This is the final episode of Shiritsu Bakarea Koukou (私立バカレア高校), and if you missed any of the earlier episodes, this review contains spoilers starting right after this sentence.

TatsuyaEpisode 12

At the end of episode 11, the boys had started the ultimate battle for the school while the girls assembled for the announcement that they would be returning to their old school. At the assembly, Fumie (Shimazaki Haruka) was allowed to speak, and began by saying something that she’s lucky Tatsuya (Morimoto Shintaro) wasn’t around to hear:

I Hate This School

Hating the school is, of course, a no-no on the boys’ side. But what is she up to? She can’t possibly mean that, right?

Do They Look Like They're Happy to be Here?

Well, after recapping that line, the show returns to the battlefront, where the fight scene isn’t quite as polished as other sequences we’ve seen in earlier episodes. However, there is some unexpected humor when Shohei (Takaki Yuya) decides to take someone on without backup:

Shohei in the Lead 1Shohei in the Lead 2Shohei in the Lead 3Leave it to Me

Can Shohei really fight? Has he been holding back all this time?

We're About to Find Out

Back at the assembly, we get the rest of Fumie’s speech, along with flashbacks of events in the series up to this point. But we have no time for all that – there’s a battle raging:

Serious Carnage 1

Each member of Tatsuya’s team peels off to tackle enemy underlings, until he’s left to personally deal with the boss:

Tatsuya 2The Boss

I sure hope he’s worked out or developed a stomach of steel, because otherwise this is going to be painful to watch.

Tatsuya Bloodied

At this point, the action was wonderfully heated with the camera going between all the fights that were happening, but the music was unfortunately understated. The trouble was that they were cutting to Fumie’s speech between punches, they couldn’t have battle music going on while she spoke, and switching back and forth between action music and Fumie music would have been jarring. So, we got quiet piano music during this part of the fight.

Just when things were getting way too piano-y, we got a bit more Shohei humor, as he finds himself in a serious pinch.

In a Pinch 1In a Pinch 2

Plot-wise, what had to happen in this episode happened. There were no outstanding plot surprises. All the surprises had to do with humor, and they brightened up what would otherwise have been little more than an end-of-series checklist. Shohei was one source of humor . . .

Eh!?

But there was also Jesse-kun and Kouchi-kun (still haven’t learned their character names):

Jesse and Kouchi 1Jesse and Kouchi 2Jesse and Kouchi 3Jesse and Kouchi 4

While Tatsuya is the best fighter on the boys side, I swear that the highlights of the fight scenes all seem to go to Tetsuya (Matsumura Hokuto), who shows off some great moves and, of course, his crazed expression:

Matsumura in Battle 1Matsumura in Battle 2Matsumura in Battle 3

I think that look alone should win Matsumura-kun plenty of acting jobs.

Job Well-Done 1Job Well-Done 2

In the end, this episode was very well-crafted. The stuff that had to happen didn’t take up much screen time at all, and the rest of the time was filled up with fun and bloodshed. We even got a brilliant dénouement – a bit of extra amusement in the last three minutes which really put the icing on the cake. They scared me a bit with it, though – if you read my earlier reviews, you’ll know why when you see it.

Kouchi Discontent

Oh, and there was a trailer for the movie, too.

In terms of sheer entertainment, this was my favorite series of the season. While Kagi no Kakatta Heya was practically flawless, and certainly held my attention, it didn’t have nearly as much energy. Also, while I expected great things out of Kagi no Kakatta Heya, I started watching this drama expecting a mess. Half-hour dramas don’t have a very good reputation in my book and the fact that Shiritsu Bakarea Koukou completely surpassed all my expectations gave it a boost.

It looks like we’ll get all of our cast back for the movie, plus some more members from each agency (more Johnny’s Juniors and AKB48 members), so I’m looking forward to that. I’m not sure how this will play as a movie – I’ll set my expectation level at “cautiously optimistic” and hope to be surprised again.

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