The theme of this episode is Jdrama Cliches 101. Now with screencaps! Let’s begin!
So we begin this episode with Chiharu-Sensei saying that she’s going to be in charge of the water polo team, much to the dismay of the vice principle (played by Kitamura Yukiya). Seriously, I think these are basically the same teachers from Gokusen. There is the mean vice principle and also the old and sweet principle who is basically useless. Same characters, different actors.
So Naoya’s trying to recruit people for the team. It goes about as well as can be expected for any sort of TV show. He asks Chiaki (the one who likes Chiharu) and his friend to join but they say no way, jose.
Later, Naoya rolls up to Suiran to tell them that KasuKou is starting a water polo team of their own and to apologize for making fun of water polo in the last episode. (He’s still very insistent on calling it mizu tama though. Which is great.)
Also, here are Torao and Naoya’s nice, intimidating faces as they stared at each other:
Torao makes some annoyed smirk face (I think he went to the Akanishi Jin School of Acting ™) and then someone asks if Ryuji is joining the team. Naoya straight up lies and is like “yep!” and Torao makes this hilarious angry face:
Then Naoya tries to get Ryuji to actually join the team. He, of course, says no.
Back with Nagisa (remember her? She’s the girl Naoya lives with and she goes to Suiran), her friend asks if she likes Naoya and of course she says no (even though she does) and makes the girl promise not to tell anyone that she knows Naoya. Also, that girl apparently likes Naoya. (So the love triangles begin to tangle up…)
Back at the other KasuKou, Naoya discovers that starting a water polo team might not be so easy. Here is the pool:
Have any of you seen the movie Water Boys? This reminds me of Water Boys. It was a movie about starting a synchronized swimming team and there was a part where they had to clean the pool. In fact, I feel like this whole show is a weird sort of homage to Gokusen and Water Boys. Anyway, when Chiaki and his friend find out that Chiharu-Sensei is the club director, they want to join. Naoya says no though because they said no earlier. They end up cleaning the whole pool to show that they really do want to join.
Later, Yuto runs into the Baka Trio and tries to recruit them too. They say no, of course.
There’s a short scene with Torao and his girlfriend (I still don’t know her name. Does anyone say her name??) where they talk about Ryuji. Not very exciting stuff. Honestly, I think Takaki was slightly miscast in this role. I don’t think he plays this sort of character very well. (Not for lack of trying though!) There’s just something ridiculous whenever he makes an annoyed face.
The nice old principle dude (played by Morimoto Leo) and Chiharu-Sensei chat a bit while he does some nice night gardening or something. I mean literally. I have no idea what he’s doing:
Next we have a brief scene where Nagisa yells at Naoya for chilling in her room when she’s not around. Nagisa yells at Naoya a lot. I think this is sort of a problematic characterization for her. Hopefully she’ll have something plot-worthy to do later. On a side note, Yuto is really good at playing the oblivious I-have-no-idea-what-the-problem-is guy. Nice job casting department!
The next day at school, Naoya tries to bribe the Baka Trio into joining the team by buying them some scrunchie that belonged to the idol they’re obsessed with. And then the Vice Principle tries to blackmail them into NOT joining the team. So weird. Anyway, they feel sort of conflicted so they go pray about it at Nagisa’s family’s temple. And they find out Naoya lives with Nagisa because Naoya apologizes for creeping in Nagisa’s room. Nagisa, of course, just yells at Naoya again. (Why are girls in Jdramas always so screechy?)
The next scene is Naoya having a conversation with Nagisa’s dad. I’m not sure what they actually talked about (some encouragement I think) because I was distracted by Naoya eating corn on the cob. It just looked silly to me. Sorry the screencap doesn’t do it justice:
During the next day, the assholes from the Suiran team (minus Torao) beat up the Baka Trio again, steal their scrunchie, and literally take one of them hostage to get Naoya to come see them. Naoya shows up and the guys beat him up too. He doesn’t fight back.
Then we get the infamous Mean-Person-Throws-Precious-Object-Into-the-River cliché:
Followed by the Good-Guy-Spends-Hours-Looking-For-It-In-River cliché:
Of course he finds it. The Baka Trio isn’t very appreciative though. There’s a heartfelt conversation. I don’t know. I didn’t understand this part very well. Because if it was me, I’d feel bad someone swam in a river for hours looking for my stuff. But whatevs.
On a random note, I have no idea what Principle Dude’s purpose is in this scene. But he’s my secret favorite:
Anyway, in the end, Nagisa talks to the Baka Trio and they decide to forget whatever the VP is threatening them with and join the team. And then Naoya lets Chiaki and his friend join too. And the Principle secretly turns on the water and fills up the now-clean pool for them. (Apparently VP guy said no to the water?) And that’s the end! The next episode will be them all convincing Ryuji to join too. WHAT WILL HAPPEN? WILL HE SAY YES? I CAN’T GUESS. (yes I can)
Oh, and the Baka Trio tells Yuto that that scrunchie was a fake. He had no idea. We end the episode with laughs.
So yes, episode two was full of just about every cliche imaginable, but it was still enjoyable to watch. With any sports show, there has to be an obligatory episode where they gather the team together. I wish they’d be a little more original with the conflict (like, I don’t know, give the Suiran assholes actual reasons to be assholes?) but I can live with the cliches for now. There are still things that set it apart from other shows. Water polo, for example, is not something that’s usually the subject of a TV show. And for people who really like seeing dudes in speedos, this show is definitely the place to be! Let’s wait and see what episode three will bring!