Gokusen Season 1 (Live Action)

I decided to write something that I love on my blog which includes…. (insert drum roll here) anime, manga, J-Drama, music and many more.

I will write these things in random order so I hope you’ll understand why my posts regarding these things are not in order.

So… as for this post. I am talking about the first season of Gokusen!

This series never gets old especially all those animated characteristics of each actors on the series (especially Yankumi) and their comedic relief whenever they have this day-dreaming and over the top scenes. Of course, I find every moment very funny and cute. I can definitely say that this season shows how comedy works in a Japanese TV show. Also, there are those slice-of-life moments on this series that will definitely make heart feel their emotions which will eventually make you cry.

I also noticed that this series is funnier than the anime and the manga itself. Well the manga is just more detailed (of course!) as there are parts where the series doesn’t cover (SPOILER ALERT: Shin Sawada confesses her love to Yankumi at the last chapter!).

The characters all have their unique characteristics (of course!) and issues in life which (I guess) are relatable to other students who are going to tough times and some troubles like the 3-D studemts of Shirokin High School.

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Jun Matsumoto as Shin Sawada

In this live action series, I really love Jun Matsumoto portrayal of Shin Sawada as he embodies the introvert, mysterious, smart and quiet boy. Also, his emotions are very on point. He really acts very well on this series where you can identify his disgust, his anger, his happiness and sadness. I am also happy that his character in Season 1 somehow provide a hint on how he feels with Yankumi (at the last episode) and how he respects Yankumi’s principle in life. I am just saddened that he is not present on Gokusen: The Movie as the other four main characters like Kuma (or Kumai), Uchi, Noda and Minami came back to greet Yankumi while she is walking her way to Akado Gakuen after the incident on the campaign rally.

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Yukie Nakama as Kumiko Yamaguchi/Yankumi

Aside from the great acting of Jun Matsumoto, here comes the protagonist. Yukie Nakama‘s portrayal of Yankumi/Kumiko is so powerful that she is definitely the epitome of a badass teacher! Her animated acting especially with Goro Sawatari‘s character (Katsuhisa Namase) are the funniest moments of the series (from season 1 to 3). Also, there are cringe-worthy moments for Yankumi like treating her students like kids by playing different games. Well, of course she is being played or tricked back by her student in some funny ways as well.

Also, her naiveness is so on point that you will make her believe that she doesn’t know a lot of things in life even if she was surrounded by dangerous men while growing up. She will definitely make you laugh so hard and you love her because of ideas in life and her love and respect to her students and everyone.

She also doesn’t seem to age in other season of this series as she still looks the same even years have already passed since the start of this show (2002 and I am on my way to Grade 7 here/First Year HS).

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Oedo Family Members (not the actual family members but household members)

I also love Tetsu and Minuro in this series as they are very cute and animated. I am quite surprised that Tetsu is very handsome when he shaved his mustache after losing the bet on himself. In anime, these two are very different in terms of their characteristics as they more of gangster type and fearful in anime.

The other household members like Wakamatsu, Sugawara and the grandfather are very cool. I don’t really feel that they are members of yakuza (because my thoughts about these people is that they are harmful but since this is in Japan, I guess they are very different from gangsters and hoodlums) but mere comedic members of their clan who are also giving the viewers smile on their faces.

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Waki Tomohiro as Kuma Teruo

Kumai (Waki Tomohirois also my favorite character in live-action as well as in anime. He become a main stay on the whole series (season 1 to 3). For season 1, he’s the best friend of Shin and the first person to open up with Yankumi. He’s like the person I want to hug in the series and he’s so cute as well as his personality. He’s also a go-to person of Yankumi’s new student after Season 1.

All of the characters that I did not mention are lovable because all of them are very comedic and knows how to act very well. They act like a normal teenage guy who is having their fun times in life and also encountering some troubles. They have their ups and down moments which are very relatable as their emotions are close to reality.

Also, the theme song of this season Feel Your Breeze by V6 fits very well on the message of the series. The lyrics make sense and the rhythm and beat will make you sing your hearts out. The video (with the Gokusen casts) are very fun to watch as they are all enjoying the game that they are playing with Yankumi.

But of course, there are still those moments that I can say too cliche. Well… All TV dramas follow a cliche plot so I am not expecting that Gokusen is an exemption there. Well, these moments are the cheesy ones like Yankumi saving her students from being battered by the other gangs or Yankumi to provide lecture each and every episode about life (which is of course fine as it is the essence of the story after all).

Other than those cheesy and some cliche moments, the whole series is a blast and fun to watch again and again. I got addicted again on this series when I was able to find episodes available in the internet (because before, it wasn’t available).

My favorite episodes are: when Kuma got in trouble with the bag of money that Sawatari dropped in which Yankumi searched for it the whole day in the Sakura river. Next is the episode when Shin learned that she is the heir of the Oedo group, and lastly, the last episode as this is the most sad and inspiring episode among them all. People found out that Yakumi came from a Yakuza family and have a full page shot of a guy that she is beating. She choose to resign as the school director is threatening her to withdraw all of her students which will lead for her students not to graduate. This is, of course against her will as she promised them that they will all graduate together.

The special episode is also sad as it will make you recall your high school memories with your buddies during that period of your life. I, myself, get tearful on this episode as I can relate to their situation that after graduation, all of you will be apart and will follow each individual’s dream in life.

I know that this review is just plain but I hope that I was able to give you some facts that you will use in deciding which series to watch especially in Japanese TV Shows. 🙂

From here on, I have decided to study Japanese (one of my life long dream) as my ultimate dream is to go to Japan and see the beauty of this country, its culture, food and its people.

Sayonara for now. 😉

Love,
Momo

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