I’m still not enjoying this arc nearly as much as the first couple of arcs this season, which were the best the anime adaptation has offered up so far. Last week’s romance-heavy episode was quite good, but I still generally prefer the manga side of the plot – and this particular direction is my least favorite of all the manga-based arcs so far. It looks as if the issues between the two main couples are going back to the back burner for now – though I feel it should be pointed out that Takagi defended his decision to get married by saying he realized how much he “liked” Miyoshi. But some other romantic entanglements seem to be getting ready to rear their heads and demand screen time.
I certainly don’t mind seeing Fukuda get back into the mix as a major character, and Aoki is growing on me. I confess I didn’t expect to see the two of them as a potential couple but it looks like Nakai’s idiocy is pushing the story in that direction. Fukuda is a terminal busybody but he’s certainly right that Nakai is wasting a great opportunity, and he’s being a good friend in trying to push Nakai out of a comfortable mediocrity and a pointless infatuation with Katou. But Nakai’s stubbornness leads Fukuda to offer to teach Aoki the art of fanservice himself, made all the more necessary when Takagi sets up a disastrous meeting for her with one of those annoying characters, Ishizawa. He’s a character who serves no useful purpose than to be a complete tool, and I hope this is the last we see of him for a while. But it all ends up pushing Aoki into Fukuda’s arms, and while he’s undeniably good for her manga it appears that both of them are hard-up enough to feel something romantic for each other, ill-matched as they seem to be.
Another of those supremely annoying characters, Iwase, is getting back into the story too – making good on her threat to try and draw a manga to prove how easy and stupid manga is (and try and steal Takagi from Miyoshi). The shocking part is that because her editor at her novel’s publisher was a classmate of Hattori, it looks as if he’s going to be her editor at “Jack” – and thus, become the enemy of Ashirogi Muto. I really hate to see that happen, because Hattori is the best thing that ever happened to them and I never gave up hope he might end up working with them again. Iwase has a lot of work to do to convince me that she’s a character worth extended screen time – at the moment, this looks like another unwelcome development and a distraction from what really matters.
This is all compounded by the fact that the two supremely annoying editors, Miura and Yamahisa, are deeply involved in the current plot developments, too. You can add disloyal and opportunistic to Miura’s long list of faults, because it looks as if he’s ready to toss poor Takahama and Business Boy Kenichi – a manga he clearly helped to ruin – over the side and devote all his attention to Tanto. This is the first major Ashirogi Muto manga that I would have no interest in reading, and as such for the first time I find myself sincerely hoping it fails miserably so we can move on to better things.
I derive some hope from the shocked expressions on the two crap editors faces when they read the comments from the serialization meeting – maybe despite Miura’s promises Tanto is in trouble after all. BBK should give Ashirogi a harrowing glance at their future if it gets serialized – a short-life and declining popularity is what comes of dumbing down your work to please a short-sighted editor. I rather expected Aoki’s deep romance – paired with Fukuda’s panty shot masterpieces – to fare well at the meeting, though. It definitely looks as if Sasaki is displeased with the quality of what was presented, so perhaps there’s hope that all these plotholes can he flushed and the series can move on to bigger and brighter tomorrows. And for goodness sakes, can we please get some Niizuma Eiji? His screen time seems directly proportional to how good an episode is. It’s not surprising Eiji seems bored and unmotivated, because what’s happening now isn’t nearly so inspirational or interesting as what we had earlier in the season.