SHARK 2 is heating up as Saku (Shigeoka Daiki) decided to do the ballad version of his song instead of the pop-suited version arranged by Matsuyuki (Toyohara Kosuke).

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Of course, Matsuyuki isn’t the one upset about this – Aruto (Abe Aran) is the one enraged because the ballad version isn’t as popular, it’s not what they agreed to do, and he was the only one left out of the loop. I have to admit, if I was in a band and I was the only one who wasn’t consulted about doing a different version of a song, I’d be pissed, too. However, I think the viewer might have trouble sympathizing with Aruto considering his own lack of empathy for the way Saku and Kota (Yasui Kentaro) feel.

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On the bright side, Aruto didn’t shout at Kai (Hamada Takahiro) this time, though Kai seems disappointed by this.

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Regardless of Aruto’s reaction, Saku resolves to go with the ballad version of the song and to stick to his guns in the future. That’s good – I’m looking forward to him becoming a more assertive character.

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Ichika (Yamashita Rio) is, of course, completely supportive. She points out that, though Kota now wants to stay with the group, he’s still suspended for that fight. So, I guess that means Kai gets to stick around.

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Speaking of which, we find out that Kai was impressed by how stellar Cloud 5 was on stage (in contrast to their haphazard rehearsals) and distressed by the fact that he couldn’t keep up with them. He realizes that SHARK is in no position to beat Cloud 5 – a group that has only recently debuted. SHARK is going to need to step up its game if they really want to be a contender.

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Kota catches Makoto (Kaede) at dance practice with her crew and tells her that Saku performed the right version of the song and all is forgiven.

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They go on a little date. Is Kota ahead in the love interest department or is this simply something they do as friends?  I don’t know if Makoto and Kota would give the same answer to that.

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So, just to make sure there’s no misunderstanding about his intentions, Kota decides to confess his love for her . . .

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. . . and in the way that seems to always happen in dramas but rarely happens in real life, he get interrupted by the arrival of Saku. Small world.

This is apparently not the first time Kota has tried to confess to Makoto without getting the words out, according to Saku.

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Well, at least Saku and Kota get to officially make up.

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Back at the office, Ichika tells her boss that the dedicated fans like the old Cloud5 and the ballad version of the song, but Aruto doesn’t like it. Her boss shrugs that off, but tells her that Matsuyuki has a favor to ask – he wants to keep Kai in Cloud5 for another week.

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Teppei (Kamiyama Tomohiro) doesn’t like the idea at all, and considering we know that Matsuyuki wants to create some drama for Cloud5 more than he cares about the music, Teppei’s probably right.

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Cloud5 rehearsals have never been smooth, but it’s especially annoying when Aruto is lying on the couch being willfully uncooperative. Abe Aran-kun did a brilliant job of this, by the way.

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He feels like Saku is looking down on him, and considering the way Saku didn’t bother to talk about the decision to do the ballad version of the song with him, he has a point. It’s nice to know that this is the reason he’s upset, and he’s not just unhappy because they’re going with the less popular version of the song.

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That leaves Saku in a conundrum, as he feels he’s caught between Kota and Aruto.

That night, Samantha (IVAN) tells Matsuyuki about a new group called Behind the Scenes (BTS) that is already taken by a company called Sister Music.

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Aruto is . . . complaining about his problems to friendly ears. He tells them that his parents divorced when he was very young, his father was violent, and he often ran away from home. Is he telling the truth?

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Well actually, no. He was just fooling with them and tells them that he’s actually very close to his father. The scene sure fit his character.

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We’re getting pretty close to the end and there still isn’t a natural spoiler line. That’s because this episode didn’t have a substantial internal conflict – it just advanced some plot lines. I guess I’ll leave out how things ended, though, especially since the lead-in to the next episode is somewhat of a surprise.

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This was a very slow episode because there was no substantial activity in it until the very end. The only attention-grabbing scenes were the ones centered on Aruto. Otherwise, it was all a yawn and barely consequential to the continuing plot.

As I’ve said before, the plot is a much more sophisticated one than the one we saw in the first season of SHARK, but I continue to be frustrated at our main character, Saku, who remains too mild for my tastes. With the teaser at the end of this episode, it looks like we’re going to get more depth to Aruto soon, though, so I’m grateful for that at least. I’m still waiting for something more from Haruya.