Hein (fub) wrote,

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Finished series: Gokusen

We've finished watching Gokusen this weekend. First episode review is here.

Yamaguchi Kumiko ('Yankumi') is the heiress of a powerful Yakuza 'group'. Her grandfather is the boss, and because both her parents are deceased, she will take the reigns of the group when her grandfather dies. However, she has a dream: she wants to be a teacher. The series begins with her first day as a math teacher on a school filled with juvenile delinquents... Of course, she has to keep her associations with the Yakuza a secret from her students and the other teachers at school, or she will be fired!
Lots of comical situations in this one: the first episode shows how Yankumi protects one of her students from some bullies who want to beat him up -- after he has been rendered unconscious so as not to see her kicking ass!
However, it isn't all fun and games in this one, there are some serious themes tackled as well. Over time, Yankumi earns the trust of her students, because she sticks up for them and doesn't treat them like failures.

The role of the Yakuza gangsters is interesting as well. So far, we haven't seen many anime that portray the Yakuza. It's a really typical Japanese organisation: concepts like honor and duty are very important. The gangsters are totally devoted to their 'ojou', and the grandfather is a really tough gangster. In the last episode he says: "A gangster should never apologise!" -- being a gangster means taking the consequences of your actions, too.
As touch as these guys are, they have a really soft core. There's a lot of emotion being shown -- it's intended to be comical, but I thought it was very interesting to see these rock-hard gangsters, who don't think twice about beating someone into a bloody pulp, show their emotions so freely, without being 'girly' for even a second. That's something we need to see more of, I think.

It's based on a manga that runs for far longer than the series itself, and it shows: there are some plots that you just know run far longer in the manga, but are actually pretty short in the anime. And there's not really a propert 'end' to the series either, but it's satisfactory anyway.

Good points:
- Original concept;
- Funny and serious at the same time;
- Beautiful ending animation!
Bad spoints:
- Not every plot is as well-rounded as it could have been;
- 'Ugly' character designs (though probably quite intentionally!).

In the end, it's a 7.5.

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