Review: Gokusen [2002]

gokusenTitle (romaji): Gokusen
Genre: Comedy, School
Episodes: 12 + Special (Graduation)
Broadcast network: NTV
Broadcast period: 2002-Apr-01 to 2002-July-03 and 2003-Mar-26 (SP)
Air time: Tuesday 22:00
Theme Song: “Feel Your Breeze” by V6
Original writing: Morimoto Kozueko (YOU woman’s magazine)
Screenwriter: Egashira Michiru, Yokota Rie(橫田理惠), Matsuda Yuuko (松田裕子)
Producer: Kato Masatoshi (加藤正俊)
Directors: Satou Higashiiya, (佐藤東彌), Oya Taro (大谷太郎), Takahashi Naoharu (高橋直治)
Music: Ooshima Michiru (大島ミチル)
Cast:
Nakama Yukie as Yamaguchi Kumiko
Matsumoto Jun as Sawada Shin
Oguri Shun as “Uchi” / Uchiyama Haruhiko
Waki Tomohiro as “Kuma” / Kumai Teruo
Narimiya Hiroki as Noda Takeshi
Ishigaki Yuma as Minami Youichi

Episode Titles:
Ep 01: 「熱血先生大暴れ!!」 / Nekketsu Sensei Dai Abare!! / A Teacher’s Fiery Zeal Rampage
Ep 02: 「友達見捨てんなよ!!」 / Tomodachi Misuten na yo!! / Don’t abandon your friend!!
Ep 03: 「見た目で決めんな!!」 / Mitame de Kimen na!! / Don’t decide only by appearance!!
Ep 04: 「失敗したらやり直せ」 / Shippaishi Tara Yarinaose / Once you fail, start over
Ep 05: 「ケンカと暴力は違う」 / Kenka to Bouryoku wa Chigau / To fight is different from violence
Ep 06: 「イジメに負けんな!!」 / Ijime ni Maken na!! / Lose to torment it!!
Ep 07: 「自分の子を信じろ!!」 / Jibun no Kodomo Shinjiro!! / Believe in your own child!!
Ep 08: 「あんたは母親だろ!!」 / Anta wa Hahaoya Daro!! / Aren’t you the mother!!
Ep 09: 「人のせいにすんな!!」 / Hito no Sei ni Sun na!! / A person makes his own consequence!!
Ep 10: 「私は生徒を信じる!!」 / Watashi wa Seito o Shinjiru!! / I believe my students!!
Ep 11: 「お前は一人じゃない」 / Omaera Ichi-nin Janai / There is no one person
Ep 12: 「さよならヤンクミ」 / Sayonara Yankumi / Goodbye Yankumi
Special: 「さよなら3年D組~ヤンクミ涙の卒業式」 / Sayonara 3 nen D gumi ~ Yankumi Namida no Sotsugyou Shiki / Goodbye Class 3D ~ Yankumi’s Graduation Tears

I Say…
While everyone’s into the Hana Yori Dango mania in the Philippines, I kept myself busy watching Gokusen the past few days. It’s a touching story about a devoted teacher, [despite being the next generation Oedo Yakuza clan successor], and her misunderstood class of 3rd year section D. She taught them about math and life lessons in her exciting, “Yankumi” way. Every episode left me teary eyed.

Their Gokusen adaptation’s actually good, turning it into a drama & giving more emotion to the characters who seemed to be tough on the outside. For the Sawada Shin role, Matsumoto Jun bagged the best supporting award and I think he deserved it. I remember mentioning before in the Hana Yori Dango review that he’s overqualified to be Domyouji Tsukasa. Now that I have seen Gokusen, the more I believed it. It’s also funny to see Oguri Shun playing the role of a thug Uchiyama Haruhiko, comparing it to the refined and calm Hanazawa Rui. He and Jun are so different in Gokusen versus their acting in Hana Yori Dango. On the other hand, this is the first time for me to see Yukie Nakama, and I think she’s a pretty funny actress as well. I can’t wait to see her in a serious flick/dorama.

To conclude, Gokusen is a great series. No wonder it became Japan’s # 1. It’s not only entertaining but also overflowing with values. We may have a very different culture compared to the Japanese but the importance of friendship, being honest to one’s self and having a heart to care for others doesn’t make us different at all.

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