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The Gokusen #2: Kumiko's Way PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Monday, 04 December 2006 04:00
Gokusen, Volume 2No high school anime would be complete without the school trip and cultural festival episodes, both of which are served up on this volume of Gokusen - but before that, Yankumi's cover is blown as Shin figures out her secret, and Fujiyama has problems dealing with a bad case of bullying...

6 - Kyo-san's Knockout Performance?
Shin's still trying to figure out how to prove Yankumi's been the one saving his classmates from trouble - he's even been on the receiving end of one of her rescues himself, although she was disguised as a pro-wrestler at the time.  When he spies her being picked up from school by some of her associates - obviously yakuza - he finally has his chance to find out what she's been hiding.  After tracking her back to the clan's home, Shin sneaks onto the premises, and Yankumi comes within inches of her cover being blown - but some swift thinking by Kyo saves the day.  Or does it..?


7 - Shirokin Boys' Choir?  Say What!?
Fujiyama-sensei's finally managed to round up enough willing boys to start her choir - it seems determination eventually pays off, even if she's only got four members so far, but her efforts are still a work in progress.  One of the boys on her hitlist, Ichikawa, seems to be being bullied by other boys in his class - he's spineless at best, and unable to fight back for himself, but despite Fujiyama's best efforts she can't get him to speak about his problems.  Meanwhile, there are some rumours doing the rounds about why Fujiyama had to leave her last school - and like most rumours, there's some truth in them...

Choir practiceBad memories

8 - The Class Trip into Hell Begins!
It time for the annual schhol trip, and the kids are going to Okinawa - Yankumi and Fujiyama are quite looking forward to the sunshine and warm seas, but to the teachers who've had to make the trip before it's a case of impending disaster, thanks to the kids' reputation (mostly deserved) for being uncontrollable.  Once they reach Okinawa, the game of cat-and-mouse between students and teachers begins - but when Shin and the others sneak out of the hotel for a nighttime trip into town, Uchi ends up in trouble with the local thugs...

Joys of summerHoodlums

9 - Schoolground Battle Without Honour or Humanity!?
It's time for the cultural festival, and Yankumi's class are planning on running a Host Club for the day - not exactly what you'd expect them to be interested in, but there you go.  As with most events at this school, the long-standing teachers are dreading it - especially as Tsuruta, a suspended student, has been given permission to come to the school for the day.  Tsuruta's got a reputation for being a real problem student - and no sooner is he back though the gate than Minami manages to piss him off...


Kyo puts on a good act to make it look like Yamkumi's in debt to the clan, rather than in charge of it.  Shin doesn't buy it, though - but rather than blow her cover in general, he seems happy enough to have solved the mystery and is willing to keep it to himself.  I'm actually quite glad that little arc is done with, though, as it could have gotten rather tired if it had been spun out for the whole series.

Episode 7 covers the serious material for this disc, with one of Fujiyama-sensei's students having problems she's only too familiar with - except that she failed to deal with them properly lsat time around, resulting in the suicide of one of her students at the time.  She really doesn't want Ichikawa to go the same way, but isn't at all sure how to stop him.  It's a different side of her from the usual "look at all those cute boys!" persona - a little bit of character development there, which I have to say I was surprised to see.  I had thought Gokusen was more shallow than that, so it's a pleasant surprise to see that's not quite the case.

The remaining two episodes get back to the comedy side of things, with the summer and festival episodes.  There's nothing here that hasn't been done in any other high-school comedy, and Gokusen is no better or worse at it that any other series - they're competently done, but nothing spectacular, although being set in an all-boys school does limit the fanservice opportunities somewhat.

Overall, then, another enjoyable volume, although probably not quite as good as volume one was.  There's a general outline that all high-school series seem to stick to, and Gokusen follows it quite faithfully - I did a volume of Cromartie High School just after watching this, which made the pattern really obvious as they both covered pretty much the same territory.  That's okay as long as it still gets the desired effect from the viewer, though, and Gokusen definitely raised a chuckle here and there.  Good stuff.

Rating - ****

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