Moritaka Mashiro, a high school student, is persuaded by his classmate, Akito Takagi, to become an aspiring manga artist when the latter realizes his natural talent as an artist. However, Moritaka is reluctant as his uncle, once an artist with his own manga, died from overwork. With Akito's help, Moritaka gets his school crush, Azuki Miho, who is an aspiring voice actress, to act in the anime adaptation of their future manga once it is completed. However, Mashiro also proposes to Azuki, who surprisingly accepts only on the condition she will marry him when both of them have achieved their dreams. With a goal set before him, Mashiro begins a long and struggling path to become a famous manga artist.
The series continues off with Mashiro and Takagi's Perfect Crime Party's serialization. Azuki receives an offer for an audition role in the +Natural anime but she is undecided due to a promise with Mashiro to cast as the female lead for the anime adaptation of his manga. In the end she personally tells Aiko and Eiji she declines the role but before they can talk it out she's taken away by Mashiro who decided to stop her last minute. They hold hands the rest of way. Before she heads home, Azuki tells him that next time they meet, they'll kiss; by that time, their dreams will have come true.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.