The storyline to SHARK has been fairly straightforward and easy to follow all the way through. That’s a good thing, because it looks like I’m going to have to review the remaining episodes without subtitles if I want to get through them before I need to start reviewing the second season of this drama, which starts on April 20th.
At the end of episode eight, Mizuki (Hirano Sho) basically froze on stage, having a sudden loss of confidence after seeing and hearing Akashi Shinobu (Kakizawa Hayato) perform. In truth, Mizuki’s constant bluster and show of confidence had always served to mask his deep self-doubt, and he just couldn’t maintain the act any longer because he was faced with a rival he didn’t believe he could defeat.
He exited, leaving Kai (Hamada Takahiro) to handle the vocals.
Outside, Kaede (Kawaei Rina) is waiting for Mizuki, but he can’t bring himself to say anything to her – not even something rude.
As the pain hits him . . .
. . . his oddly calm voice-over wonders what he should do. If I heard him right, he recalled the spark he once had thanks to music – the one that is now extinguished:
Back at the record company, Ichika (Yamashita Rio) tells her manager that she forgot to record the performance. He’s growing desperate for something to show to his bosses in order to convince them that SHARK is worth supporting – gone is the calm demeanor he had at the beginning of the series.
It’s not true, of course – she does have a recording of the performance. As Okawa (Mano Erina) points out to her, though, word of how it went is already all over the internet – it’s a good thing Ichika’s manager hasn’t bothered to look that far into things.
Mizuki isn’t showing up for group meetings and interviews, and since he’s the person everyone is interested, the band is quickly losing opportunities to regain a chance at a major label debut.
It’s clear that the members are stunned by the sudden turn of events – they can’t even be mad at Mizuki.
It doesn’t look like they’re trying to talk to Mizuki (though I might be missing something because I don’t understand all the dialogue), and perhaps they’re succumbing to the despair that was already plaguing the group before Mizuki’s arrival.
If they wanted to talk to Mizuki, it wouldn’t be hard to find him – he was at his usual haunt. Can Kaede talk some sense into him? It looks like she’s going to be the only one who’s going to try.
It’s not going to be easy though. Just going by his tone of voice, it sounds like he’s in denial.
The other side of things is between Ichika and Kai, since Ichika had convinced Kai to accept Mizuki, and now that doesn’t seem to be working out. At this point, a dispassionate viewer would have to concede that maybe Shinobu was the better choice for vocalist after all, though we have to wonder if he would have made such a drastic chance if not driven to it by anger.
Kai has already expressed an increasing attachment to Mizuki, but the band was in search of something it could believe in and rally around after the loss of its first vocalist, and Mizuki is no longer acting the part of that rally point.
Ayumu (Matsumura Hokuto) seems to apologize to his girlfriend for the way Mizuki abandoned the concert . . .
. . . and he’s quite distraught about the whole thing . . .
. . . but luckily his girlfriend reminds him that they both support Mizuki. After all, though she doesn’t say so explicitly, Mizuki did help to bring Ayumu and her together.
Through all the conversations, they have flashbacks where they remember how Mizuki has touched them.
Meanwhile, Mizuki runs away when he sees Ichika. I guess that’s why they haven’t been able to get a good conversation with him.
At least there’s one person in the world who Mizuki is not running away from:
Reading an article about Castaways – probably the interview that should have gone to SHARK if Mizuki had showed up – Mizuki reflects that it’s the end of rock in Japan. His little rant draws Kaede’s ire.
Shinobu shows up at Kai’s shop to give him a kick in the pants. I guess Shinobu wasn’t satisfied in the way he won the battle of the bands – he clearly looked up to SHARK and wanted to feel like he achieved something by beating them. He got no such resolution.
Mizuki’s two fans show up at the burger joint, and he puts on his old act . . .
. . . but Kaede has had enough of him.
Mizuki chases her and, as they pass the ballet school, she gives him a real talking to, insisting that he shouldn’t give up on his own dream so easily.
But if Mizuki goes back to SHARK now, how will his group members take it? Will they just welcome him with open arms? And where is their confidence going to come from now, since their belief in Mizuki has taken such a blow?
Well, you’re going to have to watch to find out those answers.
This episode basically revolved around Hirano-kun’s ability to show Mizuki’s emotional state, and he did an excellent job with it this time. The only fault was in the voice-over narration at the beginning of the episode, which felt a bit off.
I liked that they had Kaede give Mizuki the key lecture – the sort of lecture that he gave to the other members of the group to get them through their own problems.
The relationship between Kaede and Mizuki is definitely the most earnest one we’ve seen in any of these Johnny’s time slot dramas so far. Think back through all of them – Bakaleya, Sprout, Piece, Shinryochu, Bad Boys J, Kamen Teacher, and 49 – and the only relationship that even came close to being as delightful to watch was the one between the characters played by Hashimoto Ryosuke-kun and Triendl Reina-san in Bad Boys J.
So those were the good things about the episode. There was one downside: the ending felt a tad too quick and easy. I suppose we have the time constraints to blame for that. At least we saw a lot of angst from Mizuki through the episode, and that’s what sold it.