In Kamen Teacher (仮面ティーチャー), Araki Gota (Fujigaya Taisuke) has now managed to win over most of the M4 students . . .

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. . . but he still has to deal with Kinzo (Kikuchi Fuma) and Shishimaru (Kishi Yuta), not to mention the dark Kamen Teacher.

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In the school staff room, Araki wonders who the dark teacher is. I hope it’s not the person we’re being led to think it is (Tooyama Shunsaku played by Yamada Shintaro). Anyway, the staff is entirely at ease thanks to the Kamen Teachers . . .

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. . . except for Ichimura (Omasa Aya), who’s more impressed by the way Araki handled Ryota (apparently risking his own body in the process).

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Kinzo approaches Kotaro (Maeda Goki), who’s certainly the one who seems most borderline – he was apparently reformed by Araki, but also retains a gang. Kotaro tells Kinzo that he’s not interested in reaching the top anymore – favoring friendship over domination – but that he’s willing to fight Kinzo anytime.

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That wasn’t Kinzo’s plan, though – he just wanted to see whether Kotaro could be turned back to the dark side.

We get quite a look at why Kinzo is considered the strongest at the school (and a great moment for Kikuchi Fuma fans, too):

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What is it between Kinzo and Shishimaru, anyway? It’s like the two of them are joined at the hip. Will Araki have to win them both over together because neither one would betray the other?

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Shishimaru offers to deal with the Kamen Teacher for Kinzo’s sake, because Kinzo is so upset by the Kamen Teacher’s success, but which of the Kamen Teachers is he going to end up opposing?

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Bon (Kyomoto Taiga) overhears and gets concerned about Shishimaru getting mobilized. Bon continues to be my favorite character as Araki’s best sidekick. Have you noticed how Kondo Kanako (Taketomi Seika), the girl student who initially seemed to be his fan and sidekick but was too air-headed to be a useful character, has ended up totally out of the picture? To me, that’s a sign of good writing – the writers recognized that Kanako was an irritating character, and even though her absence leaves us with a lack of female students in the picture, Kanako was not the answer.

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Araki sees the troubled look on Shishimaru’s face before we get the title sequence.

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After the opening credits, we catch Araki watching Kinpatsu-sensei (Tsukada Ryoichi). His reaction to the show has been growing lukewarm of late, but some of the old enthusiasm is back this time . . .

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. . . but that might be because things are back to normal in the café.

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Meanwhile, the principal has a meeting with the dark Kamen Teacher, and we get a hint that it’s not Tooyama Shunsaku, after all.

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Later that night, Shishimaru strikes against one of the teachers, who he accuses of beingthe Kamen Teacher. He didn’t really care which teacher he went after, since he had a particular message in mind, and just needed a soft target.

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He tells his target that if they don’t announce who the Kamen Teacher is, he’ll go after them one-by-one.

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Frankly, I don’t understand why one of the Kamen Teachers didn’t pop up right there. I guess there’s a no-stalking policy?

Turns out the guy Shishimaru attacked is the vice principal, and he’s demanding to know who the Kamen Teacher is (only the principal knows). The point is that Shishimaru’s message was delivered.

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And who does Araki turn to after hearing this?

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Bon, of course! I wonder why Bon didn’t tell Araki about Shishimaru earlier. He says that even though Shishimaru is strong, he stays behind Kinzo, which is why he’s known as the Shadow Man.

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And in turn, Kinzo is closed to everyone except for Shishimaru.

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When Bon suggests that Kinzo and Shishimaru are in a deeper relationship, the two teachers suddenly look like they’re watching the drama instead of part of it:

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Araki asks Bon to investigate further into what’s up with Kinzo and Shishimaru.

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A totally token Keigo (Jesse) scene with Shishimaru:

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This time, Araki breaks out the helmet – he has to protect the teachers, after all. I suppose now that he had a reason to, he did resort to stalking Shishimaru.

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Araki doesn’t want to fight . . .

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. . . but the dark Kamen Teacher does.

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How will this turn out? And what will Kinzo do about it?

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I won’t reveal what we find out about Kinzo and Shishimaru late in the episode, but we do get plenty of background on them and why they’re such a pair (thanks to Bon, of course):

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So, will this episode end Empire Strikes Back style – with the dark teacher in ascendance – or will Araki be able to turn things his way?

Incidentally, we also get the first classroom scene in ages. Isn’t interesting how few of these we’ve gotten in this school drama?

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There was good and bad in this episode. The soft part was undoubtedly the flashback to Kinzo and Shishimaru’s past – the explanation was too easy and the way it was presented was a tad sloppy in terms of directing. At some points, I was surprised by actions of characters, who seemed to do what was convenient for the story instead of what they ought to have done. Unfortunately, the best example of this is a definite ultra-spoiler. Unlike earlier episodes, I didn’t feel like Araki got any focus this time, perhaps because time was taken building up the two student characters and the threat of the dark Kamen Teacher.

I was impressed by Kishi-kun’s acting considering that this is his first go at it. Kikuchi-kun is good at being angry, but I’m not sure about the rest of his acting range. Getting a sense of these two actors was the biggest plus in the episode.

Obviously, this episode did a great deal to move the plot along, so for those who have been following the story, it won’t be a disappointment.