Things are certainly getting interesting in Kamen Teacher (仮面ティーチャー). If you haven’t watched the previous episodes, I do not recommend reading this review any further – you’re totally going to ruin it for yourself.

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Trusting that everyone reading has seen the series through episode 8, or at least knows what has happened, it looks like Jesse-kun’s character – Kusanagi Keigo – was the dark Kamen Teacher, after all. I’ve been itching to write about it, but couldn’t in the last review because of my standard rules about spoilers. Kudos to those who guessed it three or four episodes ago. I have to wonder if he had a body-double until the final reveal, since the dark Kamen Teacher seems to have a heavier build, judging especially from the neck, but it’s tough to say.

It’s interesting to see Jesse-kun in this role, since he doesn’t seem the type at first glance. If he continues to pull it off, it will be a real feather in his acting cap, since most actors in J-dramas don’t play against type and this will set him apart.

But something else occurred right at the end of the previous episode that promised a different sort of conflict for Araki (Fujigaya Taisuke) – the daughter of the café owner, Kobayashi Saeko (Yamamoto Maika), found out what her father already knew – that Araki is the Kamen Teacher who Saeko feels was responsible for her brother’s death. Araki and Saeko have gotten along fairly well so far, but this totally shakes her trust in him. It’s not just the incident with her brother – he could potentially explain what happened there – but also the fact that he hid his identity from her for so long.

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I wonder where this unexpected subplot will go.

But that’s not the only shock for Araki. The principal decides to dismiss him!

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Well, the principal dismisses him as Kamen Teacher, but he will continue to serve as a regular teacher for the rest of the year since dismissing him in that capacity might draw suspicions. The principal wants to rely on the dark Kamen Teacher – the one who puts fear into students and leaves bad kids traumatized.

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Will this be the start of the anti-administration plot I’ve been hoping for? Surely the writers won’t let this principal get away with this?

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Of course, maybe this gives Araki the opportunity to do exactly what he aimed to – to change students without using the powers of the Kamen Teacher. Those powers were sure handy, though . . . .

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For instance, there’s now no one to stop Kusanagi from dealing justice in his own way – making the same mistakes Araki did before the death of Saeko’s brother.

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Well, these girls still haven’t learned their lesson:

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Asami is still aiming for some mischief. Could it involve the dark Kamen Teacher or the staff? Speaking of the staff, they’re all singing the praises of the Kamen Teacher except for Ichimura (Omasa Aya), who remains as unhappy about the situation as she has been for the entire series.

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Kinzo (Kikuchi Fuma) and Shishimaru (Kishi Yuta) are also getting ready to seek some revenge . . .

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. . . and when this same teacher threatens his students – telling them to be quiet or the Kamen Teacher will get them (ironic, because Kusanagi hates this particular teacher) . . .

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. . . Kinzo and Shishimaru directly express their displeasure at this tactic.

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Will all the problems he faces, will Araki be able to get the answer from Kinpatsu-sensei (Tsukada Ryoichi)?

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Well, no, because he’s not watching. I guess Araki isn’t ready to show his face at the cafe again just yet – not while Saeko is mad at him.

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Saeko’s father tells her how Araki came to him and explained that he was the Kamen Teacher shortly after the incident, and that he walloped Araki in fury.

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Araki didn’t say that it was an accident – Saeko’s father found that out for himself from another student at the scene.

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Saeko remains unswayed, correctly pointing out that if there had been no Kamen Teacher, her brother would still be alive.

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Kondo Kanako (Taketomi Seika) tries to cheer Araki up by declaring her love for yakisoba bread and . . . for Araki. Well, can’t fault her for summoning the courage to confess, I guess.

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Kusanagi looks on . . .

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. . . as the two bad girls aim to entrap a guy and blackmail him.

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But this is sort of a dangerous game. Will Kusanagi intervene when the guy they’re trying to blackmail is a predator, or is it enough that they’re being morally reprehensible? It’s tough to see what side justice is on here. And what if the guy they’re trying to blackmail turns out to be dangerous – will Kusanagi save them? Saving people doesn’t really seem to be his business – not unless it’s his own little brother.

And if Kusanagi doesn’t save them, will Araki?

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There’s also the question of what Shishimaru and Kinzo intend to do. Oh, and whether something will get Saeko to forgive Araki. So yeah, lots of stuff to get done in this episode or the next one.

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If you want to find out what happens, be sure to watch the episode (preferably before I post my review of the next one)!

Execution of the plot in this episode was handled expertly as usual, though I can’t say there were any surprises. There were no noticeable issues with the acting.

To my dismay, though, they decided to introduce new students at the end of this episode again! Well, this is why I don’t like them doing that – once they start, they can’t stop, and it becomes an easy way to keep things going and to advance the plot. I guess we’ll find out what the newbies are all about in the next episode. It’s a shame, though – as long as they keep the focus on fresh batches of bad students, they’re in well-trodden territory.

If there’s new ground to be explored in these sorts of delinquent dramas, it’s in the gradual development of characters. You’ll notice that they seem to treat behavior like an on-off switch – either students are good or they’re bad, and there’s usually a pivotal event in their past that turns them bad, and then another that leads them to be good again. There’s a chance that with Kinzo, Shishimaru, and Kusanagi, Kamen Teacher can offer a more gradual and nuanced approach to the behavior of students, but time is running out to develop that properly.