the usagi incidents

20050917

Joou no Kyoushitsu



Summary: (from wikipedia) Move over, Kimpachi-sensei! Maya Akutsu-sensei of Joou no Kyoshitsu is vying for a place next to you in the small-screen teachers' Hall of Fame, and she is obviously a woman who gets what she wants. Amami Yuki plays Maya Akutsu, a sixth-grade teacher who dresses all in black and is repeatedly referred to as "oni sensei" (the teacher from hell), when, in fact, she seems to be an ultrarealist at heart. The drama focuses on a year in her classroom and, particularly, the effect it has on 12-year-old Kazumi--a nice but mediocre student whose parents want to send her to a private secondary school. And what a surprising change of pace this classroom is! There is no slouching, talking back or disregard for the rules here. The teacher is actually in charge, and she takes no whining from the kids, who are shivering in their chairs, fearful of her wrath. When the students protest her system and call it unfair, she tells them to open their eyes. In Japanese society, she lectures, those who work hard or have influence get all the privileges, and the lazy or less affluent end up with the leftovers. She says only six in 100 people can expect to be happy and the elite already have most of the advantages and access to the best medical care. She tells them that, as products of the public school system, they will have to scramble to get anything at all, and most of them will end up as "bonjin" (ordinary people), to whom those on the top will be happy to leave the soldiering and service-sector jobs. When the kids counter that grades aren't everything and the sports and entertainment worlds still beckon, the teacher argues an even smaller percentage will make it in those fields. She may just be telling it as it is, but it is a pretty bleak message for the first day of sixth grade.

Review: I caught this series in about the middle (ep 6 or so) and have been religiously watching ever since. Tonight was the series finale and it did NOT disappoint. Amami Yuki of ex-Takarazuka Otokoyaku fame was perfect for this role as the teacher is supposed to be schoolmarm, and almost mannish in her qualities. Not just physically, either. This series wormed its way into my heart, despite all of the contraversy surrounding it. The novel just came out last week, and even if I can't read all the kanji, I'll be damned if I let that stop me.

Also, episode 11 was the best of the series. It tied everything in perfectly. And we finally got to see Akutsu-sensei smile.

This series is now in my top favourites ever. If you get a chance, by all means, see this series!

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