In the previous episode of Bad Boys J, we got a Romeo and Juliet story that was sort of out-of-character compared to the expectations set by the first episode. Will we get more brooding and seriousness this time, or will we go back to the mix of humor and mindless urban warfare that this drama began with?

Well, the bodies strewn on the stairs at the start suggest that we’ll be getting less love and more war.

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Back in the café, though, things are much calmer, with Kiriki Tsukasa (Nakajima Kento) still not reconciled to his position as leader of Gokurakuchou – treating the other members as friends rather than followers.

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The team gets news that Keys picked a fight with the top gang in Hiroshima – BEAST- and got pummeled. Those were the guys we saw on the stairs at the beginning.

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In a purely humorous turn to romance, Tsukasa has trouble asking Mika for her e-mail address, and when Youji (Iwamoto Hikaru) tries to ask her on his behalf, Tsukasa interrupts and in panic tries to insert other thing that start with “ad-.”

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BEAST is an organization with 3000 under its leader – that’s a lot of moving parts. And since the charismatic leader that held it together has lost interest, the parts start going in different directions.

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The infighting is centered on the second-in-command Kazu (Morita Myuto), who is the level-headed strategic type . . .

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. . . and hot-head Sakuragi, who uses BEAST’s superior power with reckless abandon. Unfortunately, Sakuragi’s willingness to wield the power means that he gets plenty of easy victories, and the person who can bring victories gains the loyalty of those under him.

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Sakuragi’s next target is Gokurakuchou. Kazu has been shielding the tiny group from BEAST’s expansion because he’s been buddies with Youji and Eiji (Fukusawa Tatsuya) since middle school. But now, with Tsukasa ranked as Hiroshima’s #2, BEAST can’t ignore the group any longer and Sakuragi wants to be the one to take them down.

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To preempt that, Kazu decides to have a talk with Youji . . .

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. . . in the hope that Gokurakuchou will just surrender to BEAST peacefully and get absorbed into the larger group.

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That’s the sort of decision that requires a discussion with the rest of the group . . .

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. . . but just as Tsukasa is leaning toward accepting the peace offer from BEAST, they find out that BEAST has attacked Gokurakuchou. Looks like Sakuragi decided not to wait.

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Kazu gets the news and is infuriated at Sakuragi, but what can he do?

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Youji looks to Tsukasa for leadership, perhaps not trusting his own judgment since the offer comes from his friend.

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We get a little romantic interlude between the Romeo and Juliet of the last episode, but it’s played for laughs this time with them going over-the-top with the angst.

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Nights’ Sato Erika (Triendl Reina) decides to give some advice to the guy who unseated her own group’s leader as Hiroshima’s #2 – don’t dare try to go against the #1, BEAST’s Danno (Nikaido Takashi).

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But with Sakuragi getting the group under his sway, it doesn’t look like Gokurakuchou will be given much of a choice.

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I think that’s more than enough summary to convey the plot and tone of the episode. I think it’s pretty obvious how this is going to end, but let’s pretend that there’s something worth spoiling, just for the sake of form.

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In case you have any doubts, here’s a hint:

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In a surprising addition at the end of the main story, we got a Bad Boys J omake corner – a typical staple of manga (and Bad Boys J is based on a manga), but I don’t remember seeing omake on a drama before.

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It was basically a throw-away minute, but I’d rather have them do this than slow the pace down in the main story to fill the time slot (as long as the omake don’t get any longer than this one).

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I’d say this was an all right episode, though it was entirely predictable.

Unlike the previous two episodes, the story wasn’t really focused on any single character. In fact, it was pretty evenly distributed with a striking number of the characters getting lines. As a result, Tsukasa finally ended up being at the center of events, especially after Youji started deferring to him. I think we’re beginning to see the development of Tsukasa as he assumes more of a leadership role, and I hope that’s going to be a continuing theme of the drama.

I still don’t see what we can look forward to as the series moves forward. Tsukasa is already in an indirect confrontation with the top guy in Hiroshima, so just getting to the top can’t be the only point to the whole thing. I can’t resist comparing this to Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou, where we had a clear struggle that would last for the entire series laid out at the start, and the plots were not so stereotypical. I hope this drama is just getting all the obvious stuff out of the way first so that we can get to more interesting plots later.