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Gokusen 2 - Episode 08

Plot: Yankumi's morning isn't getting off to a great start. She's walking with Baba, for one thing, and Shiratori has Kujo back in her sights, having given up on Tetsu. Both women are horrified when Kujo says he was at a wedding ceremony yesterday - though of course Baba is thrilled to have his rival out of the picture - but luckily for them, it was his student's wedding, and apparently she was a lovely bride.

Inside every Head Teacher lurks a frustrated director, it seems. In the staff room, the staff are practising for a presentation to be given at the wedding ceremony of a Kurogin graduate next week. Amusingly, some of the lines come straight out of Yankumi's "inspirational" speeches. They're doing a passionate school play, which Yankumi thinks is great. She'd like to attend a student's wedding ceremony too, though she doesn't think it likely she'd get to attend Kuma's. Hmm...guess which one of Yankumi's former students actually does get married later in the series?

Out front of the school, trouble pulls up with a truck and sunglasses.

Inside 3-D's classroom, wedding fever has taken hold as the guys are flipping through all sorts of materials. Yankumi suspects first Take of getting married, then Tsucchi (perhaps to each other?), then continues to work her way round the class (I was right! There really is a guy named Nakanishi!). She loves the idea of going to a wedding ceremony, but leave it to Ryu to be the voice of common sense - they're just looking at pamphlets for a company that Tamura's going to interview at. Ryu's smirk is so pretty.

Just then, trouble comes walking through the door, minus the truck but still wearing his sunglasses. He's looking for his good-for-nothing idiot son; students can't get out of his way fast enough. Everybody wonders whose dad he is, but Ryu suddenly gasps in recognition. The idiot son not being there, the man wonders if he's made a mistake. Yankumi and the class go to great lengths to show that they're decent kids, though how making lots of peace signs signifies this, I do not know.

But they are decent kids, even if one of them, the man's son, happens to be late for class. Hayato slouches in through the opposite door, hair a mess and eyes mostly closed. From the looks of things, Ryu kept him busy all night and then callously left him to oversleep. Hayato wakes up in a hurry when he spots his dad. Uh oh. The two Yabuki males meet in the middle of the classroom and promptly start yelling at each other while everyone else cowers. Tsucchi is oddly conservatively-dressed today. Maybe he was auditioning for another show at the same time.

I love the way that everyone looks at Ryu for confirmation that the strange man is, in fact, Hayato's father. Ryu's got this odd little 'what the hell is going on?' smile, and looks like he's not sure whether to run for cover or hit both of them over the head.

When the credits are over, Hayato and his father are sitting opposite each other in the staff room, all the teachers looking on, so Mr. Yabuki can yell at his son for not taking college entrance exams. Depending on which one of them you believe, either Hayato didn't tell his dad about his future plans or he did but the old man didn't listen. The discussion doesn't go well, with a fight threatening to break out at any minute.

It's actually quite sad. Mr. Yabuki's idea is that Hayato will have a hard time if he doesn't go to college and works instead, and Hayato insists he's not smart enough to go to college. Aww. He's probably right, though. The two of them flip the table over and go at it, throwing each other round the room until Yankumi yells at them. I guess this is how they communicate.

Later that day, Hayato unwinds at Cafe de Rovne, bitching about his dad to an amused Take, a baseball-obsessed Hyuuga and a bored-looking Tsucchi (the way I've got the player stopped right now, he appears to be doing his nails). Ryu's sitting at the counter, sipping his drink and ignoring Hayato entirely. The others think Hayato really takes after his dad, but Hayato insists he's more like his late mother. He looks to Ryu for confirmation on this. Afraid I can't screencap, but Ryu remembers she was a beauty, which leaves Hayato grinning at him (well, he did say he took after his mother), Take and Hyuuga amused, and Tsucchi looking terribly puzzled as if to say "Ryu notices women?". Hyuuga's practising shaking hands in the background. Why?

Ryu's such a tease, though, since he then says Hayato takes after his father, totally. He looks so prettily evil as he says this.

Elsewhere, Yankumi takes herself out for a beer, coincidentally at the same place Mr. Yabuki has gone for one. He is, to put it mildly, utterly soused. This leads to him telling stories of his own days as a troublemaker, how he dropped out of high school, had trouble finding work, caused problems for his wife etc. Yankumi wisely takes both sides of the argument, pointing out that right now Hayato's struggling with what he wants to do, and that college doesn't necessarily mean he'd have a good life. Mr. Yabuki thinks she's brilliant, as teachers don't normally "get" Hayato, even though he's a good boy to his younger brother and his friends. The conversation doesn't end too well - he falls asleep while bowing!

At the Yabuki home, Daddy bids youngest son - Taku - goodbye and says he'll be back next Thursday. Hayato slinks round the corner, having overdone the make-up a little, and doesn't say a word. Possibly worried his dad will snap his lip gloss. Mr. Yabuki gives him a message via Taku that they need to talk. Oh dear, this can't be good.

When I first saw this series I'd never seen Ishiguro Hideo (Taku) in anything, but I think I've now seen half the dramas he's appeared in so I'm curious to look back at him here. I think they wasted an opportunity in Gokusen 3 by not bring him back as Taku, making him Honjo "I need anger management classes" Kengo instead, but c'est la vie. He looks pretty good in uniform, though.

Okay, weird scene. The (in)Famous Five are playing catchball around the fountain while yelling out about how their dads come home drunk all the time, using alcohol as a way to relieve stress. It sounds like some kind of group therapy session. Needless to say, Ryu's not talking. The game comes to an abrupt end when Hayato aims wild and accidentally knocks Kuma off his bike. Is Kuma the unluckiest guy in the world or what? He's annoyed until he realises he's been hit by Yankumi's students, which leads to a surprise for Yankumi...

In the staffroom, the other teachers are practising for the play while Yankumi regrets having ordered lunch from Kumai Ramen (Kuma's restaurant) as Kujo has invited her and Shiratori to lunch. When her order arrives, it's not Kuma making the delivery but Hayato, fringe pinned back with a very girly clip. He's helping out, but of course he shouldn't be, as he's skipping school, so when Sawatari yells over to ask if there's a problem, Yankumi promptly shoves Hayato down behind the desk, out of sight. Wait, isn't that like all those movies when they're having an illicit affair and when someone walks in the office...

When they get to talk in private, it seems that Kuma's mother went to the hot springs today and so Kuma could do with a little help. Since Hayato did knock him off his bike when he had a load of groceries... Yankumi thinks this is so great she forgets that Hayato is actually skipping school. There goes his attendance record again.

At the restaurant, Hayato's starting to get the hang of it but can't wash dishes for toffee, his excuse being that there are only men at his home so they're not very particular about how carefully they do the dishes! Kuma's little brother and sister interrupt the lecture as they require food, and aww, Hayato has the cutest expression on his face as he watches them. I think he wants a couple of his own. I can't screencap but if you look at about 15:05 on the SARS fansub you'll see the expression I mean, and damned if he doesn't look girly enough here that he could actually give birth to them himself. (I'm sure Ryu would be happy enough to father them.) Hayato and Kuma bond over having cute but annoying younger siblings.

Bless Hayato, he's trying a bit too hard here. When a female customer leaves, he follows her out, gives her a big thumbs up, and yells "Thank you, madam!" in English. Give him credit for practising, though! The "thank" sounds very American already; I guess Jin didn't have to work too hard when he picked up the accent later in life.

While he's outside, Ryu and the others casually stroll up and...um...meow at him. Take and Hyuuga clearly think they're feline superheroes of some kind, it's incredibly cute. Even Ryu does the hand gesture, though he doesn't meow, and Hayato returns it. They both look sulky doing it, though, like they want to make out they're both far too manly to be doing it - not something you're likely to believe while Hayato's still got his hair pinned up and Ryu's been hitting the eyeliner again.

Of course wherever her students are, Yankumi's not far behind, and now she's spying outside Kuma's window to see how they're getting on. The rest of the gang have joined Hayato in lending a hand, as the restaurant is very busy. I'm ignoring Yankumi going into raptures over how Hayato looks so into his work in favour of watching Ryu going around without his jacket. Excuse me while I reattach my jaw, as it appears to have fallen to the ground.

After work, the gang take Kuma and his siblings to Cafe de Rovne, though only the kiddies get drinks. The boys are all super impressed by Kuma running the restaurant at his age and quiz him seriously about it. He explains his own delinquent past, and how he took over when his dad passed away because Yankumi told him it was the best thing he could do for his family.

Sorry, I really need to get myself something to do screencaps with because there's a lovely shot at 17:48. Kuma's got his siblings on his knees, being all big brotherly, and Hayato and Ryu are both looking on indulgently - and then Ryu turns and catches Hayato's expression. Oh yes, I do believe children are in their future. Ryu's father will be furious.

At home, Yankumi catches the family up on the latest developments with her students and Kuma, and they share gang gossip about shops that are being forced to close near Kuma's ramen place. Yankumi's grandfather instructs his men to investigate. Nobody must mess with his granddaughter's friends.

Hayato walks the Kumai clan back home, taking the opportunity to complain about his dad, but they're interrupted by a group of shady-looking men, clearly gangsters. They're here to get Kuma to sell the store, and they're not happy that he keeps refusing. The men approach. The kids hide behind their big brother. Hayato looks extremely uncomfortable. And...scene change!

Next day, Kuma's making a delivery to the school but Sawatari catches sight of his (slightly) beaten up face. Compared to the usual beatings, this is nothing, but of course Sawatari accuses him of still getting into fights as an adult. Yankumi breaks it up, promptly gets lied to as Kuma tells her he got hurt falling down the stairs (this woman will believe *anything*), and is amazed when Hayato shows up (with great hair, for once) and offers his services after three. In the restaurant, I mean. He and Kuma exchange one of those significant secret-sharing looks, and Kuma leaves.

Poor Hayato. It seems he can't escape talk of his dad no matter where he goes, and Yankumi is insistent that they have that father-son-life talk. Hayato still doesn't know what he wants to do with his life - someone should tell him to think about modelling.

In the meantime, he's doing fine at Kumai Ramen, where not only Yankumi but everyone else has come to check up on him. The guys are there to enjoy the ramen and see a courteous Hayato for a change. Ryu says it suits him, but when Hayato gets mad he ignores him and starts slurping his food noisily as cover. Yankumi joins them at the table but doesn't have time to do more than place her order when the yakuza guys from before show up and cause a ruckus. She gets annoyed, the guys reluctantly leave but not without giving Kuma an ultimatum.

That's it, Kuma has to tell the truth now. These guys are land sharks and they're trying to get him to shut down so they can take the land and develop it. Yankumi wants to help out, but Kuma doesn't want her getting involved since she's no longer his teacher. Aww, he wants to be independent. Doesn't he know that's not how the show works? Hayato looks like he's about to cry. Kuma storms off, saying he's got a plan. Yankumi thinks maybe this means he's going to close down the shop, but surprisingly she gets a lecture from Hayato on how Kuma would never do that because the shop means so much to him. Yep, he really does appear to be blinking back tears here, and Ryu notices, asking him if he knows something.

This is actually a very good moment for Hayato, and the breeze is ruffling the flippy bits nicely. He explains what happened the previous night, how while he was held back, the thugs beat up Kuma, who was protecting his siblings with all his might. Kuma doesn't want Yankumi told, because he knows exactly how she'll react, and he wants her to think about her current students, and not to have to deal with any more trouble from him. Kizuna time!

Yankumi mopes around the house while Wakamatsu bursts in (literally) with the news that Kuma's shop is being targeted by the land sharks. It's clear that Yankumi's grandfather is going to have to do a bit more than offer alcohol and sage advice this episode. He might have to leave the house! *gasp*

Next morning, Yankumi runs into the (in)Famous Five. All six of them are skipping school. The guys offer themselves as backup - nice, but not strictly necessary.

Especially when Kumai Ramen has had another visit, this time with damage done to the contents of the store while Kuma was out, and his mother terrified into handing over the deed. In a fit of panic, she phones Yankumi to tell her Kuma went off by himself to retrieve the deed. Hayato immediately runs off to find him; the others follow but Yankumi insists they can't go, it's too dangerous for them. She's actually holding Ryu by the arm, and it's him she's yelling at when she tells them not to go. Ryu is *not* a happy bunny.

Which is why when Yankumi runs off in one direction, Ryu runs off in the other, even after he's just said they won't go. Everyone's worried about Hayato and Kuma, but Take, Tsucchi and Hyuuga are left in the middle of the path, unsure what to do. Why, when they could be running like everyone else? Hayato, Yankumi, Kuma, Ryu...they're all running somewhere.

Hayato finds Kuma first and insists on going with him. Ryu does the smart thing and runs off to Yankumi's house to tell the guys he knows are yakuza what's going on. That's some impressive music playing when Yankumi's grandfather comes out - no wonder Ryu looks (almost) awed. Yankumi does the hair and glasses thing while she runs, just to save time.

I don't know how Kuma knew where to find these guys but they're not impressed when he turns up with a high schooler in tow. Kuma desperately tries to get the deed back, which somehow lands up with Hayato face-down on the desk and then getting beaten up by three guys at once while the rest work on Kuma. He doesn't go down easy, not like the office door which falls in like it's made of cardboard when Yankumi gives it a little tap with her foot. This is Kuma and Hayato's cue to mutter her name and sink down to the floor, secure in the knowledge that she'll have these guys flattened in about a minute.

The usual talk about teachers, students, bad guys etc. Even with weapons, these guys can't beat her. Their leader goes for what I'm assuming is a gun, but Yankumi shuts his hand in the drawer. She gets the deed, one of the thugs creeps up behind her with a stick, but Yankumi's grandfather grabs his wrist and saves the day. I don't think he's been out of the house in a while, because he seems surprised to see creeps like this out in the daylight. He gets all old-fashioned yakuza on them. Hayato's got a secretive fanboy smile. I guess we know what he wants to do when he grows up - you know, in between having cute kids with Ryu. I can only imagine their parenting techniques...

Yankumi tends to Kuma and Hayato's wounds in the usual place, which is how Ryu and the others find them. Ryu yells "Hayato!" but everyone else yells "Yankumi!" so I guess no one was all that concerned about Kuma... Former student-teacher talk, culminating in a hair ruffle for Kuma. Bet he's missed those.

Aww, this is cute. It's time to go home, but of course Hayato's injured, so he immediately turns to Ryu, who is sitting right next to him and has barely taken his eyes off him the whole time. Ryu gives him a piggyback. I think it might actually be Jin's ambition to go for a ride on all his bandmates at least once. We've had Kame, Nakamaru, Junno - anyone recall him riding Ueda or Koki?

The Yabuki men do their talking at strange times. Hayato's dad is back and offering to make breakfast, and Hayato picks this moment to say that he's not going to college, he's not sure yet what he wants to do, and for now he just wants to become a man who would protect the things that are important to him. This sort of links to an admission that his dad is okay and the surprise that Hayato has actually made breakfast. It's enough to make his dad cry. I hope that's not down to him putting pepper in the onigiri.

Back at the school, the teachers are celebrating the success of their wedding play (Yankumi sees the photo, which is terrible), and 3-D are enjoying masses of gyoza Kuma has brought for them. It's a celebration! Because others from Kuma's neighbourhood protested, the construction plans have stopped. Everyone's happy, so much so that Hayato and Ryu don't stop smiling and laughing even when Kuma does a Yankumi and ruffles their hair.

Everyone except Yankumi, that is, as she suddenly realises that the plates of gyoza are empty. She chases the students round the classroom in an attempt to steal some back, but it's too late! And on an unrelated note, poor Take gets completely squished between Kuma and Okuma. He might need to go to hospital.

Obligatory Akame commentary: Oh, we've got plenty of choice today! For starters we've got how Ryu is the only one to recognise Hayato's dad, and of course it's Ryu Hayato asks about his mother. We know they have history, but it feels so much nicer when it's family. It doesn't look like Hayato's dad is home much - I guess he's out driving the truck a lot - so if Ryu stays over it probably explains why he hasn't seen him recently. Ryu teases Hayato quite a bit this episode, which is incredibly adorable as Hayato gets all huffy and defensive, but not in a seriously hurt kind of way, which is good. We've got Ryu running off to get real yakuza to come to Hayato's rescue, rather than rush in himself and land them both in hot water - bit of a change from the second episode, when he didn't have anyone else to rely on. And then I go all sappy watching them reach for each other for the piggyback. There should be lots more of this cuteness.

Best scene: Just for the laughs, I'm going to go with that moment in Cafe de Rovne where Kuma's sitting with both siblings on his knees, and Hayato and Ryu are both smiling at him, and then Ryu starts looking at Hayato instead and it's just so sweet. Okay, so he's probably not wondering how many kids Hayato wants them to have, but even so, it's a lovely moment. In second place, we have Ryu and co. turning up at Kumai Ramen, doing their cat impersonations and helping out inside. I love these guys. They don't care about their schoolwork but they'll work their tails off to help a friend. Of course the second time they went there for the amusement value, but still...

Conclusion: Real yakuza don't need to wear suits to be threatening, Hayato's getting so broody he's probably already got baby names picked out, high school delinquents have an odd affinity for cats and once you've been Yankumi's student, you're stuck with her for life.
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Mec

May 2017

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