The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gokusen / ごくせん / ごくせん2 / ごくせん 3

Season 1

Never in my life could I have anticipated nor even hoped to derive as much pleasure from an overly popularized Manga turned Anime turned JDorama about high school life as I did when I decided to give Gokusen a try.

I mean, I ended up spending an entire WEEKEND hooked on this sh*t, and I even tolerated constant buffering and shut-downs at in order to watch every, single episode from 1 through 3, including the special episode for season 1, the television special for season 2, and finally the movie that concluded the series once and for all.

Heck, I'm even in love with Matsumoto Jun now!

Matsumoto Jun as Sawada Shin

Furthermore, I'm tempted to search for and buy the Manga series, but that is doubtful at this point.

For the only person out there to not have watched this yet, it's about a mousy girl (Nakama Yukie as Yamaguchi Kumiko (aka Yankumi (students), Ojou (brotherhood), and Kumicho (potential lovers)) who grows up with her Yakuza boss grandfather and longs to become a teacher who will make a difference.

She ends up fulfilling that dream by landing her first position at an all-boys academy where she is placed in a 3D room (last place) filled with high school rejects no one else on the staff can get under control.

As a former teacher, it was easy to relate to this dream and her mentality as a hopeful heart-reacher wanting to make a huge difference in even one child's life.

Unlike Yankumi, possessing her martial arts abilities and inhuman strength are too much to ask of the average, human educator, though.

After completing my first year of college, I learned quite by surprise that today's Japan is a lot like the late 1950's and early 1960's United States, and Gokusen helped to prove that strange fact.

It was like watching a modern-day version of the novel The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton.

Anyway, the Japanese actors were a lot hotter than any American actor could hope to be, and that was part of the reason for my interest in this series.

In seasons 1, 2, and 3, along with the movie, Yankumi was forced to have to show her fidelity toward and honest concern for the boys by helping out whenever they got into trouble with rival gangs or bad adults in order for her to gain their trust.

It may have seemed repetitious to some and pointless to others for the added hype, but getting to see a new group of cute, senior high boys struggle to maintain their last shred of dignity while facing bad at every turn proved interesting and worthwhile to me.

The boys in seasons 2 and 3, as well as in the movie, kept commenting about the fact that Yankumi had no sex-appeal while in season 1, Shin had the hots for teacher, as did the coach, a gorgeous truant officer (Sawamura Ikki as Shinohara Tomoya), and one of the ever-faithful yakuza brothers (Kaneko Ken as Asakura Tetsu).

I think she has a cute butt and a very attractive face - along with gorgeous hair I wish I had!

Of the four, different versions of the same story, I liked the first season best, and I liked the cast best as well ~

Gokusen Cast Season 1

Oguri Shun (Uchiyama Haruhiko / Uchi) portrayed loverboy with a secret affinity for his single and struggling okaasan.

Season 2 had Koide Keisuke as Hyuuga Kosuke, who got a night job at a club that had a secret gambling room he discovered by mistake, and when his okaasan came to his rescue, it was the most heart-wrenching scene of the entire series, I think.

In season 3 it was Miura Haruma as Kazama Ren who secretly vowed to help his older sister so she wouldn't have to work so hard to support them.

It was season 2 that had the best-looking cast members, and yet for me it turned out to be the least memorable of the 4 shows - I'm not sure why, though.

Gokusen 2 cast members

Akanishi Jin and Kamenashi Kazuya are smokin' hot regardless, and in season 2, they start out as mortal enemies due to a misunderstanding that is later cleared up thanks in part to the tireless nosiness of Yankumi.

Hayami Mokomichi was in this one as Tsuchiya Hikaru - a tall delinquent who liked to carry around an ornamental fan and had a very, loud mouth.

In the first Gokusen, it is Sawada Shin who plays the brooding leader with little to say about anything, and in season 2, it is Kazuya's Odagiri Ryu who spends a majority of the show moping in silence about his overbearing city official father.

In the third season, the same character is portrayed by Miura Haruma as Kazama Ren, the boy with looks and brains but no voice who worries that his older sister may have lost out on a chance at marriage because of him.

Season 3's cast members weren't bad, and like all 3, the two leads were really attractive, so it's hard to say which season had the best eye candy.

Gokusen 3 cast members

Of them all, I liked Miura Haruma as Kazama Ren best, though his best friend turned enemy returned best friend again, Takaki Yuya as Ogata Yamato was a real cutie for sure.

Most memorable of them all, though, was Nakama Junta as Ichimura Rikiya - a dude with a bad attitude from start to finish, but who proved most loyal whenever push came to shove in season 3.

I'm sure no one will agree with me, but I kept getting a Mick Jagger vibe whenever I saw him, and maybe that has everything to do with his full, luscious lips, eh?

Like a lot of people who watched this at, I agree that more of the original cast members from the first Gokusen should have returned for the 2, 3, and movie versions - ESPECIALLY Matsumoto Jun's Shin.

In the first season, Yankumi fell in love with Shinohara Tomoya (the gorgeous cop), and in season 2, it was Tanihara Shosuke as Kujo Takuma (girls school teacher) - so, what happened in season 3, I don't recall - Ah yes - the school's visiting physician, Koizumi Kotaro as Natsume Seichi.

In the movie, Sawamura Ikki returns as a potential political candidate who turns out to be a really nasty guy this time - but I was super-glad to see his fine ass again regardless.

In the first season, Yankumi realizes rather quickly who the gang leader is in her class, but her first tussle is with Waki Tomohiro as Kumai Teruo (Kuma), who ends up coming back for all seasons and the movie.

He was so adorable, funny, and useful to the success of this series! And, it was awesome that they let HIM be the dude who actually gets the girl of his dreams, too.

Kuma means bear, and he was a lovable, stuffed animal for sure.

Still, it would have been great if AkaJin AND MatsuJun returned for at least one, other season.

Like, in the movie finale, Jun's Shin could have walked up to her after the battle royale, held out his hand to her, and whisked her off on some romantic get-away.

AkaJin's Yabuki Hayato could have at least appeared during that televised portion of the stand-off between Yankumi and her nemesis, too, or been one of the characters to meet up with her on the path to school at the end of the show.

Season 2's Odagiri Ryu's (Kamenashi Kazuya) character returns in the movie as a teacher-in-training, but Ryu is not played by Kazuya, and wiki has it wrong, so I don't know who the guy is that portrays him - sorry!

wiki has him listed this way: Saito Takumi as Mamiya (Ara High's alumni)

and Asianwiki has him listed this way: Kazuya Kamenashi - Ryu Odagiri

if this is the same Kazuya, I'm stunned

These are scenes from the movie in which graduated 3D students meet up at Kuma's Gyoza & Ramen shop:

The 3D boys in the movie are apparently popular with the little girls today, but they barely received much screen time, with only one fight scene between the little boy leader and a motorcycle gang, which Yankumi ended up helping to save the day again by intervening at the precise moment as usual.

I thought the silly marching band music, the quirky sound effects, and the rubber face of the head sensei, vice principal, and then principal - Namase Katsuhisa as Sawatari Goro (Kyoto) were hilarious every, single time.

Also, it may be an old trick, but since I never saw it happen before, I can't wait to pull the finger on the cheek trick whenever I get a chance!

See, you actually do learn things by watching fru-fru Asian dramas!


  1. No, wiki does not have it wrong. Odagiri Ryu is played in the movie by the same actor who portrayed him in the second season: Kazuya Kamenashi. He just changed his haircut, that's all.

  2. And most likely also put some weight. :))


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