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Gokusen 2 - Episode 04

Plot: After spending three episodes on Hayato and Ryu's relationship, the series decides to give us some light relief and let Tsucchi take a turn at the wheel. But first! Yankumi bounces into the staffroom to the somewhat embarrassing sight of all the male teachers raving about their favourite female school uniforms. She thinks they're all a bunch of perverts, which is probably true, but they're actually trying to choose a uniform for the girls who will be starting at Kurogin in April, when the school will become co-ed.

To encourage girls to come to this school with a bunch of hot bad boys (who will all have graduated by then), tomorrow is a day for girls to visit the campus and hopefully be lured into applying. The school's future depends on this, so says the superintendent...and of course, Sawatari's future in particular.

As demonstrated last week by Kudo and co., the delinquent grapevine is extremely efficient. It might be better than the Internet. Hayato and the rest of 3-D (bar the obvious exception) are thrilled to hear that girls will be coming to the school. In fact, Hayato asks if it's true with his eyes closed and an almost religious tone of voice. GIRLS ARE SACRED, MYTHICAL BEINGS. At least in this show. Mostly, they have to make do with guys in make-up.

Speaking of really pretty guys, Ryu points out the obvious - the girls start in April, but the guys graduate in March, and never the twain shall meet. Hayato is completely crushed; Hyuuga looks like he's about to have a heart attack. (What, he doesn't meet enough girls when he moonlights as a host?) But it won't just be the juniors who get to have fun. Yankumi heals 3-D's wounded hearts by pointing out that the girls will be their kouhai, and oh, what wonderful senpai they can be! This is enough to get them all fantasizing - apparently, Hayato's dream self wears glasses (I approve!). Not Ryu, who seems a bit disgusted by their fantasy. I can see why - I think Hyuuga's drooling.

Tsucchi, class cheerleader, gets them all fired up about making this Day on Campus amazing and getting as many girls as possible. Hayato pats him on the back afterwards, as if to say, "Nice speech. I could've made it better, of course, but you did a pretty good job." Hyuuga and Take are all ready to start dancing together. I love how touchy-feely these delinquents are even when they're not beating the hell out of each other.

But oh, here comes Sawatari (or Saruwatari, as Hayato calls him here) to spoil their fun. The school can't afford any delinquents causing trouble, so 3-D are to stay in their classroom all day. Needless to say, he gets a bad reaction. Hayato yells, Hyuuga looks ready to leap, and Take...points. Vehemently. Ryu remains seated. Makes no difference to him one way or another because girls? Not interested. He's got Hayato. They can cover each other's backs in a fight and shop for makeup together. It's a match made in heaven.

It's not a real Kurogin trauma unless Yankumi shares it with her family. I'm not entirely certain her grandfather's talking about his episode's trauma, mind you, as he seems to be recycling things from previous weeks. Tetsu earns himself points with the love of his life by saying it should be enough for her students that she's there (as a female), but Minoru almost loses his head (or something equally important) by daring to mention that he'd prefer younger women. Too bad Yankumi never got to unsheathe the sword.

Next morning, and Shiratori-sensei's dressed like a teenage girl in an effort not to lose to the young girls who will be coming to visit. Kujo-sensei turns up in a cloud of sparkles, so Yankumi and Shiratori attempt to outdo each other in cutely asking him for advice on teaching girls. Too bad he's in his first year of doing so, but Baba-sensei did it for five years and has tons of useful advice to share! Neither woman is keen to take him up on the offer.

Here come the girls! 3-D are, as ordered, sticking to their own building (which now has more tape than a crime scene) but are up on the roof. Some have binoculars. Some have magnifying glasses. Ryu is standing at the back, looking bored. He does it so well. The sight of all those girls in uniforms is too much for Hayato to bear. With a rousing cry of "Younger girls are okay too!", they vow to do their best to get the attention of the visiting junior high girls.

While the other teachers get to play tour guide, Yankumi's stuck watching over her class. Or she would be, if they hadn't left the classroom empty. As she stands there confused, the door slides shut (what about the other one?) and we hear the sound of chains. Hayato and Ryu appear in the window to ask her not to think badly of them. I have no idea what Ryu's doing but I guess if it involves rebellion, he's in, even if it's about girls. Or maybe he just wants to keep an eye on Hayato.

We see the "good" students hard at work in their respective classes, which are not going as well as they should. Practical English is now all about demands for money rather than a polite discussion about Mt. Fuji, for example. 3-D members also manage to sneak into a science lesson to make use of the ol' Bunsen burner and tripod combination to cook nabe.

Meanwhile, even chains and stacked up furniture can't hold Yankumi for long. Did anyone really think they would? She makes it back into the main school building just in time to see the unveiling of the school uniform they finally settled on. Too bad her students got there first. The lovely lady is now accompanied by the typical 3-D delinquent, with hair like Ryu from Shaman King. Yankumi promptly grabs Ryu with one hand and Hayato with the other and yells at them, which, Sawatari points out, is a bad idea with junior high girls watching.

The girls look scared but their teacher, a slimy-looking man named Ishikawa, recognises Tsucchi, having been his homeroom teacher back in junior high. Sawatari and Ishikawa bitch about Tsucchi and delinquents in general; Ishikawa then proceeds to belittle Yankumi's abilities. I confess: while she's saying she's been told she has no female charms, I'm paying more attention to Hayato and Ryu standing behind her. Hayato forgot to put on his lipstick today. Perhaps he was hoping to convince the girls he wasn't actually one of their number.

Ishikawa does a great job of insulting practically everyone in the room as he then goes on to say Kurogin is their last resort choice, and one of his students, a girl named Miyazaki, is very, very bright and her first choice is Shiragiku Girls' High. Based on Miyazaki's expression, I'm not sure "choice" is the word I'd use. And my god, the girl next to her has worse eyes than Jin when he's been out clubbing for three nights straight. What are they teaching them in junior high these days? Exit girls. The irrepressible Take manages a cheeky wave as they go. Sawatari's life, as he sees it, is officially over.

Being far too soft and cuddly to extort money from people, break kneecaps and stuff, Tetsu and Minoru have a legit (I assume!) sideline: a takoyaki stand. What idiot let Minoru have a job where he gets to make food - and then snack on it? Yankumi goes there to complain about Ishikawa. Tetsu, ever the gentleman, offers to take care of the problem for her. Even Minoru wonders if they should teach him a lesson. But Yankumi insists there's no need. Hell, if she wants the guy dead, she'll do it herself, and with way more style.

Surprisingly, Yankumi's not the only customer. She has to hide when the (in)Famous Five arrive for a bite to eat. They don't have money - Tetsu says it's on the house. Ryu's suspicious of this, but everyone else is thrilled. From beneath the stand, Yankumi quietly corrects their Japanese. Ryu doesn't eat anything, so I guess the director had noticed by this point that Kame was eating non-stop in the previous episodes and thought it wouldn't do to lose that waif look. They like the takoyaki and Tsucchi, bless him, thanks Tetsu and Minoru properly as he leaves. Yankumi falls for their cuteness all over again.

Later that evening, Tsucchi is reading manga in a bookstore. To be precise, he's reading the Gokusen manga. In-joke! Being taller than almost every bookshelf in the place, he has no trouble spotting the junior high girl from earlier, Miyazaki. He obviously knows what the face of a potential shoplifter looks like because by the time she gets round to slipping a book in her bag, he's across the store and grabbing her arm to stop her. Why anyone would want to steal a book that contains quadratic equations is beyond me but to each, their own.

I reckon Tsucchi would make a pretty decent big brother, even if he would take up all the room on the couch. He takes Miyazaki outside to a pretty fountain to talk about it. She claims she didn't really know what she was doing, and she can't go home yet because she's skipping cram school. Some good girl. Tsucchi is touched by the plight of a girl who doesn't seem to have time to have any fun and wouldn't know how to begin if she did, and he can't let her wander around alone until she can go home. He'll keep her company. Aww.

Meanwhile, Hayato and Ryu are on a date in the arcade. Hayato's bent over the pool table, concentrating hard, while Ryu watches. They recognise Miyazaki when she and Tsucchi walk past on their way to play games. Tsucchi's really good! (He should be, after all the time he spends in there.) He wins her a plushie, which earns him the first smile he's ever seen from her.

Intrigued, Hayato and Ryu have come to spy, though neither can figure out what Tsucchi's up to. Ishikawa, when he comes roaring through the door to yell at Miyazaki, is equally puzzled by what the girl is up to by skipping cram school but when Tsucchi comes to her defense, he has no trouble pinning the whole thing on him. Apparently, hanging out with Tsucchi can ruin your life. Somebody really ought to tell Take.

Unfortunately Tsucchi gets so het up that he physically throws Ishikawa down, tearing him away from Miyazaki. These guys excel in stupidly noble acts: Tsucchi takes all the blame, saying he forced Miyazaki to keep him company. She's not strong enough to contradict him, so it's back to the school they go. What, is Sawatari there all night? Miyazaki winds up miserable, Tsucchi is proudly unrepentant, Sawatari's a snivelling fool and Yankumi can't believe her ears. I want to wipe that smirk off Ishikawa's face, preferably with acid. As usual, Tsucchi is fine with the possibility of being expelled.

Yankumi knows Tsucchi's not that kind of guy. Her grandfather gives her advice on how to be a detective - sorry, on how to connect with her students. I'm starting to lose a little of my respect for the old man.

Next morning at school, 3-D are upset to learn that Tsucchi is suspended until the superintendent returns to decide on a punishment. Yankumi's tracksuit today is pink and looks like a Junior outfit. There's the possibility of expulsion, but that's not important right now because Hayato and Ryu are giving each other those looks again, though this time they don't mean "your place or mine?" but "let's tell Yankumi what we saw". Namely, that they saw Miyazaki having a good time and no coercion was involved.

Guess where Tsucchi's sitting to brood. Yankumi finds him but all she gets is that he wanted to get back at Ishikawa for junior high. Yankumi correctly guesses that Tsucchi is covering for a girl who has more hope in life than he will ever have. She's appalled to think Tsucchi thinks he has no real future and can afford to sacrifice himself for someone else under such circumstances. These guys have such incredibly low self-esteem, for all that they can be so arrogant.

Never fear, Yankumi's on the case! She gets in an argument with Ishikawa in front of Miyazaki's house over the nature of Tsucchi's character, begging her to tell the truth herself and prevent Tsucchi from being expelled. Ishikawa bundles Miyazaki back in the house so fast, you'd think Yankumi had arrived with a gang of thugs to kidnap the girl.

Tsucchi's taken his brooding indoors, back to the arcade, where Hayato and the gang find him. Ryu immediately leans up against a machine so he can do that 'casually looking back' thing he's so fond of. It seems Tsucchi still has a lot to learn about how different Yankumi is from other teachers. (What, has he just not been paying attention for these last three episodes?)

Life continues without Tsucchi the next day, while he spends his time and money in the arcade. I wonder what his parents think? 3-D aren't even pretending to study maths. Yankumi's their homeroom teacher - you'd think they could at least take their books out!

That night, it's Kizuna time! Hayato and the others spot Yankumi trying to ambush Miyazaki again to help Tsucchi. Miyazaki runs. She runs like Miroku in that wedding episode of Yuukan Club. Undeterred, Yankumi waits outside her house. This is bordering on stalker behaviour, Miss Yamaguchi.

The next morning Tsucchi returns to school for his punishment, but gets intercepted by Ryu and the others so they can show him Yankumi still waiting outside Miyazaki's house. While they all agree she's annoying, they smile about it. Once again, Yankumi has proven that she will actually fight for her students, unlike every other teacher they've ever met. Surely the law of averages should prevent this?

While the hearing takes place, 3-D stare mournfully at Tsucchi's empty desk. The teachers debate amongst themselves what Tsucchi's punishment should be. Tsucchi offers nothing in his own defense until the superintendent asks for his story, at which point he admits he doesn't want to quit school now. The superintendent decides on expulsion. Yankumi manages to turn her defense of Tsucchi into some mild criticism of everyone else's failures, a delaying tactic which lasts long enough for the rest of 3-D to burst through the door with Miyazaki. They managed to persuade her to come speak the truth.

Of course, Ishikawa doesn't expect the truth to involve attempted shoplifting and an admission that Miyazaki doesn't want to study anymore and hates exams. He doesn't know his student at all, but Yankumi knows her students very well, highlighting both Tsucchi's good and bad points and her own love for her students.

Shiratori, who isn't half as dumb as she makes out, and Baba, who will do absolutely anything to get in Yankumi's good books, point out that Tsucchi's punishment should be cancelled and in fact, he should be praised for stopping Miyazaki from shoplifting. The superintendent manages to do this with a smile. He should be a politician.

Group hug! The '70s guy gets in first but Hyuuga and Take aren't far behind. Take practically has to climb up Tsucchi. In the midst of all this, Ishikawa storms off, which is just as well. He wouldn't want to hear Miyazaki say she's thinking of taking the Kurogin entrance exams so she can have such fun teachers and senpai. She finally seems to have developed a personality. Aww, Hayato and Ryu smile really cutely at her. They can always adopt one of their own, a few years down the line.

Of course, Hyuuga just has to check Tsucchi didn't fall in love. Tsucchi says this is ridiculous because he prefers older women, something that goes down well with the rest of the class. Yankumi wonders if she's in with a chance. Hayato and Ryu both look impossibly pretty here. Hayato, in particular, looks like he's just stepped out of a hair salon, and his lipstick is back in full force. To celebrate the escape from another sticky situation, the class throw Tsucchi in the air. These guys are strong.

Obligatory Akame commentary: Just because Hayato and Ryu are being nice enough to let someone else take centre stage for a change, doesn't mean they don't get to shine. Because they're always together, they do so more than anyone else. They're like Starsky & Hutch, Crockett & Tubbs, Butch & Sundance...well, you get the picture. Can't have one without the other. And of course, their relationship has a psychic dynamic too, where they communicate without words (but with some scorching looks) to agree to tell Yankumi what they saw in the arcade. And hey, date!

Best scene: Ryu/Hayato arcade date, of course. ^_^ Don't think it escaped my notice that Hyuuga and Take were not there. I love how Ryu was just sort of perched on the edge of the pool table, which I would hate if it was my turn to shoot but Hayato doesn't seem to mind. Second place goes to 3-D's collective sparkly fantasy date with their female kouhai, with the wonder that is Hayato in glasses. Hyuuga looks a lot like Leader (Joshima Shigeru) from TOKIO here, Take looks like a gameshow host, and Tsucchi looks like a candidate for the priesthood. I have to say if I was one of these girls, I'd only consider Hayato. The rest of them look far too dodgy!

Conclusion: Yankumi's got secret stalker tendencies, Hayato and Ryu can't even go on a date without a fight breaking out (even if it's someone else's), Hyuuga's fashion sense is getting worse by the episode and Tsucchi's a candidate for World's Greatest Big Brother.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-22 05:37 pm (UTC)
ext_75891: (Default)
From: [identity profile] lip-stick-love.livejournal.com
Lovely and very amusing review as always darlin'!

*MWAH*

xxx

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-23 09:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kattsu.livejournal.com
I'm really enjoying your Gokusen reviews and they always leave me wanting to watch the episode again, even though this particular episode isn't one I like all that much! I remember the first time I watched Gokusen I found this episode a big disappointment after having been spoiled by all the Akame action in the first three. But there are just enough pretty Hayato/Ryu moments to keep me watching - the arcade date is by far my favourite scene too. ^_^

apparently, Hayato's dream self wears glasses (I approve!) XD, me too, he looks extra pretty. ^_^

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-23 11:45 am (UTC)
ext_167: (GKS2 HayaRyu)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/solo____/
They're so pretty at the arcade. ^_^

Do I detect signs of Tsucchi/Take shipping?

Thank you for this, as always it was fun to read even though I never find that much to say about this ep. I do like Tsucchi, and I even think it's kind of a cute episode, but there's nothing I just need to gush on and on about. Well, and the few things there are, you have the gushing covered. Psychic dynamic, yay! :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-23 01:12 pm (UTC)
ext_167: (GKS2 HayaRyu)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/solo____/
Yes, I like Tsucchi, too.. and also, I kind of expected from the first season that there'd be episodes focusing on the 'other three/four', so I didn't actually mind this one. I found the Hyuuga ep incredibly stupid and boring, though, with the result that I'm not very fond of him.

Take is quite untypical. I like that. Though he had me going WTF for a lot of 'his' episode, too.

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