Well, I suppose this was pretty close to a plot-driven episode by Sakamoto desu ga? standards – and a fairly serious one too. It’s not too often we see episode-length storylines in this series, but bullying is a topic that’s almost always related to what’s going on at least tangentially. Most of the time the series manages to more or less play it off as comedy without appearing to be dismissive of the problem (which is a bit of a tightrope act), but the consequences this time around are a little more gut-wrenchng – for Kubota, anyway.
I’m not exactly sure what the “Arrival in Japan Corridor Walk” is (it seems to imply getting off an airplane from Paris at Narita) but I suppose it’s a measure of Sakamoto’s coolestness that he can be stylish even when you don’t get the joke. We also get our second softball toss tie-in this week – I don’t think Sakamoto’s went as far as Deku or Kacchan’s, but then they didn’t have Kubota’s face as a backstop. Kubota is pretty much the backstop of all the Karmic softball tosses this week, as he’s the means by which the latest batch of villains try to draw Sakamoto into war.
Hayabusa (Yusa Kouji) continues the gradual stair-step up of banchou foils for Sakamoto-kun. He’s probably the first guy we’ve seen who almost (but not quite) rivals Sakamoto for coolness. He writes his name as “8823” (a very liberal Kanji reading that was used by the band Spitz for their song of the same name) and he’s unquestionably in-charge of the second year delinquents. Maruyama’s severe PTSD after his run-in with Sakamoto is irresistible to Hayabusa – he has to know what the deal is with this mysterious first-year. But every attempt to goad him into a showdown fails (“lend me your face” is a pretty brilliant bit of language-based comedy) and eventually 8823’s goons take it upon themselves to bring Sakamoto to the ring (actually under a bridge).
The look on Sakamoto’s face when he sees what the bullies did to Kubota’s head is, if I’m not mistaken, the first time we’ve seen Sakamoto-kun really let his cool facade slip. He has no choice but to show up now, and it’s interesting to speculate on what might have happened if the dorkiest cop on the planet hadn’t arrived on his bicycle when he did. The ensuing “push sumo” death match is actually a pretty spectacular shounen showdown, and Hayabusa shows he’s cut from a different cloth than the zaku Sakamoto has been steamrolling up to now. He’s also, in his defense, legitimately irritated when he finds out what his boys did to Kubota in his name, and does his best to make amends after Sakamoto defeats him in honorable combat.
There is a little coda at the end of all this a visit to the school nurse (who is of course madly in love with Sakamoto-kun – he turns every woman in the world into a cougar) to deliver Class 1-2’s health documents. If we saw Sakamoto lose his cool for the first time this week, might we also have seen him show weakness – an actual fever? Perhaps he lacks resistance to Earth microbes. One mustn’t neglect personal health care, but I suspect the girls in the corridor would have preferred to see Sakamoto-kun adopt the more traditional application of negi to fight a cold.