Episode 56: “We’ll Risk Our Lives During Classtime!”
Original airdate: January 12, 1983
Corresponding manga chapter: “Risking Life During Classtime”, volume 12, chapter 7 (Japanese tankobon release)/overall chapter 120
Minor character introduced: Beef-Bowl Man
Summary: We pan down a large, modern apartment building on a snowy winter morning…and then down to a small, older house, inside which a pajama-clad Onsen-Mark is tussling with a stray cat that has apparently stolen his breakfast fish. His attempts to speak to it like a student in need of bucking up appear to work, until it claws down his face and pajamas. Abandoning reasonable for homicidal, he winds up smashing up much of his apartment before the cat escapes out a broken window, and he finds himself looking down on Lum, Ataru and Megane.
Cherry narrates: Onsen-Mark, thirty-five years old, and about to face one of the most memorable days of his life. In the teacher’s lounge, he waits impatiently until a noodle delivery boy appears, then berates him for being late (even though it was only made five minutes ago) and says he won’t pay until the end of month. The delivery boy snaps that he was clearly planning to do that anyway, and leaves just as Mendou comes in looking for chalk. The principal arrives without Onsen-Mark noticing, causing him to nervously defend himself. Mendou makes an unimpressed expression behind the princpal’s back, and Onsen-Mark yells at him, then realizes what he’s done. The principal says it’s fine. Oh, and class 2-4 has been having a lot of problems and complaints, which the principal has been shielding him from, but…well, a word to the wise. Onsen-Mark turns back to see Cherry finishing his noodles, including the shrimp.
In the infirmary, Sakura is examining him, and says he has a bit of a temperature. She says she can’t blame him for being worn down by those little bastards, and he rhapsodizes that she’s the only one who understands him, then tries to make his move but misses when she turns her chair around. She diagnoses him with a combination of lewdness and bad lifestyle. That’s when he notices the students watching through a window and giggling at him. He scoops up an armful of medicine bottles and starts throwing them at the students, earning a body flip and telling-off from Sakura.
In the Big Beef restaurant, Ataru and the Stormtroopers discuss Onsen-Mark’s behavior over Beef Bowl. Megane theorizes that it’s because he’s not getting any. The door opens, and the man himself walks in. He orders, then notices the students and chews them out for being there so late. They start to sneak out, and he follows, but isn’t looking where he’s going and runs into a large man wearing a cow suit. The man asks him what he’s going to do about messing up his meal, and Onsen-Mark offers to buy him a Beef Bowl with egg as a replacement. The man points out that he’s probably thinking he’ll get off easy, since Beef Bowl is so cheap, but he’s dedicated his life to the satisfying flavor of Beef Bowl, and people like him who just like it because it’s quick and cheap are nothing but poseurs.
Beef Bowl Man puts on a hoof-gauntlet, pulls his nose-ring to lock his horns into battle formation, and we miss seeing the chaos by cutting to the outside of the restaurant while the narrator says that it’s the unluckiest day of his life.
Outside the school, Onsen-Mark calls out the fivesome, but they just laugh at the hoofmarks on his face. He swears that if any of them disrupt his class again, they’ll get detention. As he walks away, they debate whether he means it, but Megane has seen the glint of truth in his eyes. Ten floats by and asks what “detention” is (as we pick up the manga story), but they ignore him and talk amongst themselves, agreeing that they’re not losing their precious free time to detention. Ten finally loses it and flash-fries the lot. Already not in a good mood, they respond by pelting him with snowballs. He flies off promising vengeance, and the narrator lays on an extra layer of foreshadowing.
Class begins with Onsen-Mark starting a “Rumikk” brand stopwatch and giving the students three minutes to speak freely, after which any classtime chatter will incur detention for the whole class. Megane protests, but Onsen-Mark recites a litany of the chaos and destruction they’ve caused in the classroom, and by God there will be an end to it. Lum thinks that detention sounds like fun, but Ataru assures her it isn’t, and begs her not to speak for his sake. The three minutes end, and Onsen-Mark weeps tears of joy at the quiet, attentive classroom, little dreaming what lies ahead.
The lecture on infinitives in English proceeds apace, until Onsen-Mark calls on Ataru to translate a passage. Ataru just stares, even after three requests, and when called on it conveys through charades that he knows the answer but can’t give it without talking. Onsen-Mark repeats his demand, but this time Ataru writes down that Onsen-Mark is trying to trick him. Perm chimes in with his Admiral Ackbar impression in sign form (see opening image). The teacher insists that they can talk if it’s class-related, but the class isn’t buying it. This redoubles his determination, and he declares that anyone saying anything will bring detention down on the class.
That’s when Ten bursts in on his flying potty. He announces that he’s here to get his revenge, especially on Ataru, and opens fire with a machine gun (Ataru takes cover under his desk). Onsen-Mark tries to chase him away, but Ten is too fixated on his vengeance. Mendou indicates that he should go on with class, but Onsen-Mark can’t see it happening with the disruption going on, especially once he gets a facefull of BBs. With a gleam in his eye, Mendou starts to draw his sword, but Shinobu stops him. Ataru eventually trips and Ten shoots past him out the window. The students bring Onsen-Mark back to his desk, and he’s initially touched that they value his class that highly, until he realizes that it’s actually that they hate detention more.
Class is about to recommence to start when Ten bursts in through another window and redoubles his efforts by ineffectually clobbering Ataru and Perm with a toy hammer. When this has no effect, Ten takes more direct action.
Ten flies around, trying to get a rise out of the class, with no success. He nearly succeeds in making Kakugari laugh with a goofy face, but the others silence him. He eventually asks Lum what’s going on. She and Ataru communicate with their eyes that she shouldn’t do it, and when Onsen-Mark tells her to throw Ten out, Ataru shows her another image of a trap in a book (this must be a very interesting English text). Onsen-Mark gives her special permission to talk just to get him out of there, but Ten flies off in frustration at being ignored.
Class is once again on the verge of starting when Ten returns with a huge snowball and buries Ataru under it. Ataru returns it, smushing Ten against the ceiling and pushing him over the edge. He tries to open fire on Ataru, but Lum zaps his flying potty and he hits three male students instead. They respond by pelting him with school supplies; Ten ups the ante with a grenade. The students bat it back and forth until it explodes in a corner, knocking over some of the Stormtroopers. They get up and wordlessly put their desks back, Chibi writing a note that class should continue. Onsen-Mark is touched, monologuing about the students’ spirit and his renewed inspiration, while explosions go off behind him. This lasts until he steps on a land mine, taking the wind out of his sails.
The students revive him with buckets of water, and he tries again to resume class, once he can borrow a textbook since his crumbled into ash. Ten crows that the best is yet to come, and pulls out a controller with which he summons a platoon of toy tanks and helicopters. Megane has a brief moment to admire the construction of a helicopter before they open fire, spreading general chaos through the classroom. (The girl with the short red hair has a brief scene with a male student–I still want to know what her story is.) As the desks are reduced to rubble, Lum readies herself to stop Ten with a lightning bolt, but Ataru stops her and counsels patience through his eyes. Mendou draws his sword and fights back, and he and the other students manage to smash all the toy vehicles.
Ten looks on at the wreckage, aghast. The Stormtroopers surround him, then pointedly turn their backs and return to their desks. Ten pulls out a remote and summons Tentaman, a combining robot, who through forced perspective initially appears more impressive than he really is.
The students laugh, until he begins radiating energy and the whole classroom blows up. Ten announces that even Lum was bad for ignoring him, and he doesn’t care any more, flying away. In the remains of the classroom, everyone is completely shattered (even Lum, who usually avoids the slapstick). Behind Onsen-Mark, the clock tower strikes three and collapses, and Onsen-Mark gives the capper:
Cue general collapse.
Changes from the manga version: As noted above, the entire setup with Onsen-Mark’s bad day is original, and the manga picks up with Ten talking to Ataru and company (if you know how the different creators work, you can practically see the seams). The other major original sequence is the one with the toy vehicles; in the manga everything just falls apart shortly after Onsen-Mark steps on the mine and is revived. Rather than an angry Onsen-Mark threatening detention, the students are in a three-hour extended English class, and the threat is to redo the class on the weekend (which makes it a bit clearer why the students are so concerned about losing their free time).
Thoughts: This is a great example of the animators taking a funny chapter and ramping it up to a whole new level. Onsen-Mark’s bad day isn’t super-funny by itself (although Beef Bowl Man is an inspired creation), but has the effect of winding up the tension like a spring-powered toy, so the effect when he eventually snaps is all the stronger. It also expands on Onsen-Mark’s character without getting too psychoanalytical about it. (In the manga chapter, it’s driven primarily by Ten’s personality, with Onsen-Mark taking the role of gatekeeper without delving into his motivation.)
Next episode: Mr. Invader has been thrown out of the house and is living with the Moroboshis!