Viz Edition Release Date: November 2, 2010
After Moritaka and Akito collaborate on a manga together, they venture to publishing house Shueisha in hopes of capturing an editor's interest. As much potential as these two rookies have, will their story impress the pros and actually get printed?
Akito Takagi and Moritaka Mashiro have brought their first finished piece of manga to the Shonen Jump offices at Shueisha. Working effortlessly with the editors and dealing with their own love lifes, the two aspiring mangakas will have to work even harder than before in order to make the cut as professional manga artists. But what happens when a rival emerges that they have not met but know that they can not beat?
Mashiro Moritaka and Takagi Akito meet up as Shueisha the next day a bit early and decide to walk around the block a bit. Mashiro wonders why Takagi got interested in the manga industry in the first place as Takagi tells him the story. His father was fired due to a cover-up at the bank he worked at and his mother, who was a teacher, demanded that he avenge his father in real life. Takagi fought back and declared that he wouldn't be her puppet and ever since then he's been allowed to live his own life. Realizing that he was rambling on, the two head for their appointment. They fill out an appointment card as they go to a meeting area, putting together that they won't actually get to see the Jump offices. On their way, they overhear other manga hopefuls being dismissed gently but harsh.
After waiting a while, they meet Akira Hattori, an editor for Jump. They submit their work "The Two Earths" for him to read as they panic on whether he will like it or not. Hattori reads it a second time and tells them that he likes it. Even though its not perfect, he notices potential in their work and decides to give them praise mixed in with constructive criticism. He finds out Takagi writes while Mashiro draws and that while the story is good, it reads too much like a novel and less like a manga. He also mentions that the art is a bit too complicated and it needs to be broken up more. During this time, Mashiro wonders if that they can trust Hattori as he tells Takagi not to be so calculating since successful manga artists do not plan on being successful from the start. He points out that the biggest thing to be is lucky. After that, Mashiro thinks that they can trust Hattori.
Before they leave, Hattori mentions that they have potential and give him his business card with his phone number and email address on it. He also takes the manuscript for "The Two Earths" with the intention to submit it to their monthly contests. The two are happy and feel that they will bring him a successful hit next time. However, the next day is the first day of school as the boys teacher decide to pair the boys and the girls in the class together to sit next to one another during the semester. As luck would have it, Mashiro and Azuki sit next to one another as Takagi laughs his head off. The two lovers worry about the same thing as the school term starts for the two.
Takagi and Mashiro contemplate about their meeting with Hattori as they want to make something good within the next year before they graduate to submit again. The two also agree that if they see something wrong in the other's work, they will speak up. Takagi wonders how Mashiro is taking his new seating arrangement with Azuki as the two lovers begin to communicate silently through notes during the middle of class. Takagi insists that he should get Azuki's email address soon but Mashiro thinks its more romantic to be separated.
At Shueisha, Hattori thinks about his encounter with the two mangakas as the Editor in Chief Hisashi Sasaki and Yujiro Hattori leave to meet Eiji Nizuma to draft him to come to Tokyo to make manga. During this portion, an explanation is given on how the editorial department at Jump works and how each group works against one another to produce nothing but the best out of Jump. Back at school, Mashiro wonders if it is too long to wait for their dreams to come true before he and Azuki can be together. He asks her via a note if they have to wait to which she cries. He realizes that he totally disregarded her dream of becoming a voice actress as well as he knows it must be equally hard for her. After class, Azuki gives Mashiro her email address as he spend the night debating on whether to email her or not. He ends up not doing anything as he tells Azuki that he is going to wait to email her. She is saddened by this news but understands.
After school, Takagi comes up with the idea of creating something to submit for the Tezuka Award which is only a few weeks away. Mashiro thinks its going to be impossible but he desperately wants to see Azuki smile again. Soon after, Takagi gets a phone call from Hattori to which he informs them that they just missed out for the monthly contest. However, he asks the two continue to work on creating manga. They claim that they will win the Tezuka award hands down, to which Hattori says they can do it. Meanwhile, in Aomori, Sasaki and Yujiro meet with Nizuma's parents, who have agreed to let him go to Tokyo to become a professional mangaka. However, Nizuma demands that if he can become number one in the rankings, he has the right to end any series he wants. Sasaki allows it only asking Nizuma to consider it after being in the industry. Nizuma agrees as they get ready to go to Tokyo.
Over the next few days, Mashiro continues to practice night and day on his art skills as Takagi comes up with a few ideas for the manga they will present for the Tezuka award. The first few days are not promising even though Takagi can come up with good ideas, nothing is really prize worthy. Both continue to work hard until Takagi comes up with an idea for a story called "One Hundred Millionth" which tells the tale about a dystopian future where humans are ranked and those who oppose it. They agree to make that their next series and work around the clock to have it finished before September 30th. They present it to Hattori, who thinks it is a good idea and realizes that they came to submit it for the Tezuka Award. Hattori submits it for the contest as the two try and get back to normal life. Takagi's grades start to slip as they can not concentrate due to anticipation.
Almost a month later, Hattori calls them to inform them of the news. They made it into the final eight of judging and the results would come a few weeks later. The two are excited just for getting that far as they decide to take it easy for a while. However, the next call they get from Hattori informs them that even though they made it into the final eight, only four were chosen for prizes and theirs was not one of them. They are sullen and heart broken at first but go back to work the next day.
News spreads about the two getting into manga as Ishizawa swings by soon after the announcement to goad the two about their effort in manga. Ishizawa points out the scores and states how Nizuma got high points for art and story while the two's work only got high points in story. Takagi gets upset as Mahsiro notes that his art needs improvement. Ishizawa claims that Takagi should pair up with him, going as far as to insult Mashiro without knowing what it takes to make a true manga. As a result, Takagi beats up Ishizawa and demands and apology. Miyoshi tries to break up the fight but its useless as Takagi gets suspended. Azuki congratulates Mashiro for his work as she worries about Takagi. Mashiro claims he is going to see him and when he gets to Takagi's apartment, he finds that Iwase and Miyoshi are both there for him.
At Takagi's apartment, Mashiro wonders why both girls are present there. Miyoshi claims that she came since she was worried about Takagi while Iwase is under the impression that they were going out since Takagi shook her hand at one point. Takagi tries to play into both of the girls saying he likes them both, however they both have different reasons for liking him. Takagi claims that he wants to be a manga artist and achieve him dreams. Miyoshi claims that she admires that in a person while Iwase puts him down. After he states that he is going to Yakusa North High School with Mashiro, Iwase abruptly leaves. Miyoshi lets the two know that she is also planning on going to Yakusa as Takagi lets it slip that he first started to talk to Miyoshi to learn about Azuki. Miyoshi promptly beats the tar out of him before forgiving him as the two mangaka make an appointment for Shueisha the next day.
As they meet Hattori, Hattori invites the two up to the offices so they can go over the scoring information. While Hattori is taking a smoke break, Mashiro notices Sasaki and realizes that he was Nobuhiro's old editor and was at his funeral. Hattori can't let the two see the results but there is no problem listening to them. The manga artists ranked their work highly while editors ranked them low. The problem is is that their work was not the standard Jump material that they usually publish. Mashiro wants to know how his art did as he is told that his art scored and a standard level. The three ponder about if they can become professional manga artists and what it would mean for them.
Hattori points out that if Nizuma hadn't entered that they would have had a better shot. Mashiro wonders if they can cut through the drama of the contests and simply submit something for serialization even if its good. Hattori thinks about it before explaining there is a whole process to it and they if they were to do something like that it would be rejected. However, Sasaki interrupts and claims that Hattori is wrong in that is a manga is good, it would be serialized no matter what.
Sasaki continues his explanation on what makes a good manga and what goes into making a good manga. He explains various details on how the salaries are produced and that an artist is let go from Jump if their work in not that good. He quotes Nobuhiro, to which Mashiro picks up that he does remember who he is. Sasaki claims that he was the one that had to fire Nobuhiro from Jump and that he never stopped even until his death. He points out that Nizuma will succeed based on how much he loves manga and tells the two that while Nizuma's work is good, its too childish. Hattori realizes that their work is more complicated and should continue to make it work like that. As they leave, Sasaki reveals to Hattori Mashiro's relationship to Nobuhiro.
Back at the studio, Mashiro walks in one day to finds Miyoshi was let in by Takagi. The two explain to her that they can't let Azuki know about the connection there is between Mashiro's uncle and her mother. Miyoshi rebuffs them as she tries to get Azuki to come over but she refuses. She wonders why Mashiro and Azuki simply can't go and be with one another but they try to point out that they are aiming for success and to achieve their dreams. Miyoshi wonders about her relationship with Takagi and where it will go as the two work on something to make more Jump like. Pleased with their latest work, they take it to Hattori for a review.
However, Hattori points out that their work is horrible compared to their previous attempts. He realized his mistake and explains that their work not being standard Jump material is what sets them apart from the others. After Sasaki's speech the other day, Hattori decides to tell the two that with the reader survey's, all they need is 20% of the vote in order to stay in business. He prompts Takagi for more ideas as he lists some of the ones he had. They all realize that their best bet is a story that involves intelligence exchanges for money. Hattori tells them to enter the Akamaru Jump contest that is in February. The two become determined with their new idea "Money and Intelligence."
The next day, Yujiro is shown going over to Nizuma's new apartment which is covered with dozens of manuscripts and one shots that he drew to relax. He complains about how busy and crowded Tokyo is compared to his old home and listens to the music on his stereo extremely loud to help him draw. Meanwhile, Mashiro claims he is going to go back to his old art style that makes things look a bit more rough as the two wonder about how much someone would really pay for their own thoughts. Mashiro starts to day dream about selling his thoughts to Azuki so she could see how much he loves her and vice versa as he starts to slack off.
The two work effortlessly around the clock and even at school to perfect "Money and Intelligence." Takagi and Miyoshi try to invite Mashiro and Azuki to a get together on Christmas date, but both of them refuse. Mashiro laments on how he can't see or spend time with Azuki, but he knows he must work hard for that to happen. Miyoshi wonders why the two are so in love with one another and don't bother to make memories. Takagi claims its because of their promise and thinks about how much pain the two must be in. As time goes on though, they perfect their submission as they both get accepted to Yakusa North. Hattori gives them some edits as its good but can be better and they get back to work.
During the time that they are working, Valentine's Day approaches as Miyoshi and Azuki give their respective lovers gifts of chocolate as they finish just before the deadline and submit it. They anxiously await the call as Hattori calls them two weeks later to inform them that they made it into Akamaru. He also informs them that Nizuma entered the same contest and that the editorial board might be putting them in to make Nizuma look better. Hattori tells the two that no matter what, they have to win and beat Nizuma.