At the beginning of this episode of SHARK Season Two, the band gets back together. Finally, Kota (Yasui Kentaro) returns from his self-imposed exile – an absence that conveniently allowed Saku (Shigeoka Daiki) to lay the seeds of their next big fight.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 000SHARK 2 Ep 05 001SHARK 2 Ep 05 002SHARK 2 Ep 05 003

There is the matter of substitute guitarist Kai (Hamada Takahiro), and while Kota at least manages not to be mean to him, Saku thanks him for his service.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 004SHARK 2 Ep 05 005SHARK 2 Ep 05 006SHARK 2 Ep 05 007

Right before the opening credits, Saku does one of his little reflections. Last time, he said that nothing could ever go back to the way it was. This time, he says that nothing has changed – they’re all just the same. Not only are these mutually contradictory statements spoken in the same manner at the same time in consecutive episodes, but Saku manages to sound depressed at both states of affairs. This is insane.

I have come to the conclusion that I actively hate Saku. Sorry, Shigeoka-kun, you’re not going to be impressing me with your acting by playing this part.

Speaking of characters I actively hate in this series, here’s Makoto (Kaede) again, right after the credits. Here, Yasui-kun gives her the gift he had been hoping to present her with, but says it’s for success on her audition, but she failed so it ends up being a faux pas on his part.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 008SHARK 2 Ep 05 009

The acting from Kaede-san here is, in a word, atrocious. Makoto pretended to be sad and sobbing and then said she was kidding with a laugh, saying she was all right. Neither emotion was conveyed properly.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 010SHARK 2 Ep 05 011SHARK 2 Ep 05 012

Worse, out of nowhere, she decided to tell Kota that Saku cheered her up, and she looked totally in love when she talked about Saku:

SHARK 2 Ep 05 013

I mean, how callous can she get? She was apparently trying her best to get Kota to hate Saku.

And you know, Kota is pretty impressionable, but he was for now more irritated with himself for missing the right time than with Saku. I was sort of surprised by how mild Kota’s reaction was.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 014

And I guess Saku was, too, because he decided the right thing to do would be to ask Kota what Kota would do if Makoto rejected him. Brilliant timing.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 015

Fortunately, this happened to be exactly when Kota was noticing that his pet fish was different, so he didn’t even hear. And lucky for them, he only thought Makoto had fed it too much. The bullets are somehow missing Saku and Makoto here even though they tried their best to get hit.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 016

Kota notices the way Makoto interacts with Saku, though, and Saku notices that he notices. This thing is just going to get drawn out for a ton of episodes, I guess. I would have much rather seen Kota go ballistic here, just to get it over with.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 017SHARK 2 Ep 05 018

On the bright side, at least one member of Cloud5 knows how to go ballistic quickly instead of letting things fester. Aruto (Abe Aran) takes issue with the way Kota is playing the song in seconds.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 019

Kota is basically trying to rework the song into what he thinks Cloud5’s image should be – particularly infuriating to Aruto when he was the one who penned the lyrics. Kota tries to get Saku to pick between the versions and . . . well, we’ve definitely been down this road before, haven’t we?

SHARK 2 Ep 05 020

Instead of telling Kota that they wrote the song this way and sticking to his guns, Saku says that they should just do it Kota’s way.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 021

Quite rightly, Aruto takes issue with this, and it ends up being that Saku and Kota are barring any involvement from the other two again, making the situation exactly what Aruto objected to in the first place. Aruto pinpoints the issue quickly – Kota wants to make sure that this is his territory after Kai’s stint as substitute for him. Aruto and Haruya (Hagiya Keigo) both show a good sense of the psychology of the group because they feel like outsiders, while Kota and Saku lack any sympathy for any view but their own.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 022SHARK 2 Ep 05 023SHARK 2 Ep 05 024SHARK 2 Ep 05 025

Ichika (Yamashita Rio) gathers the group together to ask how the new song is coming along, and it really looks like the scene from the first episode where Kota stormed out.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 026

This time, though, Ichika’s boss wants to have a word with them. He wants to talk about what he calls a “tie-up”, but which I would call a “tie-in” – that is, a commercial wants to use Cloud5’s second song.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 027SHARK 2 Ep 05 028

Guess who has a problem with this:

SHARK 2 Ep 05 029

I’m so depressed right now. I mean, Kota was a respectable character until this episode, and now they had to go and ruin him. Instead of being principled, he now comes off as being snotty and merely an obstacle to what everyone else wants. Instead of getting angry at all the things I expected him to get angry about, he’s taken all those mildly and decided to go against things that would help the group move forward.

The writers, worried that they had just gotten rid of the only SHARK character in the mix, found a new way to work him back in. Samantha (IVAN) asks Kai to become a support player for Matsuyuki – a studio musician of some sort – until SHARK can start working again.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 030SHARK 2 Ep 05 031SHARK 2 Ep 05 032

In exchange, SHARK will get to use the same studio that Cloud5 does when Cloud5 isn’t busy in it. That is apparently an upgrade from the warehouse they used to use.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 033SHARK 2 Ep 05 034

Back in that studio, Aruto and Kota are going at it again, and Kota says Saku should decide because he’s the leader. Good luck with that. I think we’ve already seen where Saku’s attempts to be the leader have led.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 036SHARK 2 Ep 05 037SHARK 2 Ep 05 038SHARK 2 Ep 05 039

Yup, it leads right back there again. This is ridiculous. What have the past four episodes been about, exactly? Why are we back to episode one?

SHARK 2 Ep 05 040SHARK 2 Ep 05 041SHARK 2 Ep 05 042SHARK 2 Ep 05 043

And what kind of carnage will the fact that SHARK can use the same studio lead to? There are bad vibes in this place.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 044SHARK 2 Ep 05 045

Haruya has to be the most mild-mannered drummer on the planet, by the way.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 046SHARK 2 Ep 05 047SHARK 2 Ep 05 048SHARK 2 Ep 05 049

I’m going to leave the rest of the episode out as spoilers. There’s really only one overriding question: are we really back to the first episode or is something going to be different?

SHARK 2 Ep 05 054SHARK 2 Ep 05 055SHARK 2 Ep 05 056

On a more practical note: why can’t they just record both versions and release them both on the single and let the people listening choose which one they like for themselves? It’s been done before. Why does there have to be all this pointless bickering when such a simple solution is available?

This is all pointlessly contrived, and the main character is a spineless drama queen.

SHARK 2 Ep 05 065

So why should I watch this drama any further? Just to watch Behind the Scenes, really – the group that is going to beat the pants off this miserable lot. Oh, and Aruto is still decent – not the best person to explain his own position on things, but at least he deserves some respect.

Oh, and I really don’t understand the way this episode ended – it once again seemed like Saku wanted to pick the option that would most annoy people when there was a less extreme option available.

I had better get a healthy dose of Behind the Scenes in episode 6, because I’m sick and tired of this lot.