Episode 1 & 2 Review: Gomen ne Seishun! (2014)
Gomen ne Seishun! It’s here and it’s so vivid that there’s no way it could stop transmitting magnificent signals through your eyes’ retina! Kudo Kankuro’s new drama on TBS saw the light of day (or a Sunday’s glowing moonlight to be more precise) on the 12th of October, 2014 and even if it’s too early to talk about a great visual attempt, allow me to say that I’m already impressed. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a series featuring Hikari Mitsushima and Ryo Nishikido (whom I first met on my favorite drama up to this moment, One Litre of Tears ~ ikite ne, zutto ikite) as the main figures of the story alongside numerous names that complete the cast with only one intention as it seems so far; offer the best of themselves in front of the cameras.
So there you go, imagine two neighboring schools whose principals, teachers, students and beliefs don’t get along. They don’t get along at all. If they could bring in artillery, rifles, grenades, chemical warfare and anything that could be used as a weapon against each other and turn a region of about 100 meters into a battlefield, believe me, they would have done it. Sanjo is an all-girls Catholic school and Tonkou is an all-boys Buddhist school with the only female figure being Mai Awashima, better known as… Madonna. Heisuke Hara (Ryo Nishikido) used to be a student at Tonkou school and now he’s one of its teachers and Risa Hachiya (Hikari Mitsushima) is a teacher at Sanjo School and although they don’t seem to relate to each other at all, one way or another their past the way it reflects at the present through a chain reaction of events is bound to bring them closer. And we’re only at the beginning.
You have to love the whole fast forward scene with Risa, she’s like a catholic school bike police! And the way she disarmed from his cellphone the Tonkou student she thought he was filming one of her students! She’s hilariously frightening! But what’s more frightening is the moments when Risa, as a student counselor, the student body president and Sanjo office nun appear together, it feels like facing the holy inquisition! Whereas, in front of them, the Tonkou Buddhist principal office feels like a bunch of sinners bound to face the flames of penance! The important thing is to merge their neighboring schools so as to work together without financial losses respectively, but what feels seemingly easy it’s definitely not at all, for aforementioned reasons. Simple things in life can get hard to accomplish when things like ego, strict idealism and narrow minds get in the middle. Yet, all those lunatic people, especially the older ones, you simply surrender and laugh with their humorous seriousness! And Heisuke’s family is one of a kind, they are all perverts, both his brother and his girlfriend, including the father who is an old satyr!
One hour of a first episode is a hell of a time (in a good manner of speaking, of course) to experience various funny scenes and cherish the conflicting relations of both schools. And that’s the moment when it gets serious and emotion comes to the surface. Back in his Tonkou student days, Heisuke loved a girl from Sanjo, Yuko (Haru). He thought everything was flowing well and step by step he was getting closer, at least he thought so. Until he found out that the girl he liked was going out with his best friend, Satoshi Tsutaya (Kento Nagayama), the person who was advising and supported him, or so it seemed, the most concerning his emotional matter. Heisuke’s traumatic experience occurred when he saw them kissing from the top of the opposite building in the middle of the firework night. The whole scene was twice as loud as the highest firework and at the same time his own star was burning down. The fact that he was trying to fire at them his own fireworks was really funny, I mean, are you serious?! Are you trying to firework them up?! But it was funny because he didn’t hit them actually, otherwise it would have been a demented tragedy! It was definitely saddening to watch Heisuke being devastated while everyone else was celebrating their town’s event. An event that turned into an urgent situation because one of his fireworks hit the school’s chapel and set it on fire. That’s his deepest secret. Yuko and Satoshi were rescued and they were considered suspects, but due to lack of evidence there were no charges. Shortly after Yuko dropped school on her own and Satoshi was expelled. You have to love how the Buddhist statue turns into life that is no other than Heisuke’s maternal figure in which Heisuke finds comfort by saying everything that bothers him and expressing the thoughts he cannot share with others.
What’s even more interesting is the fact that Risa is Yuko’s younger sister and that’s the moment when things start getting complicated. Risa is deadly serious, determined and she’s got a strong character, one way or another things go her way and whenever there’s a problem she roars like a thunder in the open; of course that’s the moment when everyone else gets silenced! Heisuke is led by his emotions and he understands his students, so through his personal experience as a student he cherishes his thoughts with his own students, not as a teacher, but as a senior and even when he says something goofy or wrongly expressed, he’s sincere and has an elegance of his own. So the merging will progress with an experiment! One coed class for each school with both girls and boys to see how it works. A small step for humanity, a giant leap for Tonkou students, hell yeah!
Although it’s not as easy as Heisuke and his students would think, especially when the bell rang they received a girly frontal attack! Whereas Risa in her own class by simply hitting the book on the desk alongside her unique… and shocking verbal attack (“first of all, i am a virgin”) she managed to get everything work according to her military law. And… as expected, she rushed back in Sanjo to fix things in the girls-boys class. Well, even now, Heisuke’s losing control of the class and it’s getting worse day by day! Risa’s work flowing well, although she has her own little troubles, like the boys inside the toilet bathing one another and the student’s… arousing moment!
In the meantime, I shouldn’t skip one very important factor, Yuzuru Ebisawa (Daiki Shigeoka) and Amari Abe’s (Aoi Marikawa) special relationship, they have their humorous moments like the scene by the river in which Ebisawa ends inside the water, but it’s a difficult situation due to the relationship of the schools, which means they can’t be together. Ebisawa though publicly confessed his emotions without caring about consequences, he was just being his sincere self. This caused trouble between the two schools and the merging experiment was about to blow up into pieces. That’s the moment when Heisuke comes into play and with his speech, in which he implements his personal experience, carves a knife upon the heart old-fashioned beliefs concerning these two schools!
What I wanted to say is the school regulation that restricts you in the first place was made by adults with such ridiculous reasons. Because your ridiculous seniors were guilty of committing just one hopeless blunder, you were separated. Girls despise boys. Boys became subservient. In any case Tonkou neglected Tonkou self-discipline anyway and arrived to the present day. Don’t you think it’s idiotic? Even knowing the real reason, because he’s Tonkou, because she’s Sanjo, they can’t date. If anything, I want to praise Ebisawa and Abe-san who break the rule. Thank you for giving me the trigger to think. Alright, applause. Not doing it eh. You won’t, of course. But you know, let’s take this chance and think. Are boys really detestable? Are girls really troublesome? Didn’t you just decide on that? Are you influenced by people around you? Are you not looking because you’re too close? Think about it. Face each other. I’m sure you would find something good! So that six months from now you all think that “I’m glad I was in the coed class”, I will do my best too. That’s all.
He won the hearts not only of both the austere student body president and Risa, but of all his students, which was a big achievement. Everyone was moved by his simple yet spot on thoughts that finally such a matter was put into words by someone who can’t stand this situation anymore. So his dream to go on with a joint cultural event, something he couldn’t achieve fifteen years ago, is about to begin. But, what the hell in the end of the second episode? What a twist of events was that?! Heisuke, Risa and… Satoshi at the same place! All I can do at this very moment is look forward to the third episode of Gomen ne Seishun! You should too!