Season 01 (2002)
--The story of a young, idealistic teacher who enters Shirokin Gakuen with hopes of making a difference in the students' lives. However, Yamaguchi Kumiko (Nakama Yukie) is in for a rude awakening when she finds that she will be the homeroom teacher of 3-D, the hardest class to maintain in the school. The students have multi-colored hair, sloppy uniforms, and show absolutely no respect to her. The leader of the class, Sawada Shin is lazy but bright and shows some interest in Yamaguchi when he notices that she is very different from other teachers. The students try to bully her to make her quit, but their attempts don't get them very far.
What the class and the rest of the school does not know is that Yamaguchi Kumiko is actually the 4th generation heir to the Ooedo Group, a notorious yakuza clan. Even though her family would like her to take the title of Ojou when her grandfather dies, they have accepted the fact that Yamaguchi would rather be a teacher.
Eventually, the students learn to respect their quirky teacher because of her devotion to them, and even give her a nickname: Yankumi.
First off, let me say that Nakama Yukie is an amazing actress, although in this show she is only shown as flighty, idealistic, or naive, she has a range of talents that I will hopefully cover in later show reviews. Yankumi is the type of teacher everyone should strive to be, well if they are a teacher, she's caring, forthright, dedicated, and resilient. This season of Gokusen was the best overall because the cast contained a lot of modern heavy hitters who, back in 2002, were just starting out, so it was alot of raw talent that played well off of each other. I'm fearful of putting any specifics about the show in fear of spoiling someone's enjoyment, but suffice it to say, that season one has a broad range of emotional turmoil, familial crisis', and best of all a driven need to become better together.
Should you watch this make sure to watch also the Special that came out in 2003!
Subs: SARs Fansub, probably one of the best fansub sites around has sub'd the entire first season: http://www.nyaa.se/?page=torrentinfo&tid=315031&fb_source=message
Season 02 (2005)
--Half a year has passed and Shirokin Gakuen has closed down. Yamaguchi Kumiko (Nakama Yukie) finds herself a teacher of a few young kids who don't really benefit much from her style of teaching. Through some twist of fate, she is offered a job as a teacher in Kurogin Gakuen.
She becomes the teacher of a delinquent 3D class which make her previous students look like angels. In order to protect her job, she must again hide her true identity — the fact that she is the 4th generation of the Oedo Family, a prominent yakuza group.
Now not to say that any of the hotties in this season are any less important, but whereas the first season had a lot of modern A list talents that meshed well together, there was a mix of A, and B list, talents here which made of a great show with a few bumps along the way. The show is supposedly half a year after the last, in reality about 2 years have passed, and Yankumi is again the teacher of choice for a class of hoodlums, or yankees. This season I would say that overall there was less familial drama and more social problems presented and solved. It was a very good season, literally and figuratively, ranking second to the first. Although my one negative on this is that, unlike the first season which flowed well with character development and interactions which allowed for a consistent watch through in one sit down, the second season I feel would have to be taken in two parts to avoid the brief hiccup/lull that happens mid season in the transition from disgruntled to hopeful students.
Subs: The infamous, and awesome, SARs fansub, also sub'd season two! So give all thanks and praise to them for their awesome work in the arena of fansubbing!!! http://www.nyaa.se/?page=torrentinfo&tid=319072&showfiles=1
Season 03 (2008)
--Sawatari Goro now works at Akado High School as a vice principal. Although the head director of the school board speficically orders him to handle the problematic class 3-D, the students are just too much for him. So Sawatari goes far away to a southern island to search for Yankumi, and convince her to work for Akado. Yankumi accepts the offer, only to find that her class (again) is full of punks, where two rival groups of students are always at each other's throats. Will Yankumi's strong belief in students and teaching work this time?
Now before I continue, please note that I have shown that I love Japanese Dramas, especially Gokusen, and the actors and actresses that bring us such fine work. The reason I say this is because season 3 of Gokusen was sadly a bit of drag to watch and took multiple sittings to get through it. Season 3 presented us with B and C list actors in their youth who, although working very hard, came across as a broken record of hating teachers and being rebels and with no real familial or societal emphasis that would've assisted in bringing the viewer in, and getting them more involved. Towards the end, the viewer can build more of connection to the characters, but as soon as they do the season is over, which break the connection in its infancy. I would say that overall I do feel that it brings the Gokusen drama to a nice close and does lead into the movie that comes after rather nicely. So it is a good watch in order to bring closure to anyone who has watched the other two seasons, and prepares well for the final movie.
Subs: I think I'm in love with SARs fansub, they have gone through the trouble of helping me enjoy shows better and I can't help but yet again thank them for their hard work! http://www.nyaa.se/?page=torrentinfo&tid=326199
Gokusen: The Movie (2009)
--A passionate teacher, Kumiko Yamaguchi, a.k.a. Yankumi, is now overseeing the new students of Class 3D of Akado High School, who still have not opened up to her and are giving her a hard time.
One day, the students of 3D get harassed by street hoodlums. Then, Reita, a leader figure of 3D, shows up and beats up the hoodlums, yelling “Keep your hands off my friends.” The next day, the guys beat up by Reita come storming into their school. Principal Sawatari berates the students for getting mixed up with a gang, and gives Kumiko an ultimatum: “You’re fired the next time a 3D student gets into trouble.” Then Reita tells Kumiko that he doesn’t want to owe her anything, and he takes off by himself to settle the score with the gang…
Meanwhile, trouble was also brewing for the former 3D student who just graduated. The police are after Ren for being involved in an illegal drug transaction. Upset Kumiko tries to find him with the other former 3D students. However, they later find out from her grandfather, the head of the Oedo Family, the shocking identity of the mastermind pulling the strings of the drug deal Ren is being accused of…
I would have to say that the movie was awesome, well an awesome finish. It brought back a lot of the characters that were our favorites over the past few seasons and even revitalized the social aspects that were missing from the last season. Her current class of students in this movie were forgettable and an afterthought, but honestly were not really a sticking point to the story, so it's understandable. I found that this movie truly encompassed her ideals that students can make reliable lifelong connections that mean something. Yankumi throughout it all has been an inspiration. Yes we can all get tired sometimes of her repetitive rants, but they are said with such affection and conviction, we can't help but nod along and listen through, whether we've heard it a million times before.
Subs: Here is the link to the hardsubbed movie! I hope you will enjoy the whole series as much as I have. http://kickass.to/gokusen-the-movie-j-movie-t6732583.html