Sunday, September 12

Female GTO

Gokusen the anime.

Kumiko Yamaguchi isn't your usual young lady. At 23 years old, she's quite attractive and naturally pretty, but she dresses unfashionably, keeps her hair in ponytails that make her look younger, wears glasses and views the world in an optimistic (if often naive) way. When she is hired to teach math in an all boys' school, she's thrown at a class of delinquents and bullies who would like nothing better than to force this geeky-looking new teacher to quit.
But unknown to the students and faculty of the school, Kumiko is the 4th generation heir to a notorious Yakuza family, and she's no stranger to handling threats and attack. So when she gets riled up, Kumiko breaks out the Yakuza tactics and doles out some school justice in her own way. Adding to the frenzy is Kumiko's own Yakuza family, who try in their own twisted fashion to 'help' Kumiko. But Kumiko has to walk a fine line and keep her past a secret, or her dream to live a good, honest living will all be for naught.

While Gokusen's general storyline is similar to the more popular GTO (teacher with a shady past teaching delinquents), there are quite a few significant differences. Eikichi Onizuka was a biker gang member- Kumiko is an actual Yakuza heiress- sorta like O-ren Ishii from Kill BIll- and packs a mean punch and a kick when she deals with her own 'family' of thugs and scoundrels. Second, Gokusen is set in an all-boy's school, and Kumiko is a GIRL, so these add in a lot of different factors, such as love interests and dealing with situations in specific ways. And of course, Kumiko's a pretty sober and level-headed character- at least until she switches to Yakuza mode- and then she's all street criminal tough and savvy.
The animation is pretty good- exceptionally so, I'd say... and the art style has that more Japanese-sy look (characters actually look Japanese) instead of the usual anime big-eyed mold. While most of the characters look like caricatures, at least Kumiko herself is pretty and pleasing to look at, if in a slightly geeky, offbeat way.

After watching the first two episodes, I came off with a positive feel for this series, and I'll probably check out the rest of the episodes soon... or at least make it a point to watch the show on Animax later this month.

The anime is based on a live-action drama series. Here's the LIVE version of Kumiko... Gosh she's cute.

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