Golden Rec – Gomenne Seishun! Review
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote: “All are architects of fate, living in these walls of time- all are architects of fate, so look not mournfully into the past; it comes not back again.”
This amazing quote above, could be the tagquote for the series and you’ll see later why it captures the essence of Gomen ne Seishun.
The story revolves around two schools that are very close (in distance) to each other; an all-girls Catholic High School, Sanjou, and an all-boys Buddhist High School, Tonkou. Due to low enrollment and budget issues it’s proposed that students from a class, from each school, that are ready to graduate, will be mixed with the other, as a test for the upcoming merger. And things begin with quite the chaos ensuing. Then things get ugly, then get better and then get better- better.
The main character, Heisuke (or Droopy Kappa) is a gentle, calm-mannered Tonkou teacher that is both movitated and being held down by the guilt of his past; his reckless action as a Tonkou student a decade+ ago caused a very unpleasant aftermath for his friend, Satoshi, and Yuko, the girl he liked, but also threw the Sanjou school into a huge debt while cancelling the co-ed festival with Tonkou. So that dictates the life he is leading, trying to achieve the merge, execute the culture festival and then resign.
Doing things in order to only atone for your sins, can never truly let you go forward- you need to first apologize, let others forgive you, forgive yourself and then you can start anew and move towards into the future. The past is his weakness, but in an unconventional way is also his strength– it’s as if he was destined to be a teacher and trying to change students’ life for the better. In a weird way, he builds up on that “weakness” and even if that is sometimes holding him back to start thinking about his own happiness , he heals by making others happy. The brave journey he undergoes during the series to achieve that is quite remarkable.
Risa, (or Black Tiger) the second main character, is on the other hand a strong-willed Sanjou guidance counselor that demands discipline from the students; her past has been overshadowed by the ruckus her sister was associated with and thus learn to cope by not opening much to others and being more of a lone-wolf. (correction, kickass lone wolf!) She does love her students (the epitome of tough-love lol) though and is also keen on the co-ed front acknowledging that the positives outweigh the negatives. She and Heisuke form a formidable team in order to maintain the co-ed status, overcoming difficulties, planning things to tackle the obstacles coming their way, and ultimately learning to share things and bond together.
The students are amazingly hilarious yet mundanely deep in their own way – you get to see them exploring their feelings toward each other, appreciate one another and growing up together; I don’t wanna single anyone out because each one of them gives something special to the series.
The adults, are also essential to the story and funnily enough while contradicting initially the mentality of the students in the end it’s shown they’re not much different than them- in fact most of them are even more kid-ish in their hearts! I liked all of them as well, but I think the one that stole my heart is the Tonkou principal and radio (great platform to vent and get goodies out of it too!) personality, Daizaburo. The radio scenes had me rolling!
As I’m writing this review, I’m listening to the OST which is downright awesome; every single track is carefully picked. My personal favorites (and those that are played the most, I think) are track 03 Electric Phantoms (guitar riff is brilliant), 08 Void and the one that screams school vibe, track 16 titled School Life (and tr.15 which is its soft acoustic version) very much appropriately!
Did I mention that in part of why I watched the series was the intriguing title? Now that I finished it, I guess the “sorry” from the title could be interpreted in many ways- it could be Heisuke’s sorry to his youth that was left interrupted, it could be a general tone of “sorry youth, but I’m leaving you behind to enter the adult world”, it could be a sorry that it was left too late to be said and so on. I love the title (lol, isn’t there anything I don’t gush over regarding this series huh lol) because I don’t know, to me it seems that the “sorry” is a gentle one, a sorry that includes a silent understanding and necessary compromise.
So to sum it up, it is a story about looking mournfully into the past. It is about putting yourself into a never ending cycle of self-halting and not progressing. It is about regrets. But it is also a story about teamwork and learning to co-operate together. It is about opening your heart and mind to others. It is about youth and then some. Life is contradictory like that, some you win, some you lose. But you have to go for it! And you have to go for it right now. The people that never make mistakes, are the people who do nothing.
Youth is a big wall of time in our lives, it’s probably the most colorful wall out of everyone else actually; but it is one wall of our lives- we drink it in, we savour every moment of it but we have to let go of it when the time comes. Graduation is part of life. And that graduation might be literal, or a fictional graduation from one chapter of our life to the other. With that said, that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t rejoice when thinking about life in school. But that’s just it-it should be a beautiful sense of shining nostalgia. And not the kind of one that holds you down, constantly making you compare your nowadays situation to then, because that “then” will by default be, most of the times, better.
“Youth is a valuable time rented by God, be it a comedy or a series or a horror but at some point a change must occur otherwise you will be made to pay late fees”.
I absolutely, absolutely recommend this series, it was a pleasure and an honor to watch. I don’t know exactly what it is that made me loved it that much. (apart from whatever I mentioned above, obviously lol) Is it because I felt like it was like watching an anime/or reading a manga at times through the often surreal things that were unfolding? Was it my own nostalgia from my highschool days that hit home? I can’t put my finger on it, but it was one of those series, that you don’t only enjoy watching, but you feel richer emotionally after the ending. It taught me (more like reminded me) a few things I might have pushed in the corner of my mind and for that I thank you Gomen ne Seishun!
A big applaud to Kankuro Kudo for his very bright and intelligent script, to Ryo Nishikido for his adorable awkward expressions and demeanour as Hara-sensei, to Hikari Mitsushima for the quick alternation between being shyly sweet and yelling the other second as Black Tiger, to the young cast doing an amazing job, to the veteran actors, to the directors, the music supervisors to every single staff member that made this series this catapult of superb awesomeness!
And remember, there’s no “I” in team guys! : )
Farewell but not goodbye Gomenne Seishun, I will remember you everytime I howl my ass to walk around my old highschool!
Overall Grade: 9,79/10
mild spoilers ahead describing the top-3 moments that stood out to me the most (which was really difficult to pick as I can think of at least another dozen and some more) so if you haven’t finished the series, it’s better to look away
1. Hara-sensei confessing his “mistake” and why he prolonged it; officially cutting the cord of guilt and closing the book on his back-and-forth relationship with youth starting anew. It really was a warm moment, a closure to a part of his life that made him learn a lot. And Ryo did a brilliant job in this scene, absolutely great.
2. The farewell to the president; amazing scene highlighting the togetherness of the whole class and the impulsiveness and liveliness of the students bidding goodbye to Nakai who realized those kind of sappy moments are the best kind and better not to avoid them, but live them!
3. The love confession scene; come on, I mean like “there were cars passing!” in words of Risa! I must have spent a minute laughing watching this scene because it was so them! Of course there would be cars coming out from nowhere, honking and waiting for them to go sideways only to honk again. It was an unconventional confession, a scene fitting both and it was a statement that sometimes there’s no need for magic fireworks and complex plans. You just need to be honest with yourself, put your feelings out there and then what happens, happens. Even if what happens, is you feel like confessing in the middle of the road, lol. Simplicity ftw!
EPIC SHOOOOW IS EPIC YO 😀