by Tsugumi Ohba (story) and Takeshi Obata (art), 188 pages
Against the advice of their editor, the boys are determined to create a mainstream battle manga. But the ideas aren't coming too well, so they give each other some space. Takagi hangs out more with his girlfriend Miyoshi while Mashiro ends up taking a temp job as an assistant...to their arch rival?
I am surprisingly fond of the boys' biggest competition. I thought Nizuma would be an egocentric eccentric with nothing but disdain for everyone else, but he's endearingly nuts and honest and open to improving himself as long as he trusts the source of the advice. And he genuinely likes our heroes. He might be my favorite character, actually. They've all grown on me since the first volume and I'm rooting for them to succeed.