next day, kato is in no shape to go to work. ozu's fine, but just can't find his stuff without kato's help. kato asks ozu to teach his english class, and to tell ashikaga he's home alone.
ashikaga shares news of a new competition. ozu passes on kato's "i miss you" message to her.
english class. all the boys have plasters stuck on their faces.
akimoto makes an excellent center. he even scored a rebound. of course, the girls are no match for him, as haruka complains.
then nagase excuses himself. yokomori goes over to check on him. says his is the only wound not healed yet. is he being bullied? no.
when ozu dismisses the boys, they come up with a new phrase: "we'll do as you say!"
yokomori confesses her doubts about nagase to matsuzawa. matsuzawa feels that if it's something in school, they'd know. akimoto agrees.
haruka with imoto, says he's stopped flying paper planes. he tells her, no time these days.
eri pops by. just looking for him. also thanks imoto, on behalf of her mom.
haruka says she's heard about that episode with kato
eri says she's now back in school, and training (basketball)
kato and ozu at home. kato wishes ashikaga was around, that would be great. she surprises him by appearing, but says he's looking fine, and asks kato not to expect too much. she's just visiting ozu. kato doesn't mind. instead, he tries to get ozu out of the house on any pretext.
ozu realises he's the odd one out. just then, yokomori pops in too. kato's tricked again. ozu says he's wanted to do a 'gokon' (group date), just to see what it's like.
imoto asks eri about ozu's basketball past, and was told he stopped during university on his parents' orders. so that he can get a good job in a bank.
haruka asks why they call ozu a ghost. eri says he just is. imoto says his dad was just like ozu.
kato suggests playing a game (scissors paper stone) but the girls aren't interested. so it's just between kato and ozu. kato lost, so ozu gets to kiss him. kato quits the game. ozu suggests chess instead.
kato walks ashikaga out. asks if ozu has passed his message to her. yes. she tries to stall kato by telling him she is now concentrating on building her career. kato is the same. nevertheless, ashikaga apologises to kato for not being able to return his affection. kato says it's ok. he just wants her to know how he feels about her. it's the same with ozu and the team, there's no expectations of any reward or return of feelings. then he checks himself - they had ended up talking about ozu instead!
yokomori and ozu clean up. ozu mentions the fresh bruises on nagase. yokomori feels it's child abuse.
nagase visits akimoto. at the gate to his house, there's security. cos he's the son of a politician. matsuzawa's surprised akimoto gets away with blond hair. akimoto says, no one's ever scolded him. matsuzawa jokes with nagase that he'll turn out to be like akimoto if given too much pampering.
nagase asks to stay at akimoto's.
after experiencing ozu's english class, everyone was glad kato's back, much to his joy.
yokomori wants to visit nagase's parents to see if he's been abused. shikamatsu thinks there's no need. sano feels if it's parents, there's nothing the teachers can do. school is school, home is home. ozu agrees teachers should not interfere, cos it's too much work. yokomori is disheartened by ozu's lack of support.
ozu's back to his "female manager" activities. caught by matsuzawa, he just wants to let ozu know nagase's run away from home and staying at akimoto's.
ozu 'borrows' nagase from shikamatsu's class. asks shikamatsu to keep the 'borrowing' a secret.
ozu tells nagase that his problem is affecting his game. everyone in the team has to want to win. as coach, he wants to know what's happening. where the bruises come from, what is home situation is.
he visits nagase's home. his parents look very decent, middle class. ozu's surprised the father is not at work. the mother excuses him as taking leave, but the father interrupts and says he's been fired. ozu then asks if he has hit his son, but he says not.
subsequently, nagase's dad reports ozu's interference to the principal. sano wants ozu to keep out of the students' home situations. don't be a fool. but he gets approval from the lady teachers and kato.
sano doesn't understand how the association of a bruise is due to family violence. yokomori says that's just the way it is, and was herself a victim too, abused by her mother.
nagase is out of action. his mom visits the school gym.
nagase asks his dad not to beat his mom. his dad tells him not to report to the teacher. he promises. as a result, his father wants to practise 'boxing' with him.
during training, matsuzawa encourages ozu to help nagase
nagase is crying in pain on the streets
kato explains to ashikaga what's with sano's attitude - caused by the stabbing incident. they agree ozu's just like a parent to the students.
sano explains the problem of dealing with home situations. are you prepared to take the student into your house? as sano leaves, ashikaga and kato tell him that they too are concerned about nagase's situation.
shikamatsu asks sano if there is any way to help nagase. sano says he can't even help himself. he's a ghost too. he fears for his life, and will shake in fear if a student comes too near to him. (remember a previous episode, when a scream was heard when akimoto aggressively approached sano in the gym?)
sano finds nagase in school, in the dark. he tells nagase the teachers cannot help him. sano brings nagase into the teachers' room, and then calls his home, and asks for his parents to come and fetch him. the other teachers try to get nagase to communicate. then the principal pops in to ask to speak to sano and ozu. about nagase. he explains from sano's viewpoint, that if they interfere, it will backfire, cos the parents will then blame the school. also, since the school cannot monitor the situation 24 hours a day, things can recur.
principal: it's just out of our ability, and that hurts
sano feels he's been justified, and asks if ozu feels a little bit hollow. yes. sano says he'll get used to it.
the minute ozu gets back, the first thing he does is ask if nagase's hungry. ozu's not taken in by the pep talk. he's still going to defend the students.
nagase says he understands his dad's frustration of being fired and can't find another job. ozu empathizes, cos he was once in that situation before.
nagase's mom is having it hard, so he went back home to protect her. as a result, it's his turn to be beaten.
nagase's dad enters at this point. he apologises to the teachers for his son's behaviour. he then asks ozu (who's still working in some way with the bank) to use his influence at the bank to lend him some money to tide over his current situation (it costs quite a bit to put a kid in school, and a private school such as this one!). he was retrenched because of the banks (calling in their loans).
ozu tells him to stop taking it out on his kid. nagase's dad didn't want to hear advice from a bank officer. he drags his unwilling kid out.
sano finally speaks out, against his principles. "let him go!" he tells off nagase's dad - "don't ever mistreat your son again. and don't call ozu a bank officer. he's a teacher"
nagase decides to return home. ozu adviseshim to get out immediately if it happens again. akimoto offers him a place to stay, anytime.
matsuzawa turns back and tells ozu not to be too cocky. else he'd turn into a real warm-blooded teacher!
ozu thanks him for the advice. he knows he's still got a long way to go.
kato and ashikaga celebrate at the successful resolution.
ozu waits for sano, and they walk off together.
the boys are training hard now for the competition. shikamatsu hears from the principal there's a problem with the competition. the application for boys team has been rejected.