JDrama: Gokusen

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This is actually the first season of the Gokusen series. At the moment there are 3 Gokusen drama series and 1 Gokusen movie that has just been showing in theatres. Before I watched Gokusen, I didn’t know what it was about but I have heard about it. Initially I thought it was once of those Meteor Gardens kind of style of dramas. It was because Gokusen the movie came to Singapore and I heard the story over the radio, and hence I got interested.

Gokusen is about this teacher called YAmaguchi KUMIko, whose nickname is formed from the letters that I deliberately made upper case (YANKUMI). Her parents died early, and she was taken care of by her grandfather, who is the 3rd generation head of the Oeda family, a prominent Yakuza group. Basically it is like a gang but more professional and organized. Kind of like the godfather kind. So she is going to be the 4th generation head, but she is only interested in being a teacher.

This drama series is like the Great Teacher Onizuka type, where the teacher is not any normal teacher, but one with compassion, passion and feelings for the profession. One that bothers to understand the students and bonds with them so they felt that they were needed, and hence steering them to the right path. Due to Yankumi being the “heir” of the yakuza group, she is actually very strong and always fights to protects her precious students.

Gokusen 1 takes place in Shirokin High School, where the class 3D is full of delinquents. The “boss” of the class is Shin, a student who is super smart but ended up in a bad school due to him punching a teacher. There are also some of his friends, including Kumai, better known as Kuma, whose family owns a ramen shop. Kuma is a recurring character in all Gokusen series, with the 1st season being part of the class and the rest as the owner of the ramen shop.

The series shows how Yankumi gets into the hearts of her students and how she taught them important things like the difference between fighting and violence. She taught them to made friends that they can depend on, and as a result, she build an impressive class that graduated together, all these done whilst hiding her identity as a Yakuza heir.

There are smaller sub stories in the drama, providing some comedic relief. Whenever Yankumi suffers some humilation or hurt, her yakuza members would one by one get angry until Yankumi calls their name. Then something will happen and the second person will get angry and it goes on.

This is a light hearted drama, but occasionally it gets slightly dry. At this moment I have only watched Gokusen and Gokusen 3, and I think Gokusen 3 is repetitive and more dry. Gokusen is not always about fighting, and has much more plot and content that varies. This is a good drama, although in my opinion the guys there are not that handsome, except for Oguri Shun, who acted in Hana Kimi.

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