With Kusanagi Keigo (Jesse)’s little brother getting kidnapped by the fresh batch of bad students in the previous Kamen Teacher (仮面ティーチャー), it seems likely that we’re going to find out whether Kusanagi is really the dark kamen teacher in this episode. After all, it’s tough to imagine a better setup – not only is the kidnapping the most serious thing that’s happened in this entire series, but it is directed straight at Kusanagi.

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These new bad kids are so much worse than the M4 students who Araki (Fujigaya Taisuke) already reformed. Shouldn’t they have been in Araki’s class of super-troubled students, and shouldn’t Kanako (Taketomi Seika) or Bon (Kyomoto Taiga) have already told Araki about them? I’m still having trouble with the sudden introduction of the characters, though at least they’re delightfully evil.

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The plot here is that they’ve captured the little brother in order to force Kusanagi out of school.

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To keep his brother safe, they force him to vandalize the school. Well, that should get a normal student expelled with the climate in the school so hostile between the administration and the students.

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Kusanagi is held in an office the next morning as the principal learns of his nighttime activities.  While expulsion is the obvious punishment, the principal says he’ll think about what to do about Kusanagi (because he’s the dark kamen teacher?).

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He better decide fast, though, because Kusanagi is still a bomb ready to blow – he even shoves Ichimura (Omasa Aya) when she talks about his mother.

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Being stuck in an office like this doesn’t help him save his brother, and the anxiety must be killing him. He doesn’t say a word about that, though.

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Back at the cafe, Araki watches another episode of Kinpatsu-sensei (Tsukada Ryoichi) . . .

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. . . and explains the virtue of the show to Ichimura. Can’t see how the message of this episode is going to help, though, since Araki already acts in accordance with it.

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Suddenly, Saeko (Yamamoto Maika) says that she won’t forgive the Kamen Teacher for killing her brother. I guess . . . she doesn’t know that Araki is that Kamen Teacher?

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Just as she leaves in a huff, Bon pops in. It’s good to see him – still the best character in this thing. He informs Araki that Noma and Nakagawa kidnapped Kusanagi’s brother, and even has the address of where Noma usually hangs out. We don’t even wonder how he could have gotten this information – Bon is cool like that.

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Noma decides that Kusanagi might not get expelled for just the vandalism, so she calls him up to tell him to do something more.

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Arson, to be exact.

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Araki intervenes before he can use the lighter to set the fire, and Kusanagi points out that this is all his fault – Araki didn’t deal with Noma and her friends properly the first time.

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Well, Araki promises to correct the situation and rushes off to save Kusanagi’s brother.

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But he’s not the only kamen teacher that shows up:

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Okay, well obviously everything after this is a huge spoiler – the spoiler line doesn’t get much more obvious than this. Is Kusanagi the dark kamen teacher? How will Araki deal with the dark kamen teacher this time whether its Kusanagi or not (will we get an epic fight)? Will Kusanagi be redeemed in this episode, or will it take a few more?

Oh, and will the plot ever turn to them dealing with that nasty principal?

The most noteworthy thing about this episode was, of course, Jesse-kun’s acting. He’s been in five dramas including this season, but this is the first time I’ve seen him get a real chance to act, and it looks good. I’ll try to comment more about it in the next episode.

Since there was a real issue to be dealt with right from the start – the kidnapping – this was one of the tighter and more engaging episodes. There wasn’t any useless talk and they went with the most efficient way to get Araki informed about the situation – getting Bon to tell him what’s up.

Compared to the other dramas in this time slot (the Johnny’s late-night slot, as I think of it), this one is turning out to be the most coherent and well-paced since the very first one I reviewed – Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou. Sprout, Piece, Shinryochu, and Bad Boys J all either had plot problems or pacing problems. After eight episodes, I think I can say with confidence that it’s a good series, but there’s still the little matter of how it ends, and a series like this requires a pretty epic sequence of final episodes to fully capitalize on what has been set in motion. Whether I get that or not will determine whether I call this a good series or a great series.