Kuro no Onna Kyoushi (黒の女教師) is a school drama centered on “dark” teachers Takakura (Eikura Nana), Fujii (Kobayashi Satomi), and Uchida (Ichikawa Mikako), who handle problems at their school in a cold and purely for-profit way. This episode again starts with a Fujii-sensei view:

Fujii 1Fujii 2

Then we immediately go into a career counseling session where Takakura, right on cue, uses statistics to demonstrate why the student (Mishima – played by Fujiwara Reiko) should shy away from lofty ambitions (in this case, becoming a professional musician).

MishimaTakakura Takes Her Shot

This time, though, Takakura is rebutted by Kanae-sensei, Mishima’s music professor and acting foster parent, who steps in at just the right time as if listening at the door.

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Mishima expresses her self-doubt to Kanae after leaving the meeting.

Mishima Confides in Kanae

When Mishima reflects while playing the piano, we find out that she has a long-standing love of music, and a desire to write it partly inspired by her mother.

Mishima Playing 1Mishima Playing 2Mishima Playing 3

Takakura hears her practicing from outside the music room, and has an ominous look on her face.

What Does She Know?

We also see a recollection from Kanae while she’s giving a lecture, also of Mishima’s mother.

Kanae Remembers . . .

After Kanae instructs Mishima’s rival, Mishima tells Kanae of the piece she wrote called “Twilight Zone.” Kanae doesn’t give a hint of it to Mishima, but the news of this has a strong effect on her:

Mishima Tells Kanae 1Mishima Tells Kanae 2Mishima Tells Kanae 3

What’s up with that?

With Takakura having her normal after-school swim, the eyes of her regular customer appear around the corner.

Matsumura Hokuto 1

Now, will Toda Toshio (Matsumura Hokuto) have a substantial part to play, or is it just going to be vague forebodings again?

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It would seem that they have some history together, but that’s hardly a surprise, and that’s all we learn. Is it really worth a scene? Again, I think they’re just trying to remind us that Toda exists. It’s almost like an ad for a future episode in which he’s actually relevant.

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Fujii-sensei introduces Mishima to one of her optical illusions, and Mishima does her the favor of connecting it to what’s going on.

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Mishima seems to be in a good mood until she hears her own song – or a melody very similar to it – being played on the piano. She rushes over to find her rival, Ai, playing it, and accuses her of plagiarism.

That Music  . . . 1That Music  . . . 2That Music  . . . 3That Music  . . . 4

Then we find out a detail that I don’t think we were clear on before – that Ai is Takae’s real daughter. The rivalry hits a fevered pitch. With it being such an emotional issue for Mishima, and Takae making that suspicious look earlier, surely things are going to get even more heated.

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Mishima is clearly crushed, maybe feeling as if her best memory of her mother had been violated . . .

Violated

. . . and Toshio looks on, again just part of the scenery.

Boy in Shadow 1Boy in Shadow 2

Later, Mishima wakes to a call from Takae, who says that Ai has gone missing.

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Sitting in class the next day, she wonders if Ai’s disappearance has anything to do with what she said to Ai.

Guilt

Toda Toshio continues to stare. I swear, I’m going to be so irritated if nothing comes of all this staring. I’ll take anything – he’s the one who solves the problem instead of Takakura; he’s actually responsible for Ai’s disappearance; Ai was his secret girlfriend and he’s the one who plagiarized Mishima’s song. Maybe that’s all too ambitious. Can he at least say a few words to Mishima? Anything?

More Views of Mount Toda 1More Views of Mount Toda 2

Takakura seems intent on putting pressure on Mishima, making the sort of suggestive comments that Uchida usually handles. I’m sure Uchida will also get a chance later.

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The surprises keep piling up for Mishima, as Aoyagi-sensei (Kimura Fumino) enters to tell her that her song won in a Junior Music Cup.

The Plot Thickens

Mishima herself seems to have confused feelings:

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Not Toda, though – it’s the same old eyes from him:

More Views of Mount Toda 3

Mishima tries to call Ai, now feeling extremely guilty for the way she treated her, but can’t reach her rival.

Guilt 2

Takakura again takes the liberty of taunting Mishima. She’s meaner than usual in this episode. But . . . what if Mishima deserves it?

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After five days, Takae approaches to school to find out if any of Ai’s classmates had seen her, saying she received an e-mail from Ai with no specifics about where she was, but rejects the idea when someone suggests contacting the police.

What's She Up To? 1What's She Up To? 2

Her reaction is mighty suspicious. Actually, everything about her is suspicious, and when she says that Ai’s composition (the one supposedly plagiarized from Mishima) won a different award, all sorts of warning bells go off.

What's She Up To? 3

It’s funny – we’re twenty minutes into the episode, and I’m still wondering what’s going on. We know there’s plagiarism, and we have a pretty good guess about who did it. But what’s with the disappearance? The sheer suspense of it is wonderful. Clearly, there’s a lot going on that we’re just not seeing – things that Takakura understands, but we don’t.

I think the revelations start from around that twenty-minute mark. What’s really going on between Takae, Mishima, and Ai? Did Ai really plagiarize from Mishima, and then win another competition with the piece? Why isn’t Takae panicked and eager to find Ai?

And even though their solutions haven’t really been surprising recently, I guess we still have to wonder how the dark teachers are going to solve this pickle.

This time, Fujii-sensei is at the center more than Takakura, and it is Fujii who ultimately makes the offer of extracurricular help (still for a fee, naturally). That was an interesting change, and a relevant one.

The situation and how it played out were superb. This was the second-best plot in this series so far, after episode 3, and had an absolutely riveting conclusion. Fujiwara-san’s acting was solid through some intense scenes.

I’d wonder whether they’re saving their best for every third episode, but the preview for the next episode looks pretty good.

Oh, by the way, don’t hold your breath for Toda to do anything. While I appreciate that no one can cast a subtle and vicious look like Matsumura-kun (a fact I noticed in Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou), I don’t think we need thirty-six views of it in every episode. This is getting really irritating. I know Matsumura-kun can act, so it’s no fair teasing us every episode! They had better come up with something good after all this build-up – something I have never seen before – or I will not be kind in my final reviews.

Thanks to Heiwa Fansubs for the excellent work with this episode.