Watching this episode, I have one thought at the top of my mind: can one punch really turn all the Bakarea boys into wimps? Before this episode, I would have said “no way. Except for Shohei (Takaki Yuya), they don’t seem the types to ever back down from a fight.” But now . . . .

The One PunchTatsuya Down

Shiritsu Bakarea Koukou (私立バカレア高校) began with a boys school wracked with violence and mayhem. The school’s administration decided to inject a bit of a challenge to the status quo by importing a troop of highly disciplined and polite girls. While the boys have mostly gotten along with the girls after the first few episodes, they haven’t lost their fangs, and continue to do battle for their pride.

In episode 10, we started to see love interests blossoming and the four main characters becoming aware of the love square between them. We also discovered a new threat to Tatsuya’s (Morimoto Shintaro) domination of the neighborhood.

A New Threat

But I thought the result would be some serious warfare. Instead, the one punch seems to have knocked all the ferocity out of Tatsuya. Now, all he has is that silly confused look:

Tatsuya's Silly Confused Look

And worse, the conquerors enter the school as new students, so Tatsuya can’t even act like the lion on his home turf anymore.

New Students Take Charge

When the girls object to the new students, who just go around attacking anyone they feel like, they are given a hint of what we knew already from the previous episode – that these ruffians have been put into the school deliberately by the administration for some unknown purpose.

These Guys Are No GoodIt's up to the people at the top

Characters we used to see taking on fights all the time now look frightened and run:

Cautious in their own schoolReluctant to Fight 1Reluctant to Fight 2

Meanwhile, slander is still being posted about the school on the web, even though Mana no longer attends. So who’s doing it?

More Stuff on the WebClass Conference

And there are rumors that the girls will be returning back to the original Cattleya.

Rumor that the girls are going back

It seems like there’s a lot going wrong, all at the same time, and the fact that the boys are suddenly not interested in fighting back is just . . weird. I mean, what happened to that Bakada pride, right?

Bakarea Pride

I think time constraints were a factor. If the episodes were longer, I think we would have seen the boys more thoroughly humiliated, so that I wouldn’t be quite as surprised when they backed down. There just wasn’t enough time to get that part in, so the writers focused on Tatsuya getting humiliated, and let that stand as the explanation. I’m afraid there will be a similar problem with any ultimate recovery from this malaise – it won’t come off as realistic.

There’s been a plot at the administration level of the school from the very beginning, and we’ve had no idea whether they’re working for the good of the kids or not. With them deliberately introducing this menace into the school, we have to wonder what they’re really up to. Do the Bakarea students now have them as an enemy, too, or is this a way to finish bringing the school together?

The Administration

Was this the love and war episode that I expected at the end of the last episode? Not really. There was some love square talk, but nothing that really moved the plot forward. As I’ve already described, we weren’t in battle mode right away, either. Instead, there was such a pile of conflicts and potential conflicts, it took a while for the main characters to figure out what was really going on.

TetsuyaTatsuyaFumie

What happened was worth an episode, but things moved a lot slower than they have in this series so far. It got perilously close to boring. The writers have been good about moving the plot forward at a good pace, and this episode didn’t quite keep up with the expectations they had set. The reason why is obvious – they had to get everything to the brink of the final confrontation, but save that confrontation for the next episode. So, we didn’t actually get any action this time, except maybe right at the end.

This episode was the first part of the series finale, and we’ll find out in the next episode whether the writers pulled it off or not. As far as the actors go, they didn’t really have as much to do. Morimoto-kun had a tough time with his character, I think, and it was hard to be understand what was going on with Tatsuya this time. Matsumura-kun didn’t have as much of a role. The focus was more on Shimazaki-chan and Oba-chan, and in contrast to the boys, they continued to play their characters consistently.

I’m anxious to see how the series turns out. Sometimes, as a fan, you can only cross your fingers and hope that the writers don’t drop the ball.

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