Note: if you like this series, but don’t want to read this particular episode review, you might want to scroll to the bottom – there was a very important special announcement at the end of this week’s show.

This episode of Shiritsu Bakarea Koukou (私立バカレア高校) begins with a bit more of the gushy stuff, though instead of romance, the writers seem resolute about keeping it about “friendship.” So, we have Tetsuya (Matsumura Hokuto) and Tatsuya (Morimoto Shintaro) reflecting on how Fumie (Shimazaki Haruka) defended them at the end of the last episode and deciding that she thinks of them as friends:

Wondering About FumieMaybe We're Friends?

We already knew that Fumie was a bit more sympathetic to the boys’ way of looking at things, and now the boys themselves apparently get that picture, too. It’s tough not to see more in it than just friendship, though.

Gleam in his Eyes

Without too much time spent on that, we get to the main conflict of the episode – an article on the internet that challenges Cattleya‘s pride, noting that Cattleya’s second branch is not the same type of school as the original.

Vicious Article Rips on Cattleya

I like the director’s choice of how to show us the main points of that incendiary article – as if we were inside the device looking out at the readers:

Looking into the Rumors 1Looking into the Rumors 2Looking into the Rumors 3Looking into the Rumors 4

That was pretty clever. But you see the problem: the concerns raised that take a stab at Cattleya’s pride are all, broadly speaking, true. Since it’s merger with the boys’ school, it really isn’t the place posh parents thought they were sending their girls to (you know, it isn’t a robot factory anymore). So, of course, the parents rush in to object to the merger, seeking to get their kids back to the original Cattleya:

Parents Want Their Girls Out

The trick is, the information is so specific that it shows deep knowledge of the situation, so both the boys and the girls realize that someone on the inside leaked the information. The girls take up the case in order to defend the reputation of their school – just like the boys would have, except without all the fighting, presumably, though maybe with some running around if we’re lucky. Unlike the boys, they do work with the office staff to get information:

Working With the Administration

The boys, though, are about as unconcerned about the girls’ pride as the girls were befuddled about the boys constantly fighting for theirs.

Guys Not Really Interested

Will this lead to a rift between the two sides? Well, in a word, yes. In fact, the girls are pretty quick so suspect the boys.

Suspicious 1Suspicious 2

Actually, all this is leading to some of the best moments in the series for Kouchi-kun and Jesse-kun, who haven’t really been given much screen time. The focus has largely pulled away from Morimoto-kun and Matsumura-kun since the beginning, and Kouchi-kun and Jesse-kun get the lion share of the benefit in this episode.

Kouchi and Jesse 1Kouchi and Jesse 2

The boys sense the suspicion, and confront the girls about spying on them:

Confrontation

Fumie and Saya have grown sympathetic to the boys, so the witch hunt crew is led by these girls, who question the boys’ word.

We Can't Believe You

This puts an immediate strain on the “friendship” that developing between Tatsuya and Fumie at the beginning of the show:

Tension

Though Tetsuya is much more sanguine, as usual:

Hokuto Acting Cool, As Usual

The characterization of the four main characters has been so sharp that it’s easy to see that they’re all behaving consistently with their personalities. The acting is solid as usual. In a way, this episode was the plot I was waiting for. There was no point to the series if everything was going to go in one direction, with both sides of the school getting closer together with each passing episode. There had to be something to create a new rift between the two sides. Well, here we go. In short, the writing remains excellent.

Another great thing about this episode is that, because we already know how the main characters are going to deal with the situation, the writers felt free to give more time to the supporting cast on both sides. This is especially clear when the boys decide to start doing some investigating of their own, but the idea isn’t initiated by either Tatsuya or Tetsuya:

The Boys Decide to Get Involved 1The Boys Decide to Get Involved 2The Boys Decide to Get Involved 3The Boys Decide to Get Involved 4

Where will this case lead? Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but how about this:

Where Do They Think They're Going 1Where Do They Think They're Going 2Where Do They Think They're Going 3Where Do They Think They're Going 4

File this as the flip side to “How the Other Half Lives.”

How the Other Half Lives

Kouchi-kun and Jesse-kun (still haven’t gotten their character’s names down yet) investigating the toilet:

Toilet Investigations 1Toilet Investigations 2Toilet Investigations 3

All that’s just in the first half of the show. Who’s really responsible for the leak? Will Tatsuya be able to see Fumie was not responsible for the way the rest of the girls suspected the boys? Is there something more than just friendship in the works here? Watch to find out!

As you can probably tell, I was very happy with this episode. It was a conflict I was waiting for, the ultimate culprit and method of revelation were excellent, and we got more participation from the rest of the actors.

The Girl's Side 1The Girl's Side 2The Boys' Side 1

Plus, it was full of great scenes:

Chased by the Girls

Kouchi vs. Toilet

Oh, by the way, did I mention that Shiritsu Bakarea Koukou is being made into a movie? I haven’t? Well, it’s being made into a movie:

Movie Adaptation!! October All-Japan Roadshow

I’m thrilled. I said this series would be a real classic for both the Johnny’s and AKB fandoms, and now there’s a movie to vindicate that prediction. The roadshow is in October. I think I buried the lead, didn’t I? Oh, well. Enjoy!

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