While Ichika (Yamashita Rio) and Mizuki (Hirano Sho) managed to get Ayumu (Matsumura Hokuto) on board in the previous episode of SHARK, the rest of the group seems to be in utter tatters. At the same time, Ichika’s facing pressure to get them ready for the audition – her boss pulled strings to get them a second chance and doesn’t want to look foolish.

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She tries to convince herself everything will be all right, but then she gets a nasty surprise when she talks to the group – Kenzo (Iwamoto Hikaru) wants to leave and join a different group.

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Maybe they could get by without a guitarist or two, but not having a drummer? Forget about it.

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As they’re walking, Mizuki and Ayumu see a video screen in the middle of nowhere with the Newtons – the group Kenzo wants to join – performing. They’re totally different from SHARK, but Ayumu says that all Kenzo wants is to sell well – he doesn’t care about the genre of music.

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Ichika talks to Kai (Hamada Takahiro) about Kenzo, but Kai doesn’t want to get in Kenzo’s way because changing to another group might be the best way for him to fulfill his dreams.

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Kenzo’s friend in the Newtons sure looks familiar – it’s Maeda Goki-kun from Kamen Teacher and Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo 2014. He’s sure busy in dramas involving Johnny leads lately. Anyway, here he’s playing bassist for the Newtons, Chiaki, and for once he’s not crazy.

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Chiaki wants to make sure Kenzo will make some changes in order to fit in with the group – clothing style and stuff like that. Kenzo seems all right with it.

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Mizuki has to talk the situation over with his counselor, Kaede (Kawaei Rina). She’s doing an increasingly good job of figuring him out and trying to convince him to do what he knows he should be doing . . .

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. . . even though it’s always annoying because Mizuki rarely listens to reason.

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And what he should be doing is, of course, helping to bring Kenzo back. Instead, it’s sort of Kenzo who makes the first move, passing by SHARK’s practice spot and seeing Mizuki and Ayumu having a jam session.

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I think he really doesn’t want to change his style to suit the Newtons. More than that, maybe he has enough respect for previous SHARK leader Kazuki (Fujii Ryusei) that he feels guilty for leaving the group.

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Ichika spots him, but only manages to break his reverie.

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Well, he’s changed his clothes to the Newtons style, but he doesn’t look happy about it. Then again, has he really looked happy at all so far?

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Ichika keeps pestering him, but we all know that it has to be Mizuki who turns Kenzo around, right?

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But the scene is useful because Kenzo explains his mindset to her, and the predicament he’s in.

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Kai’s boss gives him a tip that a group is disbanding and there might be a vocalist available. Hmm, there’s some potential for a good story there. Will Mizuki have to compete against another vocalist? I sure hope so. It’s a bit boring when he’s the only game in town.

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Mizuki, Ichika, and Ayumu go to see Kenzo with his new band, and Kai is also there, standing in the shadows in the back as usual.

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Kenzo looks profoundly unhappy, but maybe that’s just his drummer persona.

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Doesn’t really fit in well with his new group, though, since they’re all smiles.

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Considering how popular the group is and how Kenzo really wants to be successful, Ayumu and Ichika aren’t sure they should talk Kenzo out of continuing with the Newtons. Thankfully, Mizuki has no such problems.

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So, how obnoxious will he be here? Will he be able to get Kenzo back?

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Well, you’ll have to watch to find out. Sure looks like Chiaki wanted to say exactly what Mizuki said to Kenzo, though.

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While this episode was fine, things are still way too predictable in this drama. The actors are doing an okay job keeping up as much tension as possible, but they really need help from suspense in the storyline.

Mizuki didn’t contribute the same edge to this episode that he had in previous episodes, though he was good during the resolution phase. Part of the reason was the way the episode focused more on Kenzo and Chiaki, but really Mizuki can’t keep being the nice guy trying to bring the SHARK members back together. Someone as intense as Mizuki requires a real antagonist, and it probably has to be some group they’re competing against in the audition.

So yeah, I’m looking for something a bit different in the next episode. The actors can definitely deliver – it’s time for the writers to step up.