where Azuki catches the bride's bouquet of flowers. Finally, Azuki and Mashiro move into Azuki's old house together with the intention to officially have a wedding ceremony if Ashirogi Muto's newest work gets a serialization. With their dreams finally achieved, Mashiro ends the series with a monologue, stating that dreams are not achieved by someone telling you so, you have to make them a reality yourself.