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Gokusen 2 - Episode 05

Plot: Love is in the air for the guys and girls of Gokusen 2, as Yankumi starts her morning by almost breaking Minoru's hand - not out of malice, but because he's the unfortunate soul who happens to get caught up in the romantic dream she's having about Kujo-sensei. She's sad that she hasn't seen the object of her affection much lately, and more so that Shiratori has. Perky love rivals are the worst, aren't they?

Speaking of perky, Take's in an extremely good mood today, as are all the male teachers, who hint as broadly as they can that they'd love some chocolates from Shiratori for Valentine's Day...all except Baba, who wants from Yankumi instead. He's got no cavities, so he can eat as many as he wants. I'm sure this will make him *far* more appealing to her...

Yankumi escapes Baba to find 3-D engaged in an unexpected activity - a group singsong about how they want chocolates. Hayato is enthusiastically participating, the guy with the guitar actually gets to play it for once, and Ryu is...looking away from it all, no doubt wondering how the hell he wound up being stuck in the same class as these guys. It's not the chocolate they like so much, Tsucchi tells Yankumi, but the GIRLS. They like GIRLS. Say it a couple more times, sweetheart, and maybe I'll be convinced.

More than anything else, the guys of 3-D are determined to get chocolates somehow. Yankumi takes this too lightly for their liking, giving Hayato and Ryu the opportunity to coordinate their Yankumi-baiting regarding her failure of a love life. Valentine's Day is serious business, don't you know? I swear Hyuuga thinks he's presenting a sports show here. It finally sinks in. This year, Yankumi will not give up on her unrequited love - she'll fight too. With the class: Fight-o, OH! Except Ryu, of course, because he thinks they're all idiots. He's probably right.

Since love apparently = chocolate, Yankumi starts reading up on the art of homemade chocolate. (I guess the way to a man's heart is to poison him?) But Sawatari approaches for an argument on how it is unnecessary to teach the 3-D guys about love (perhaps he was worried she was giving them practical lessons) and she hides her magazine in the photocopier. A bit daft, if you ask me, but luckily nothing happens.

Kujo encounters Yankumi by the takoyaki stand, prompting some amusing displays of jealousy from Tetsu as she hand-feeds the love of her life. Put that knife down, Tetsu! Yankumi learns that Kujo likes sweet things, so all her research won't go to waste after all...and we learn that Yankumi has never given chocolates to Minoru or Tetsu. Poor Tetsu. If he still doesn't get any chocolates from her this year, he'll give up on her.

Gokusen is known for having some of the worst examples of hiding known to mankind. I'm thinking specifically about those boxes in season 3, but this is pretty appalling too, where we've got Hayato, Tsucchi, Hyuuga and Ryu all hiding in one row behind the same tree. Ryu's doing his best to look like he's not interested at all, but is curious at the same time. Of course, Yankumi spots them. Much shushing is done.

So what are they up to? They're watching Take stalk...sorry, *court* a girl from Momo High. It's so cute. There's the girl, striding off all oblivious, and Take in his little hairband skipping along and doing his best to look all adorable and appealing. Meanwhile you've got the guys behind the tree, looking like a bunch of worried parents spying on their kid's first date. Take is in love. Ryu says it, therefore it must be true.

The stalking continues to the girl's place of employment, where she dresses up in short shorts and a cowboy hat (and a few other things) and works as a waitress. Take's so far gone he doesn't even notice he's surrounded by his friends (and homeroom teacher) until they start commenting on how pretty the girl is. Take hasn't confessed, but he knows the girl's name (Mizushima Maki), which is a good start. Too bad he cheated to find it out - it's on her name tag. Ten points for observational skills, Take.

He also knows she's no spoiled princess, despite her appearance and choice of high school. The guys admire her strong will when she tells off a customer for tipping his ash in a coffee cup. Apparently she saved a girl from a pervert on a bus, which is what made Take fall for her, and she's good with kids as well. (Hmm. Take likes strong-willed, protective people. Should he not be dating at least half his friends?)

In a completely unrelated scene, Shiratori has been out clothes shopping so she doesn't lose to Yankumi (does she really think she's in danger from a wardrobe that consists mostly of tracksuits?), but gets hassled by a couple of jerks on the street. Luckily for her, Tetsu is passing by. These guys know a real gangster when they see one, even if he is a total softy, and they make tracks, leaving Shiratori with a crush.

Back at the restaurant, Yankumi and co. must've scared all the other customers away with their intensity. Perhaps it's Take's creepy staring, which I'm assuming he learned from Hayato. He doesn't have the guts to talk to Maki himself, so he gets Tsucchi to introduce him. (Yankumi tries to introduce herself at the same time, but Ryu wisely tells her to stay out of it. Way to embarrass the guy.) Good thing Tsucchi has no problem talking to girls. He learns that Maki likes strong guys and hates weak guys. You can actually see Take's heart break.

That night, Yankumi attempts to make her own chocolate. I can't even identify all the ingredients she's using but I'm not sure the resulting concoction would be edible. Her grandfather and his men share my opinion, but luckily Kuma turns up to take the ramen bowls back and these big, tough gangsters happily throw him to the wolves..uh, volunteer him to eat the chocolate. He can't, and none of them fare any better with the curry chocolate or the other interesting looking creations. I've never seen such a bunch of wimps in the face of chocolate before. The guy who said he had to lose weight, I can understand his excuse, but the guy who said he had to continue his dream?

Take's crush on Maki proves useful to Yankumi the next morning, when she uses it as an excuse to talk to Kujo. Since she winds up talking mostly to herself, partially in English, I think he probably gets the impression she's a bit of a nutcase.

Frankly, I think Shiratori's the one who's a bit nuts. The amount of pink on her desk and person is overwhelming. She's letting Yankumi have Kujo because she's met her destined guy - Tetsu. Now, if only she had a clue what his name is...

The (in)Famous Five have been whittled down to The Three Musketeers, a.k.a. Tsucchi, Take and Hyuuga, who are hanging out at Maki's workplace again. Take fails at basic human communication, unlike the university guy at the other end of the counter who has no problems flirting with Maki-the-high-school-girl, or even asking her out for a meal.

Speaking of dates, guess who's gone off by themselves again? This time, Hayato and Ryu are taking it easy in...I can't quite make out the sign. Cafe de Rovne? The place is basically deserted - I can spot exactly one member of staff behind the counter, and he's busy reading. Clearly, the level of tension in the room was such that no other customers dared enter, for fear of interrupting something they couldn't show on television. Because of the angles and the lighting, it actually looks like they're sitting in the corner of a club somewhere, gossiping about how useless Take is at talking to girls. Is Hayato actually drinking milk?

This part amuses me terribly. Hayato says if he were in Take's place, he'd finish it in one shot (and I don't think he's talking about his glass of milk). Ryu's got this "yeah, right" look on his face, which makes me think Hayato's not exactly the greatest in the world when it comes to love confessions. Knowing him, it would be one word. Hayato's not about to take that lying down (though I wish he would) and asks Ryu how many chocolates he got last year. Ryu gets all alpha male, shoves his hands in his pockets, spreads his legs even wider and leans back in his chair and casually says he's not sure, maybe about twenty. Shame Hayato's not actually looking at him, because this totally looks like an invitation to get down on his knees between Ryu's legs and...uh, sorry, it's not that kind of show.

Okay, two can play at the game. They're all about the competition, these guys. Hayato adopts the same pose and ups the count to twenty-two. They keep working their way up, but I'm losing track of the numbers because Hayato's legs are shaking like crazy and I'm starting to wonder just how deep his pockets are.

Ryu's look of horror when Yankumi materialises at the counter with a parfait is absolutely brilliant. The great Valentine's Day battle discussion resumes, with Yankumi rambling on as usual, not noticing when Hayato and Ryu wind up standing right behind her. Ryu's schoolbag looks incredibly girly. Maybe it's one of Kame's? Cheeky boys, they leave her to pay for their drinks.

Later that night, in the park, Tsucchi and Hyuuga are taking a romantic stroll, arm in arm and pretending to blow kisses at each other. Not that surprising, in this series, but actually, they're pretending to be university guy and Maki. They also pretend to be a pair of jerks hassling the happy couple as they take their stroll, which is where Take shows up, beats them both to a pulp with a couple of badly-dubbed HK action flick moves, and saves the girl of his dreams. Maki, or rather, Hyuuga, is overwhelmed by Take's macho prowess and declares her undying love for him.

It's Tsucchi's plan, which probably explains a lot. He and Hyuuga, wearing gauze masks and sunglasses (at night!), ambush Maki and university guy on their way to a restaurant. Too bad for them, university guy is actually Okudera from Sokei University's boxing team, and he doesn't need any help from Take, who has just sprung round the corner to assist. Maki looks a little sad when Take, Hyuuga and Tsucchi, their faces all fully revealed, take off in fear. Guess she won't be serving them any more drinks.

The next morning, Kurogin students look on in fear as Maki marches through the school and into 3-D's classroom. OMG! A GIRL! A REAL LIVE GIRL! Not just Hayato sitting pretty, one leg daintily crossed over the other, as he gossips with Ryu. She storms in, slaps Take and yells at him, then accuses him of being weak when the others try to explain that Take likes her. She hates weaklings like him, end of story. Ryu, Hayato and Yankumi demand to be caught up on events. What, the delinquent grapevine only works between other schools? Randomly, Mizushima Hiro still has incredibly bad hair here.

Cue lecture on love from Yankumi. She does have a point, though - Take didn't do anything for himself. He got Tsucchi to do all the work! Take talks back, which is a mistake as he then gets punched by Yankumi. She hits a lot harder than Maki, so Take winds up on the floor. He runs out, of course.

Yankumi apologises to Kujo for the trouble Take caused; he asks her to please ensure Take gives up on Maki completely so that they don't cause further problems. He's nice about it, but it's none of his business.

Everyone's looking for Take, now. Yankumi, Tsucchi & Hyuuga, and of course, Ryu & Hayato. It's obvious: whenever someone goes off by themselves in this series, they get into trouble. Right in front of Yankumi's eyes, Take almost gets in a fight with a gang of older men, but bows down to them instead. He knows he's weak and he hates himself for it, and he really doesn't want witnesses.

Yankumi's grandfather takes a stab at advice again, but he's actually better at providing the alcohol that accompanies it. I think he gets his store of wisdom from j-dramas.

The next day, Take's out and about when he overhears Okudera talking to his friends about his three - four, if you include Maki - girlfriends. He's just playing around with Maki. No morals whatsoever, of course. Take finds that hiding behind a tree is much more successful when there's only one of you, but ruins it by challenging Okudera over Maki's heart. I'm starting to see why Take pushes his hair up with a band - it makes him marginally taller, though Okudera still has to lean down to look Take in the eyes when he issues the challenge for a match.

Hayato and co. catch Yankumi peering through the windows of Maki's workplace. They're all still looking for Take. Yankumi's all excited about how worried they are for their friend (aren't they always?) but Ryu tells her to shut up and that they should look inside. God, he's a bossy student. And she listens, as well!

Take's not inside, but Okudera's friends are, taking bets on how long it'll take him to wipe the floor with Take. Yankumi-tachi get the answers they need and race off to the match, accidentally enlightening Kujo and Maki en route. You know where the fight is taking place, don't you? Yep, there, and Take's doing terribly. It's a wonder he hasn't fallen in the water yet.

Ryu, being something of a violent mother hen type, immediately dashes forward to help Take; Hayato takes one look at him and follows but Yankumi calls them both back because it's Take's fight, and they'll ruin things if they step in. I mean, I'm sure she won't mind if they stop him actually getting killed, but still...

Kizuna time! Maki doesn't understand why Take's fighting when she told him to stay out of her life, so Ryu and the others explain. They emphasise that there's no way Take could win a fight against Okudera, but he's fighting anyway, which is the sort of thing that gets through to Maki's heart. Kujo looks a little sickened. I thought he liked watching this sort of thing? Just as Take's about to get completely defeated, Yankumi steps in, saves the day, catches Take etc. The other guys crowd round to look after him, while Yankumi does the whole "I'm his homeroom teacher" bit and explains exactly why Take is a strong guy - and it's got nothing to do with his fighting skills.

Maki offers Take her handkerchief for his injuries. Aww. Let the teasing commence. Kujo gets a Yankumi lecture as well because it's none of his damned business who falls in love with his students. Fortunately, he sees the light and wants to support them too. And Take could do with some support - he keeps falling down!

All's well that ends well, unless you're on the receiving end of some of Yankumi's Valentine's Day chocolates. Tetsu finally gets some, which makes his year, and the other guys vow not to tell him that they also received chocolates. Shiratori forgot courtesy chocolates for the male teachers, which disappoints them all, except Baba, who's disappointed because Yankumi has none for him. Sawatari gets some surprise chocolate from the other female teacher, whose name I can't remember, but he thinks it was some girl in a nightclub.

Yankumi's chocolates also go to her class, though Ryu does have to ask what they are. I can't blame him. They taste better than they look, fortunately, and even Ryu gives the seal of approval.

Take receives chocolates from Maki, though just as a thank you. Yankumi and Kujo watch from behind a tree. This series needs thicker trees. Kujo vows to follow Yankumi's example as a teacher, which might not be the smartest idea in the world if he wants to keep his job, and receives some chocolates from her...as witnessed by all of 3-D and Maki. They, at least, are not all trying to hide behind the same tree. Even Ryu looks happy. Everyone runs away as Yankumi chases them. Aww. Student and teacher frolics on Valentine's Day.

Obligatory Akame commentary: Again, it might be Take's episode but Hayato and Ryu steal the limelight with their competitively charged friendship. Their bragging about the chocolates completely slays me; just watching their posturing is entertaining enough. Could they be any more obvious? I strongly suspect neither of them got any chocolate at all last year, unless Ryu's mother gave him some and I can't quite see that happening, so I guess they're arguing over who gets to top tonight. Posture alone tells me it's Ryu, and I'm not sure Hayato can wait till tonight. The old guy behind the counter should lock up early and go home. (Please excuse me while I go wash my mind out with soap.)

Best scene: First prize goes to the chocolate contest, otherwise known as the Ryu/Hayato date scene above, but right behind it is the little pretense in the park, with Tsucchi, Hyuuga and Take play-acting the ambush and rescue. I love how relaxed and confident Take is around them, and how happily dorky all three of them are together. He clearly feels inferior to Hayato and Ryu, which is understandable, but there's a lot less pressure with the other two and it really does show when the three of them are together.

Conclusion: Take's taste in girls is such that he might as well be dating Tsucchi, Yankumi gets far too involved in the love lives of her students, Ryu and Hayato like to wind each other up in public places and chocolate is never just chocolate.
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Mec

May 2017

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