Kuro no Onna Kyoushi (黒の女教師) is a school drama centered on three “dark” teachers led by Takakura Yuko (Eikura Nana) who handle problems at their school in a cold and purely for-profit way. Last time, we saw some great acting from that episode’s troubled student, but can they keep the quality up?

We begin with volleyball, an ardent instructor, and a student who sees a banner that tells him not to give up:

VolleyballArdent InstructorStudent Looking At Banner

Then, the most feared group of people in any school – the PTA – enters the scene:

March of the PTA 1March of the PTA 2March of the PTA 3

Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes PTAs are forces for good. Other times, they consist of overbearing parents who publicly fault the school for everything wrong with their children, then cause emotional damage to their children in a variety of crude ways. Dramas almost solely feature the latter kind of PTA, and only mention the PTA if its president is a very, very scary woman. In this case, that woman is also the chairwoman of the volleyball club parent’s association. I wonder what sport her child plays?

PTA Meets the Coach

Her name is Yasuda Kumiko (played by Kimura Midoriko – キムラ緑子) and her son’s name is Shunsuke (Yamazaki Kento). We find out that the team has won several consecutive championships, that Shunsuke is the team ace, and the PTA made that banner he was staring at:

What a Wonderful Contribution

But we also find out that he’s not performing up to par, and he has competition from a kid named Mizoguchi.

Shunsuke IntroducedNot in Good FormNews of Competition

Kumiko looks devastated at this revelation, and Takakura-sensei already sees a case that might require her involvement (she’s coming into the scene earlier and earlier).

Takakura Looks On

It feels like we’ve already got the whole picture in the first two minutes – what else could be going on that would make it more complicated than it seems?

Kumiko makes certain her son remains the team’s ace by pressuring the coach, using leverage from her financial contributions to the team.

Kumiko Pressures the Coach 1Kumiko Pressures the Coach 2Kumiko Pressures the Coach 3

But she isn’t going to stop there, as we see her outside the Mizoguchi clothing store. What is she up to?

Outside the Mizoguchi Clothing Store 1Outside the Mizoguchi Clothing Store 2

We get a look into the Yasuda household, where there are tensions, but nothing obviously wacky.

Tensions Exist 1Tensions Exist 2Tensions Exist 3

Back in the classroom, Shunsuke receives results that his mother won’t like:

C for Could Be Worse

And we wonder what’s up with him. He was clearly a top student and top player before, but suddenly he’s lost his spirit, it seems. Fellow student Mochizuki Ryohei (Chiba Yudai) notices it, too.

Mochizuki Notices 1Mochizuki Notices 2

Amidst his frustration, Shunsuke sees Takakura looking on.

Kicking Cans in FrustrationSpots Takakura

Fujii-sensei (Kobayashi Satomi) notices Shunsuke practicing alone, and Uchida-sensei (Ichikawa Mikako) does her normal bit with tailoring her literary commentary to the case at hand, but we still don’t get the sense that this case is as nightmarish as the previous ones have been. Yes, Kumiko’s bit of vengeance against the Mizoguchi clothing store is a bit nasty . . . but is that all she’s got?

Fujii senseiUchida Does Her Thing 1Uchida Does Her Thing 2Uchida Does Her Thing 3

With all the dark teacher engaged, Shunsuke turns to the teacher least able to help – Aoyagi Haruka (Kimura Fumino) – to ask her to conceal the results of the mock exam from his mother (like that’s even possible).

Pleading with Aoyagi

Surprisingly, Takakura, who is also in the meeting as assistant teacher to Aoyagi, helps her out by citing the proverb about chasing two rabbits and catching none, and pointing out the probabilities for what Kumiko is expecting her son to do.

The Parent Teacher ConferenceTakakura Takes Yasuda On 1Takakura Takes Yasuda On 2Takakura Takes Yasuda On 3

It doesn’t prevent the info about the C’s from coming out, but it does change the landscape of the revelation. But what does Kumiko mean by this:

What a Stupid Thing to Say

There’s something nasty about those lines. Things get really interesting from here, so I’ll leave out the details, since we’ve already got a sense of the plot.

As always, the question is what the dark teachers will do about it:

Dark Teachers Confer 1Dark Teachers Confer 2Dark Teachers Confer 3Dark Teachers Confer 4

This was an unusually slow episode for this series, and it had some noticeable flaws. First of all, we have trouble sympathizing with Shunsuke, who behaves weakly and blandly throughout much of the episode. It takes some time to appreciate how vicious Kumiko really is, too. All that time while this appears to be the normal range of manipulations a PTA president might pull to boost her son, we’re not really engaged with the story. As for the crazier things she does, it’s hard to see how it’s supposed to help her son at all – more like she just enjoys exerting her influence.

There’s an interesting scene where Takakura and Toda Toshio (Matsumura Hokuto) – who should be dubbed the dark student – are somewhat hostile to each other, but we’re given no hint about how to read that. Instead of adding interest, it just made me more frustrated. Except for that scene, Toshio had no part in what was going on, and wasn’t keeping an eye on Shunsuke the way he had with Sugimoto in the last episode.

Takakura and Toshio 1Takakura and Toshio 2Takakura and Toshio 3

The acting of Kimura-san and Yamazaki-kun was less impressive than what we have come to expect, and that contributed to the slow pace (better acting is more engaging, so that you pay less attention to the time passing).

Unfortunately, even the resolution method chosen by the dark teachers was pretty basic and expected once we knew what Kumiko would ultimately do, and it gave the viewer little satisfaction to watch it unfold.

So, I think this one was a miss for this series. Of course, since episode three was remarkably strong, this was the right time to toss in a less powerful offering. Let’s hope they pick up the pace in the next episode.

Thanks to Heiwa Fansubs for their hard work subtitling this series.

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