It should be clear at this point that Sakamoto desu ga? represents, among other things, a trip up the bully ladder for Sakamoto. Ijime is perhaps the central theme of this series, which is interesting given how rarely it takes itself seriously. Playing bullying for comedy is always a bit of a tightrope act, one which Sakamoto desu ga? manages to navigate successfully for the most part (though not flawlessly, in my opinion). But on those rare moments when this show does go for substance, it’s this element that usually takes it there.
Having started out with a classmate (Sera) who’s basically a buffoon, Sakamoto progresses to bullies in his own grade, the second-year guy who pushes them around, and finally the one he reports to (8823-kun). One by one Sakamoto either terrifies them (Maruyama) or wins them over, revealing in the process a sort of “honor among thieves” within the bully community. But the final boss is a bit different. He’s Fukase-san (Iwata Mitsuo) – note the “-san” in reference to a danshi koukousei – and when he shows his face and even Hayabusa seems terrified, it’s clear that this is the predator who sits atop the ijime food chain.
Is Fukase really in his mid-30’s and twice-divorced? Well, that’s in the same category as a school’s seven mysteries, I suspect, but he’s definitely a mysterious and terrifying figure even to other banchou. And he’s the first foe who can almost match Sakamoto-kun in terms of cunning and guile, as witness the way he manipulates the two losers in Class 1-2 to destroy the culture festival display and sets up a schoolwide manhunt after framing Sakamoto as the culprit. There’s an air of menace to Fukase and his actions that’s missing from the other banchou – a sense that this guy really is genuinely evil. That’s not going to give Sakamoto pause, of course.
Among other interesting moments here was Sakamoto adapting the class’ rather pathetic “UFO” balloon to look a lot more realistic (hint, hint?) and his posing as a tree during one of the third-year classes’ stage play. It really was nasty of Fukase to trash a performance that surely had a lot of effort put into it, but that’s obviously not the sort of thing this guy will concern himself with much. I also enjoyed Sakamoto using helium to entrap his guilty classmates, and Paku Romi (apparently healthy again, thank goodness) showing up as one of the girls of Class 1-2 (the huge one – I apologize but if she’s been named, I don’t remember it). In the end, of course, Sakamoto-kun manages to save the festival display, but one suspects we haven’t heard the last of Fukase-san just yet.