Gokusen is one of my all time favorite TV series that has a school setting. It follows the story of Yamaguchi Kumiko (Yukie Nakama), a newbie teacher who happens to be the granddaughter of a Yakuza boss. Each episode deals with one of the students’ problem and how Yankumi helps solve them. They tackled issues like bullying, teacher problems, parent problems and other things that high schoolers deal with.
It has three seasons, the first has 12 episodes while the other two have 10 each and a movie was released too. A lot of good actors were Yankumi’s former students – Jun Matsumoto, Shun Oguri, Kazuya Kamenashi, Jin Akanishi, Keisuke Koide, Kengo Kora, Shohei Miura and Haruma Miura were some of them.
I watch this from time to time specially when I run out of new, interesting films or dramas to watch. I still laugh and get teary eyed at some scenes. I can’t pick which one is my favorite but I like the episodes after Yankumi’s identity gets revealed to one of her students and they finally warm up to her. As a teacher myself, I know how hard it is to establish rapport and to gain the trust of students. I have taught high schoolers once and they are in that stage when their emotions are turbulent and they have a lot of issues to face.
What I love about Yankumi (apart from being kickass) is that she believes in her students and she did not give up on them. This is what I learned from her (though her methods are different).
Gokusen is not perfect nor realistic but it is entertaining and heart-warming. The plots of each episode follow a pattern and events are mostly predictable but they’re never boring. The characters have a lot of similarities but are somehow unique. It is one of my guilty pleasures, something I watch when I want to feel light.