Hi Everybody! Welcome to Sunday Drama. Every Sunday, I will click on that drama tab on Crunchyroll and watch one of the shows. There will be one show per month, and I will talk about a few episodes every week. This month’s title is the 2012 drama High School Entrance Exam. I will be discussing the first three episodes. If you will like to join in the discussion, go watch them and I’ll wait for you. You ready? Okay, let’s do it!
The first episode starts extremely slow. Our main character is first-year teacher Kyouko. All I really know about her is that she gave up working as a travel agent to teach. Most of this first episode introduces us to the teachers. But more importantly, the show emphasis ad nauseam the importance of the entrance exam, and that this high school (Tachibana High School) is number one in the district. There’s even a scene where teachers that are alumni of the school sing the school song with cult-like enthusiasm. It is pretty creepy.
Sprinkled throughout the episode are text messages about someone’s disdain for the exam. You see messages about how they hate the exams, the exams ruined their life, etc. We do not know who or why someone is sending the messages. The messages really mess with the continuity of the episode, until the very end when it starts to make sense.
The day before the exam, a message appears all over the school. It reads “crush the entrance exam”. What makes this freaky is that they are posted on the teachers’ chalkboards. The show leads us to believe that all the classrooms are locked and that all the keys are in the key box. So, there is no way someone should have been able to do this.
I didn’t think it was possible for the second episode to be slower than the first, but here we are. This episode takes place the day before the exam. While the teachers are cleaning the classrooms, they discover a note and one of the teacher’s cell phones. They talk about this cell phone for what feels like days. There is no point in such a long scene. Speaking of pointless scenes, they throw a flashback of Kyouko in there. This scene does absolutely nothing to enhance the story.
Once again, we see more messages from what appears to be a message board. Most are talking about bringing down the exams. Some of the messages are talking about a resort. This is important because Kyouko books a reservation for a teacher at this resort. The teacher, whose name is Midori, plans to take her boyfriend after the exam. Kyouko gives Midori a gold card and tells her not to lose it, but she does anyway. Apparently, Midori gives the card to her boyfriend who misplaced the card. One of the people in the chat “finds” this card. So, the mystery boyfriend is somehow connected to one of the people in the chat. It feels like the show goes the long way round to build intrigue.
Thank goodness! Episode three really picks up the pace! We arrive at the entrance exams. The middle-schoolers all enter to begin an intense day. I am nervous for these kids because their parents are tripping. These kids are going to be taking the exam all day long, and these parents decide to stay. However, they can neither speak with nor watch the children.
As the test-taking begins, I am on pins and needles. These kids do not have access to their cell phones because the teachers collected them prior to the test taking. There is one student who lies and says she does not have a cell phone. I wonder what factor this will play later in the show? Anyway, the pressure seems to be tremendous.
There are a few moments of heightened interest. The first is that one student asks Kyouko and cool teacher Konishi about Japanese blossoms. This sounds like code. Also, the episode keeps cutting to someone I’m calling “five-o-clock shadow man”. What does he have to do with the exam? And, a student named Erinia is mentioned in this and the previous episodes. Is this just a coincidence?. And the biggest surprise, teacher Midori finds the message board!!! How will this impact the exam?
Even though the show has a super slow start, it pulled a Walking Dead and kicked it up a notch at the end. Hopefully, it will stay intense for the rest of the series.
Well, that’s it for the first three episodes of High School Entrance Exam. Next Sunday is episodes 4-6!