The internal struggles of Cloud5 in SHARK Season 2  have finally come to a tipping point with the departure of obnoxious guitarist Kota (Yasui Kentaro).

SHARK 2 Ep 07 000 SHARK 2 Ep 07 001

This, of course, leaves the group short a guitarist, and instead of doing the decent thing and holding an audition, Saku (Shigeoka Daiki) tries to poach Kai (Hamada Takahiro) from SHARK. Because, after all, Saku is a chaos engineer of the highest caliber. He actually asks Kai to join Cloud5 directly at the start of this episode, much to my surprise.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 002 SHARK 2 Ep 07 003 SHARK 2 Ep 07 004

The writers have decided to turn Kai from the stalwart pillar he was in the first season into a faithless question mark in this season, so he doesn’t immediately explode in outrage and vow never to play for Cloud5 again.

Meanwhile, Mizuki (Hirano Sho) has quickly sensed what Teppei (Kamiyama Tomohiro) has also figured out – that all is not all right in the state of Kai. The state of Mizuki’s voice is also still uncertain, though.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 005 SHARK 2 Ep 07 006 SHARK 2 Ep 07 007

We don’t really hear his voice at all during the practice scene, though presumably he does eventually sing.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 008

Mizuki notes that Kai’s playing is different, and doesn’t really fit with the group. Hmm . . . I think Mizuki is playing into Saku’s evil hands with this comment.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 009 SHARK 2 Ep 07 010

Just in case we think everything is Saku’s fault, Makoto (Kaede) reminds us that she exists as well, and that she likes Saku over Kota – as if that wasn’t already clear.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 011 SHARK 2 Ep 07 012 SHARK 2 Ep 07 013

Kai shares his angst with Ichika (Yamashita Rio ), but he isn’t completely honest about it.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 014 SHARK 2 Ep 07 015

Saku calls Kai over for practice . . .

SHARK 2 Ep 07 016

. . . and it goes on for so long that Kai fails to show up for the SHARK practice, which leads to a SHARK-Cloud5 confrontation.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 018 SHARK 2 Ep 07 019

I’ve been waiting for a Mizuki-Aruto face-off since episode one, I swear!

SHARK 2 Ep 07 020 SHARK 2 Ep 07 021

But it was messed up by Saku who, hell-bent on ruining SHARK as well, announces to everyone that he wants Kai to join Cloud5 even though Kai already told him that’s out of the question (though not forcefully enough, apparently).

SHARK 2 Ep 07 022 SHARK 2 Ep 07 023 SHARK 2 Ep 07 024

And everything else is sort of a spoiler, isn’t it? I mean, once that gauntlet is tossed, it all gets serious. Well . . . not quite – there’s an awkward scene change that diffuses the tension unnaturally.

Kai practices with SHARK next, but we once again don’t get to hear Mizuki sing – he just sits as the band practices.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 025 SHARK 2 Ep 07 026

Instead of going high tension, the drama offers a little heart-to-heart between Mizuki and Kai . . .

SHARK 2 Ep 07 027SHARK 2 Ep 07 029

. . . in which Kai claims he has a lot to learn from Saku because Saku thinks about his band more than anyone else. Really? That is patently ridiculous. We have been told and shown that Saku didn’t even recognize the feelings of half the group for years, he found the ideal way to alienate Kota instead of finding a reasonable compromise, and instead of immediately trying to find a guitarist by audition, he is creating another problem for his group by insisting that Kai should quit SHARK and join Cloud5.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 031

It’s even worse, because where did Kai get this stupid idea that Saku thought about his band more than anyone? If anything, his experience with Cloud5 should tell him that Aruto was the one who thought about the band more than anyone – just like Mizuki does for SHARK. In fact, Kai compares Aruto to Mizuki, so . . . yeah.

Mizuki is not a happy camper.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 032 SHARK 2 Ep 07 033

But after this point, everything else is definitely spoiler stuff, though I think you can guess some of what’s coming.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 034 SHARK 2 Ep 07 035 SHARK 2 Ep 07 036

This was a rare episode in SHARK Season 2 that was actually focused on SHARK. Honestly, the only major problem with it was that it happened too deep in the season. If I think that the previous episode felt like episode two or possibly three, then this one should have been three or four.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 038 SHARK 2 Ep 07 039 SHARK 2 Ep 07 040

First decent acting from Hamada-kun in this series, by the way. Why is it that most of the good acting in this season involves crying?

I wonder if that will be the case for Behind the Scenes as well. I presume that we’re finally going to meet them properly in the next episode.

SHARK 2 Ep 07 067

Tough to say much about this episode, since it didn’t involve the main characters of this series, and instead focused on a minor character who is simply in here for continuity with the previous season. There was no attempt to capitalize on the conflict, really – no struggle between the two groups. And Kai’s own behavior throughout all of this has lacked continuity with season one anyway, so it was tough to give credit for this plot. The way it ended was unsatisfactory.

On the one hand, what we saw here was somewhat a betrayal of the spirit of the last episode of season one. In terms of integrating SHARK with the Cloud5 storyline, there were dozens of more interesting ways to do it. Still, after six episodes of Cloud5 being totally dysfunctional, it was nice to see SHARK again for a breather, even in this context.

Still waiting for Behind the Scenes. That’s all there’s left to this. Will BtS have any redeemable characters that the audience can care about, or just a bunch of confused souls with really odd motivations?