With only a little life left to the season, the writers of Kuro no Onna Kyoushi (黒の女教師) still haven’t tipped their hand about the overarching plot. The best bet is that the leader of the dark teachers, Takakura (Eikura Nana) has had issues with past students, including Toda Toshio (Matsumura Hokuto) and whoever lives in the house she keeps visiting. But that’s all just a guess based on scant evidence from their behavior, and this series has really played merry havoc with my curiosity, leaving me with so few clues after so many episodes.

Opening 1Opening 2

After another scene of Fujii (Kobayashi Satomi) philosophizing about trick art (where I don’t know why the kids keep visiting her, since she always has the same message), we find out that the Vice Principal who caused all the trouble in the last episode is gone. However, the student who played into his plans, Saeki Eika (Hirose Alice), is also missing in action.

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Then Aoyagi (Kimura Fumino) finds an odd message popping out of fax machine, signed by Mizuno Aoi:

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A student is present to overhear:

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Takakura is at the Nagashima household again, though she seems more welcome there than she ever has before. The subject of her visit is yet another message from the mysterious Mizuno Aoi:

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The girl who is upset with Takakura says that Mizuno Aoi is upset with her, and it’s all Takakura’s fault.

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Aoyagi visits Saeki, and it turns out Aoyagi is getting blamed for stuff, too:

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Takakura consults with the other dark teacher, and she admits that they could be considered traitors. But why?

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Is the start of Mizuno Aoi’s revenge finally the start of the revelations I’ve been waiting for? It had better be – we don’t have many episodes left.

The next day, Aoyagi tries to talk to Takakura about the printout she received, but then another one arrived:

Another Fax 1

This time, the target is Uchida (Ichikawa Mikako) and it comes with a specific allegation against her, which results in her taking some forced vacation time.

Another Fax 2Time Out for Sumire

Aoyagi again tries to broach the subject with Takakura . . .

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. . . but Takakura turns the tables, bringing up the subject of Saeki.

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The class is worried about Saeki, too.

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But Mochizuki (Chiba Yudai) is more worried about what Toda might have been doing with her – a worry Toda only stokes with a smile.

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Despite the possibility that her argument with Saeki is the reason for Saeki’s absence, Shimomura Asuka (Ono Ito) refuses to communicate with Saeki in the hope of patching things up.

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I’m not sure the way Noma Kaoru (Sugisaki Hana) tried to convince Saeki to come back to school was strictly honest, and it may backfire on Aoyagi.

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After all, Shimomura is waiting in the shadows after they leave Saeki, and she has menace in her eyes.

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I think it would be better if I leave that storyline alone past this point to avoid ruining it for anybody.

In other news, Uchida meets with the liaison that led to her vacation time.

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They’ve been seeing each other for four years, and Uchida calls him “that student’s father.”

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A flash clarifies that it’s the student at the Nagashima house who hates Takakura.

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Uchida makes it clear that they won’t be seeing each other anymore, but the next day, another message arrives at the office:

Yet Another Fax 1

It was about an especially expensive extracurricular class – one for which the dark teachers were paid 300,000 yen (about $3750) by a student. Where do kids get that kind of money?

Yet Another Fax 2

Aoyagi gets briefed about Mizuno Aoi – a student from the school who died. They say in an accident, but I think we have to wonder about that.

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Mizuno was on the volleyball team, and the coach still has a volleyball that her entire team signed, so he checks the handwriting from the note against the message she wrote on the ball. Guess what?

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Well, we already know the dark teachers have to be involved with the occult, considering the way they seem to know everything that’s going on with every student. This just confirms it – now we’ve got ghosts. Aoyagi continues to investigate, and finds out an unpleasant truth about Takakura – that she was once just like Aoyagi.

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Word of Mizuno Aoi’s revenge reaches the classroom:

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The class quickly connects the story of Mizuno Aoi and her reclusive friend to that of Shimomura and Saeki.

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Meanwhile, Takakura is literally seeing ghosts.

Tense

Noma visits Fujii’s lair and, with Fujii not around, takes a peek at the sensei’s painting.

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What do you think she sees? It’s tough to draw a line through this episode and say “past this point, everything gets way too spoilerish,” but I think by this scene the layout of the story is clear. It’s about a third of the way in, and there are three big questions: who’s doing this to the dark teachers? Why are they seeking revenge when Mizuno died as a result of an argument with her friend? And what is going to happen between Shimomura and Saeki – are they really set to repeat the same tragedy?

Oh, I guess we should also ask what Toda is going to do about it all. His time has finally come, but they’ve got a lot of work to do, explaining everything he’s said and done so far. He had a good part to play in this one, though, and I don’t think we’ll be disappointed.

Toda Smiles

By the way, isn’t it amazing that Matsumura-kun has kept us at least somewhat interested in his character even though he’s gotten only trivial and slightly annoying lines? Thinking about other male actors of his age, there are a precious few that could have delivered these sorts of lines convincingly, keeping us engaged. I can’t think of anyone who could have done his role in this episode better, and that’s saying something.

I was left frustrated by the character Mochizuki, who had so many opportunities to step in to do something since he’s in the middle of Shimomura and Saeki, and yet just stood there getting mad at Toda.

I’m not sure there was adequate build-up of tension between Shimomura and Saeki in the previous episodes to lead to this, but I’ll let that pass – it was close enough. The collective actions of the class were occasionally over-the-top and unrealistic, and that became an issue in some critical scenes.

Other than that, it was an exciting ride filled with suspense about how things would unfold. I think it was worth the wait, though the ultimate verdict on this episode will depend on how they wrap the story up in episode ten.

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