As Bakuman3 winds up its all-encompassing story arc, they come up with a terrific episode.
Now that the boys have their anime there’s not much more the series can throw at us, apart from the new chief editor wanting Reversi to be a flagship series for the magazine while the boys think it will finish quickly, and what they do this time. A voice actor friend of Natsumi’s lets it slip that Muto Ashirogi is a team (okay), that one of them is married (still okay), and the other is dating a voice actress whom she admires (not good at all). The fans and press waste no time in figuring out who this voice actress is, and now the Big Dream they’ve had since episode one of season one is in jeopardy.
After that AKB48 head-shaving fiasco last month this situation has more emotional power. Even though seiyuu aren’t usually portrayed as utter virgins like some idols apparently are, news that an otaku fantasy girl has a boyfriend is going to upset a lot of people, to the point where Miho’s agent orders her to deny the rumors even while Mashiro is bravely telling the anime staff the truth, and insisting they give her consideration for the lead role. You wonder if that’s a smart decision, but it’s probably better to let the anime people know exactly what’s going on. Easy for me to say.
The audition is next episode, but at least this week the lovers defuse the situation as well as they could, and it makes for a nice, if predictable romantic moment. Miho defies her agent and tells the entire truth on her radio show, and while she gets some assholes phoning in, she gets some sympathetic callers too, and guess who else calls? No, not Eiji, though that would have been kind of cool. It’s one of those grand gestures the show likes to pull off while leaping over plot hurdles, and it sets up next week’s audition well. Because you know there’s still going to be people who hold Miho’s love-life against her.
Chiharafuru2 9 adds a couple twists to our story. The minor one concerns Shinobou. She appeared last episode but it turns out she’s not there to watch the team event, since she says “those players don’t love Karuta.” But she’ll be back next week since her beloved air show event is rained out … But before she does, and while that cryptic line is repeated over and over throughout the episode, we get the big twist to the story.
Poor Arata. He just wanted to watch his friends play. He didn’t expect to meet old karuta-mates who rope into playing as an illegal replacement because their other members can’t make it. He’s just trying to do the right thing. Turns out it’s the wrong thing. To avoid being spotted (what’s that line? His main personality trait?) he removes his glasses. Trouble is he can’t see the cards now, and his opponent is getting pissed off because it doesn’t look like he’s trying. Cue endless flashbacks on the last time he played blind, not to mention a few monologues on how this all sucks. And as it turns out it might suck even more for him down the road. The trouble is, we’ve seen so little of the guy through two seasons that it’s hard for me to feel concerned for him. Well, no. I want him, Chihaya, and Shinobou in the same tournament, in some sort of round-robin event where they all have to play each other. Or maybe they could play some three-way Karuta. Yeah, that’s it. In the meantime we see absolutely nothing of Chihaya’s team.