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Gokusen 2 - Episode 07

Plot: Yankumi bounces into the staffroom one morning to find the other teachers and the superintendent raving about how the school is going to be magically transformed in April. 3-D's building will be replaced by a shiny new one, there will be a wonderful Ladies' room, the school will have actual girls (not just Hayato wearing a lot of lipstick) and Yankumi won't be there as she's only contracted till March. This last fact is an unpleasant reminder to Yankumi (and Baba's upset about it as well), which probably explains why 3-D are uncharacteristically calm when she sits with them to talk about the future.

Bless them, they're trying to cheer her up by suggesting jobs she could do. Little do they know she could take over the family business and never have to do an honest day's work in her life ever again... Oh wait, Hayato does know this, but forgets he's not to say anything and casually blurts it out. Oops. Ryu turns round, shocked, and Hayato promptly flings himself against the wall, hand over his mouth. Ryu gives him a wonderfully withering look, which is probably why he starts mouthing an apology and clutching his chest as if to plead for his life.

It's Hayato, however, who comes to Yankumi's rescue when the class ask her what her family does. They run a soba place, he says. (Perhaps he should've said takoyaki, as she could've taken them there!) When asked where it is, she distracts them with a pun. Junno would be proud.

Tetsu and co. also think Yankumi should take over the family business, when she spends her evening looking through job adverts. Her grandfather thinks she should do whatever she wants, but the other guys aren't much help. Minoru's suggestion that Yankumi should be a hostess doesn't go down too well.

On the way to school the next morning, Yankumi realises she won't get to see her beloved Kujo from April, either. By sheer coincidence, he happens to be catching a bus right in front of her, and his sparkles now extend to the bus. I guess that's one way to improve public transport. Clearly crazy in love, Yankumi runs after the bus, catches up and fights her way through to Kujo for some pointless small talk. Not so pointless is when she gets mad at a bunch of young thuggish types to make them give up their seats for an older lady. She yells so loud the bus actually stops. Exit delinquents, stage left. The lady seems delighted. Most of the passengers don't, as they leave too, probably out of fear. Not Kujo, who smiles in that same sensible, bland way he always does, like nothing whatsoever fazes him. Either working at a school with charming young ladies has him really mellow, or it has him taking stuff to appear mellow.

When Yankumi finally gets to work, Baba has some good news for her - Joyful Company called, and it's okay to go ahead with the student interviews. Um...with a name like that, what kind of place is this, I wonder? Is Yankumi looking to pimp out her students? Isn't that Hyuuga's job? Poor Baba. I almost feel sorry for him here when he tries to copy Yankumi's enthusiastic gestures.

I like how chibi-Yankumi pics are now part of 3-D's graffiti. The lucky students with job interviews are Tsucchi...and three nobodies - Omori, Kojima and Hamaguchi. Apparently Joyful Company makes arcade games? Tsucchi's so thrilled by the news he clutches Hyuuga like a little girl. Only Ryu seems to realise that this doesn't mean you don't get to play games as much as you want.

But the guys have no confidence for the interviews, so Yankumi helps them out by setting up some practice interviews with the class. I can see why they're not confident. Ah, apparently Hamaguchi is the '70s guy. I'll remember that for all of about ten seconds. Ryu, Hayato, Hyuuga and Take are sitting right behind Yankumi as she asks some example questions, and Hayato looks adorable when he smiles at the ridiculous answers. Take and Hyuuga fall all over each other with exaggerated gestures, but I expect nothing less from them. From the encouragement of the rest of 3-D, these guys are about food, fighting and money. Yankumi gets mad, so Ryu and co. have to hold her back and offer the eminently sensible suggestion that she demonstrate proper interview technique, as they've never been interviewed before.

Yankumi's practice interview is...well...Hyuuga looks like a cross between Dracula and Elton John, Take looks like a female secretary of the sort that's secretly having an affair with her boss, Ryu looks barely interested, Tsucchi looks like a cartoon character and Hayato looks pretty damned hot. Somehow he wound up with the best glasses, and don't ask me where they found four pairs of glasses in this classroom. But would any real interviewer (for a legitimate company) have his shirt open so far I can't even see where it closes on the camera? If he was female, we'd know exactly what colour his bra was and be getting a pretty good look at the contents.

The questions start off innocent enough, though Yankumi's lengthy answers bore the class, until Hyuuga asks for her three sizes. Which Ryu thinks she's lying about, incidentally. Take asks if she has a boyfriend. Again, Ryu's role is to sit on the end and make negative comments. Needless to say, the interviews don't end well.

Once again, Shiratori wants Yankumi's help in stalking Tetsu - she wants to go to the takoyaki stand, and despite Yankumi's advice to the contrary, she believes he's her destined man and they might even get married someday. I love how Yankumi's imagination runs away with her here, picturing the dainty pink Shiratori-sensei as Tetsu's bride, a properly decked out lady, also calling her 'ojou'. Baba invites himself along, as usual.

In Cafe de Rovne, Hayato and Ryu are experimenting with new positions - they're sitting opposite each other now - as the gang stick a very scary-looking photo of Tsucchi to his CV. Ryu understands that Tsucchi doesn't want people looking down on him, hence the gangster photo, but Take suggests they use one he and Tsucchi took in a purikura booth recently. I'm not sure if he's going to give the right impression with this one either - Tsucchi's about to kiss Take, I think, and there are lots of cute little hearts all over the picture. I know Tsucchi was abbreviating 'games centre' to 'gay-cen' earlier, but still...

At the takoyaki stand, Shiratori sees nothing but Tetsu's cool side and sorrowful face, but Baba's more interested in the food. She does her best to ask him out, but Tetsu valiantly turns her down for various reasons.

Tsucchi gets himself a better picture. Hayato wants to celebrate the interview but Ryu points out that no one celebrates an interview. I love him, he's so overwhelmingly negative about everything. Tsucchi's confident about it, though, so consensus is that they'll go to karaoke. Hayato, silly boy, starts walking in the wrong direction and Hyuuga has to bring him back. Airhead, much?

But tragedy strikes! Tsucchi drops his CV and photo, and just as he bends down to pick them up, some white-jacketed jerk named Tanabe (from Todoroki) steps on them. The sudden change in music makes the Kurogin guys look back. Hayato immediately leads the way; Ryu checks to see what Hayato's doing and brings up the rear. Tanabe doesn't like the idea of people working once they graduate. How exactly he intends to survive once he graduates himself (if he ever does) is not clear, but he tears up Tsucchi's CV and photos.

Predictably, Hayato gets annoyed and shakes him, but Ryu tells him not to pay attention to these sorts of guys. The Todoroki guys don't take kindly to being looked down on. Where I've paused the player to type, Hayato's got that expression again - you know, the one that says he's not sure whether he wants people to stop touching him or touch him more. He's a confused lad, that one, but in this case it means he's ready to hit someone. Fight ensues. Ryu does his best to stop Hayato, somehow managing to twist his way out of the grasp of the Todoroki guys without ever throwing a punch, unlike everyone else. Two disgusted guys in suits see the fight, complain about high school students nowadays.

This is unfortunate as one of the suits happens to be interviewing the four 3-D guys the next day, and he recognises Tsucchi. Oh dear. The company call the school with the bad news - they couldn't even have the interview because of Tsucchi. 3-D are utterly dejected when Yankumi arrives, and the four interviewees show up after her. She yells at them; Hayato wonders what they did wrong by fighting. Hmm, let me think? The argument takes the usual turn in which the guys have absolutely no confidence in anything except their fighting skills and think it wouldn't have mattered even if they'd gotten the interviews. There's a 'take responsibility for your own actions and for god's sake, THINK!' lecture in there somewhere. The boys are told by the superintendent himself not to bother looking for jobs anymore, as if a similar incident happens, it will only bring disgrace to the school.

Hayato gets fed up with being told he's trash and leaves, quickly followed by his friends; Ryu's is the last to go, very slowly and sadly. This classroom has too many doors. At home, Yankumi's grandfather offers a few words of encouragement to her, this time without the alcohol.

Undeterred, she takes her massive stack of job-related stuff to school the next day, along with a store of useful suggestions that do seem to get the class thinking. Only the (in)Famous Five remain sullen at the back. Even in the staffroom Yankumi's working hard making calls, which Sawatari and the superintendent are not at all happy about. Sawatari in particular, since his job could be on the line. And it's Kizuna time, as even Yankumi's grandfather and the others help out with the job search.

Of course, Yankumi works herself to the point of exhaustion, even going out at night to continue trying, as spotted by Hayato and the others. Even Ryu is moved, which means it must be a pretty powerul scene.

Next morning and Takayama (random tall guy I don't know) has a job offer! Party all round. And Joyful Company is willing to have the interviews with Tsucchi and the others now, which makes them all happy. Yet Hayato still looks serious, and says they'll pay Yankumi back. Ryu translates this for her, explaining that he means they'll graduate. All of them. In order to achieve this, Hayato says they won't fight until they graduate. You just know something is going to go horribly wrong now that he's said this. Ryu adds the promise on the end, and Hayato looks down at the floor with this cute, shy smile. Aww.

Also making me go "Aww..." is an upset Shiratori, who has just had a student fail his university entrance exam and he blamed her. She cheers herself by stalking Tetsu at the takoyaki stand, and starts to talk herself into quitting her job. Tetsu totally ignores her confession until Minoru points it out. Tetsu then gives a great speech about the person he's liked for a long time and how wonderful she is, which kind of turns into an encouragement speech for Shiratori even if it is a rejection at the same time. Tetsu's okay with talking to women other than Yankumi, it seems.

Cafe de Rovne, and Hayato and Ryu have moved again, this time sitting at the counter while the other three look through job adds in the usual spot. Unfortunately Tanabe and his gang show up. They're still bruised. The Kurogin guys don't have a scratch on them, so I guess we know how the fight ended. Ryu's eyebrows move a couple of millimetres in a cross between suspicion and surprise - maybe he's wondering why they haven't left town yet after the beating they took. Hayato's expression is just 'here we go again'.

In another one of those lucky coincidences, Shiratori's moping on the streets when she sees Tsucchi and the others being herded into yet another deserted building by a large group of Todoroki students. With big sticks.

Ryu says they have no intention of fighting. Go, Ryu! Hayato backs him up, but perhaps he shouldn't have given them a cheeky bunny-eared "ja ne", because Tanabe knocks him down. Funnily enough, Ryu's the only one who doesn't immediately run over to help him up. Tsucchi lets out one of those intimidating roars that works quite well for him but would be ludicrous coming from Take, and goes to retaliate, but Hayato orders him not to. That punch has actually done wonders for Hayato's hair, which now fluffs out in a much more attractive fashion, and I think his lipstick got darker. It's a gorgeous shot. If I did screencaps, I'd cap this one. Hyuuga and Take look to Ryu for guidance - what, checking to see their leaders are in agreement?

Tanabe wants a fight, but no one feels like it and Ryu tells him so, earning himself a punch to the face. Take immediately rushes over to him - again, Hayato doesn't move. I think they take it in turns so only one of them is unguarded at any one time? Not that this helps when the Todoroki guys attack. I'm not even sure how Hyuuga wound up on the floor, to tell the truth, but there's some jerk trying to choke Ryu and Hayato's in danger of losing his prettiness.

Shiratori does the smart thing and phones Yankumi for help. As Yankumi races to the rescue we see the guys getting battered and bloody against the tiles. They're not fighting back at all, as promised - not unless some extremely evil glares count. Tanabe is totally mystified as to why none of them are lifting a finger to help themselves, but no one will tell him why. Shiratori testifies to this when Yankumi arrives, and Yankumi remembers the promise. Only Hayato and Ryu's part of it, mind you!

Poor Hayato's so beaten up he's leaning on Take for support, which probably won't get him very far. Luckily, Yankumi picks now to step in, getting the usual warm welcome from her opponents. Down goes the hair, off come the glasses - just as well because she lets Tanabe get in one good punch, which barely affects her at all. She actually knocks him down just by yelling at him, which is pretty impressive and I bet his pals will never let him forget it. They leave, on his word.

The boys probably don't want to hear their teacher tell them they're stupid, since she's usually the one defending them from that charge, but they reiterate their reasons for not fighting back, moving Yankumi to tears and a hair ruffle, which Take alone seems to enjoy. Perhaps he was someone's pet dog in a former life.

Time for the four lucky students to attend the interview, which Tsucchi offers to skip because he's all beaten and bruised. But this time, Yankumi says he can tell the truth about his wounds if asked, that he can be proud of himself. Even Ryu has to smile. Hayato calls for Formation F, which is actually really cute. The 3-D guys link hands to form a tunnel which the interviewees walk through - with some difficulty, in Tsucchi's case, owing to his height! Hayato directs them all but doesn't participate; Take holds hands with Ryu, which probably sends his crush into overdrive. (Well, more like he holds Ryu's wrist.)

Sawatari and the superintendent are appalled that Yankumi would send Tsucchi to an interview with a bruised face, but count it as not worth their while to argue with Yankumi because they'll be rid of both her and her students in March. Or so they think. Mrs. Matsubara, from the board of directors, turns up at the school. Remember the lady from the bus? Same woman. She's happy to see Yankumi again, and hopes that Yankumi will still be there in April so she can take Mrs. Matsubara's grandchild in her class. Since Mrs. Matsubara is rich, the superintendent is forced to cave and keep Yankumi on. Baba and Shiratori are overjoyed. I guess we know who her real friends are.

And speaking of Shiratori, she feels that from watching Yankumi with her students, she's learned how to be a better teacher and is going to try her hardest from now on. She tells her this as the three of them walk home together, but Tsucchi and the other three interviewees intercept them with the news on the interview - basically, they've done all they can for now, and that's enough. The rest of the class approach from the other side - what is this, a pincer movement? - and Hyuuga immediately cuddles up to Tsucchi and proclaims that he was lonely. Tsucchi pets him. They're all so cute together, aren't they? Like a bunch of playful puppies.

Hayato asks how the interview went. Apparently the bunny ears thing can be used for questions as well as goodbyes, and for indicating something is okay. Everyone celebrates! Teachers too!


Obligatory Akame commentary: Not much of a choice today, as the episode seems to have more of the rest of the cast than the students! But we do get to see how Hayato and Ryu share the burden of leadership - where one starts something, the other backs him up, and they try not to get taken down at the same time so there's always one of them standing. Nice teamwork, boys. I'm hoping for more material in the next few eps, as 8 is Hayato's big, angsty episode and 9 is Ryu's.

Best scene: I actually love the end of the episode, with Yankumi, Baba, Shiratori and all of 3-D being all happy and excited together. It's heartwarming, and full of hope. Sometimes I like a nice bit of sap with my violence and impeccably-styled delinquents. Second place goes to watching Ryu avoid the Todoroki guys the first time they fight. Hell, I just like watching Ryu in fights, but especially when he looks like he's not even trying and still comes off best.

Conclusion: Tsucchi, Take and Hyuuga are having a much snugglier affair than Hayato and Ryu, Tetsu has a surprisingly cool side to him, and it really pays to help elderly women on buses.
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Mec

May 2017

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