English subs for this episode of SHARK are now available, so let’s continue our journey with the group. There’s also news that we can expect a second season of SHARK with a somewhat different though equally interesting cast starting in April, so look forward to that.

This episode begins with SHARK participating in a radio interview. As you’d expect, Mizuki (Hirano Sho)’s attitude dashes any hope that it will go smoothly, and Ichika (Yamashita Rio) has to apologize profusely for his rudeness.

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Afterward, she expresses legitimate concern that the station will never invite them on again, even though the show’s producer shrugged Mizuki’s attitude off.

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Kai (Hamada Takahiro) wonders about their chances for a début, and Ichika admits that her boss isn’t having much luck with their superiors. If SHARK wants to début, they’re going to have to gain popularity first.

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They have a live performance lined up, but there’s a bit of a snag – the group that’s going to open for them:

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Now, I wouldn’t blame anyone for not recognizing the lead singer of the Castaways, but Ichika sure does . . .

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. . . since he’s the guy that Kai tried to get as the lead singer for SHARK instead of Mizuki. What a makeover!

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Suddenly, Kai gets a call from the guy – Akashi Shinobu (Kakizawa Hayato). Shinobu is aiming to have a battle of the bands – it sounds like he wants revenge for the way SHARK treated him.

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According to him, he’s learned how to create songs, improved his singing skills, and worked on his act since they last met. That’s . . . a lot to do in a few weeks – possibly a couple of months if we’re stretching the timeline a bit. He should be grateful to SHARK – some people pay good money to get motivated, with much less success.

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Anyway, there’s nothing for SHARK to worry about from that guy since Mizuki is better than him . . . right?

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Neither Mizuki nor Kai look entirely confident, though Mizuki naturally pretends to be.

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Alone, Mizuki reflects that he doesn’t want to lose again, because that will be the end of his self-confidence and the act that he puts on to bolster it. It will burst his bubble. Now, if he’s anything like Tezuka in Miss Pilot, my guess is that his bubble is going to have to burst, his confidence shattered, and the other guys in the group will have to help him to rebuild.

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But perhaps all he needs is a session with his counselor Kaede (Kawaei Rina) and a surprise encounter with two fans?

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Back at SHARK HQ, there’s still a lot of tension between Ichika and Kai, and they apologize to each other about the harsh words they exchanged when Kai was pushing for Shinobu to become the SHARK vocalist.

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Kai says he’s now glad they picked Mizuki because he feels like he can go further with Mizuki – take on things that he wouldn’t be able to on his own. Altogether, this was a very good scene with well-crafted lines.

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Kai resolve to write a new song to reflect the new SHARK. What sort of song will it be?

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On the Mizuki side of things, Kaede is a bit peeved with him because of the way he was interacting with his adoring fans. It’s interesting that Mizuki actually cares how Kaede feels about him – we haven’t seen much of that before. I also don’t think we’ve seen them together outside of the burger joint where Kaede works.

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In fact, Mizuki remembered that it’s Kaede’s birthday and . . . cue the romantic piano music.

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Well, it was bound to happen, right? I think the timing here is quite good. Mizuki’s act has been getting a bit stale the past few episodes, and this adds a much needed extra dimension to him.

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Though, thankfully, they didn’t remove all of his rough edges.

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The sight of a ballet school gives us a chance to learn a bit more about Kaede, too. Turns out that she once dreamed of becoming a ballerina.

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In what is one of the best scenes in the entire series so far, we get a bit of a reversal, with Mizuki listening to Kaede’s problems for once. Her story also has bearing on his own upcoming situation with Shinobu, and perhaps his past.

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Kai is hard at work . . .

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. . . and the band goes out on a cold night to hand out flyers to their upcoming concert.

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Mizuki feels like this sort of thing is beneath him, though, and walks away, saying that his voice will bring the fans and ensure they’ll win against the Castaways. Well, if Shinobu sang the way he did in the park when they met him, maybe that’s be true, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

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As always, Kai looks worried, and he and the others continue to hand out flyers on the logic that they can’t depend solely on Mizuki’s talent.

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And so the battle begins:

 

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Obviously, I can’t tell you what actually happens – I want to encourage you to watch to find out – but we’ve already seen indications of what the writers are planning to set up. They didn’t have Shinobu boast about his new abilities for nothing.

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This was an excellent episode – really the best of the series so far. The heart and soul of it was in the exchanges between Mizuki and Kaede, though the scene between Kai and Ichika also helped. The plot wasn’t surprising at all, and it hasn’t been in the series so far, but the execution of the plot was superb this time in particular thanks to a combination of good lines and decent acting.

If the new season of SHARK begins and subs for the rest of this season aren’t available yet, I’ll look into reviewing the rest of the drama without subtitles if I decide that I can. I’m eager to take a peek at the new cast and how the writers tie the new series into this one, but I don’t want to go there until I’ve seen everything here, since there may be spoilers.