And so we reach the grand finale of Kuro no Onna Kyoushi (黒の女教師). If you haven’t seen the rest of this series up to this point, and intend to do so, read no further! Answers to questions we’ve asked all season will be revealed.

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At the end of episode nine, we discovered the secret identity of Toda Toshio (Matsumura Hokuto). He’s the younger brother of Mizuno Aoi, a girl who died years ago at this school. He has been exacting his revenge on the dark teachers – especially Takakura (Eikura Nana) who he blames for his sister’s death – revealing all the crimes the dark teachers have committed and by staging a repeat of what happened to his sister. That repeat involved Saeki Eika (Hirose Alice), who he pretended to befriend, and Shimomura Asuka (Ono Ito). He didn’t mean to have one of them die, though – he just wanted the pretext to have the last extracurricular class where he could accuse the dark teachers with his classmates and Aoyagi (Kimura Fumino) as witnesses.

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Since we already know all that, do we really need to watch this episode? Well, yes. While the mystery of Toda stands revealed, we are still left with the question of what really happened to his sister.

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Just as Toda is trying to get the truth out of Takakura, the Principal enters:

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This does not make Toda happy:

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Instead of getting a confession out of Takakura, Toda is hauled into the Principal’s office, where she reads his report about the dark teachers’ extracurricular activities. However, she also knows what he did to Saeki, and suspends him for two weeks.

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Does it seem to you like there’s something she might want to hide? Well, Toda doesn’t mind the suspension as long as she investigates his sister’s death . . .

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. . . but the Principal does not think that’s necessary. She continues to call it an accident, unwilling to even call it a suicide perhaps because to do so would be to put blame on the student who drove Mizuno to it – the reclusive Nagashima Mizuho.

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Then, she pays a visit to the dark teacher in their lair. There, we find out that she wants to avoid any scandals because the volleyball team is putting the school in a spotlight – publicity from any unsavory event would get broader attention than it would any other time.

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Aoyagi, always antagonistic to the dark teachers, wants to see the Mizuno Aoi case reopened.

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The Principal responds by needling Aoyagi harshly. Is this really all about bad publicity during a volleyball tournament?

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Sentiment in the classroom is in Toda’s favor, even from Saeki, who was most directly harmed by him.

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When Aoyagi tells them about his suspension, and the leniency toward the dark teachers, the class is in an uproar over it.

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There are those in the class who are also conscious of the potential impact to the volleyball team:

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Looks like this volleyball thing is more serious than I thought it was, so maybe it really is the Principal’s primary motive.

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Aoyagi does some soul-searching, and gets saved from it by none other than the coach of the volleyball team.

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In the process, she picks up some interesting facts about Fujii (Kobayashi Satomi)’s connection to Mizuno Aoi and the fact that Takakura was the one who discovered the body.

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Takakura has regret all over her face as she thinks back to her experiences with Mizuno Aoi all those years ago, back when Takakura was like Aoyagi.

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Speaking of Aoyagi . . .

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The dark teachers have what may be their last dinner together, and Fujii muses about the worst student she had ever met.

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For the first time, the cafeteria lady has something important to say to further the plot:

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Meanwhile, Toda Toshio visits Nagashima Mizuho, demanding that she admit to her crime, and he’s not subtle about what he wants from her.

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After hearing what the cafeteria lady said, Uchida (Ichikawa Mikako) proceeds with some detective work, speaking with Mizuho’s father:

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Uchida consults with Fujii about Mizuho’s confession, then gets a call from the Nagashima household that Mizuho has left her house – after not setting a foot out of it in four years.

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Will Toda get his revenge?

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The dark teachers rush to the rescue.

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How did Aoyagi know to come?

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Anyway, it’s climactic confrontation time, and we find out what really happened to Mizuno.

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The answer doesn’t satisfy Toda, though, but another witness that he didn’t expect arrives.

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By the way, the Principal really does take her volleyball seriously, and after the main story is concluded, her continued machinations – especially the way she deals with the dark teachers – drive the rest of the episode.

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So, what happened to Mizuno? What is the Principal’s game? Watch and find out!

The resolution was entirely satisfying. In fact, I would say that it was the best ending of any series this season – even better than GTO’s. First of all, I felt that the loose ends were tied up quite neatly and realistically. More importantly, the acting was brilliant.

First of all, I have to stand amazed at how subtly Eikura-san managed to play the lead role. It wasn’t that she had to be stone-faced all the way through, but that she had to give a careful touch of emotion at the proper times. In this episode, she also played her earlier Aoyagi-like self, and even though that character was quite different, it was easy to see how it morphed into the cold-hearted Takakura who had been scarred by Mizuno’s death.

The dark teacher co-stars Kobayashi-san and Ichikawa-san also did a consistent job with their parts. Even though their characters were stark to the point of being stereotypes, the actresses made the characters feel more human. In fact, Fujii and Uchida felt downright familiar – similar to real teachers I’ve met.

More than anyone else in this episode, though, Matsumura-kun’s acting drove the key events and made them credible. It was the right touch of coldness and passion – of whispers and shouts – that kept his extreme role realistic. If he had played it with too much exaggeration, or too flatly, it would have been jarringly fake. The difficult transitions he had to make during the episode also went smoothly.

The other students in the class also stepped up solidly in this episode, carrying through the dénouement. Some of them did better than the others in the way they carried through their individual conflicts, but I covered those distinctions in the reviews of the previous episodes. For the finale, they were all in good form . . . well, there was one guy . . . but I’ll let that be.

While she didn’t have much of a role until this episode, Kaho Minami-san, who played the Principal, did nice work in this hour, going through a broad range of emotions.

With the acting solid, the writers fortunately did not disappoint. While there were weak episodes, they ended things well and sprinkled in some excellent episodes along the way. My frustrations with the character of Toda throughout the series were adequately answered, and seeing how it ended up helped me to understand why they couldn’t give us more development than they did.

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