Sensei wa Erai! [Japanese Drama 2008]

August 3, 2008 at 12:42 am (Japanese Dramas 2008) ()

Sensei wa Erai! is a drama special that aired on 04.12.08. This drama tells the story of three students: Matsuki Souta (Nakajima Yuto), Umeno Wataru (Chinen Yuri) and Takekura Rin (Arioka Daiki) as they attend junior high school. Their teacher is the infamous Uzaken [Uzaki Kenya] (Yusuke Santamaria) who is very strict and is considered annoying by the entire class. They set out to change him but learn a very valuable lesson on the way.

The drama opens up with Matsuki, who is very excited to make the transition into a junior high school student. Now he can enjoy more mature things like going to Shibuya without a guardian. That whole scene plays out a little later in the drama but before that, he arrives to school and goes to class. Along with classmate and friend Wataru (Wata), they find out that their teacher is Uzaki Kenya, a very annoying teacher. He is known for the Uzaken Seven Wonders, which are seven rumors about him that make the students bemoan having him.

After asking Wata various times to go to Shibuya, he agrees and along with Takekura, they take a trip to buy boxer shorts for Mitsuki (now that he is junior high, he decides he can’t wear the child’s underpants that his mom gets for him anymore). On the trip, he runs into old friend, Gunjou Hayato (Yamada Ryosuke). He serves as somewhat of a rival for Mitsuki as he is determined not to lose to him. The two boys went to grade school together and one day an incident arrived which created this friendly rivalry. Matsuki pooped in the school’s toilet and the other students were so digusted by this. Gunjou defends him but Matsuki feels that he kind of looks down of him. Gunjou is very smart and is in a private junior high school (while the others attend public junior high). He really believes in the power of a teacher and that the ones that a student encounters changes their life. After discussing this idea a little bit, Matsuki says that his teacher is a wonderful one and seeing that he is lying, Gunjou asks to meet him. Matsuki then agrees and that’s what leads to the next section of the drama.

After seeing his father read a coaching manual on how to turn the laziest employees into fantastic ones, Matsuki gives the book to his teacher in hopes of improving him for a meet with Gunjou. Uzaken then angrily responds that if he wants a better teacher then the three students (Matsuki, Wataru and Takekura) will have to make him better but he has no intention of changing himself. One day, the three boys follow him and discover him sitting on the ground, bleeding. It is revealed that he has stomach problems and unless a miracle happens, he will die. A change then comes through the boys: Wataru, who is not a good runner, takes the challenge of running a marathon and runs all the way until the end; Takekura compliments a girl on her hair and eventually lets his feelings for a girl be known; Matsuki also vows to get 100 on a test and soon achieves it. Uzaken helps the boys realize that it wasn’t him who needed to change but them and when they realized that, their will to learn improved.

After studying vigorously for the test, Matsuki manages to get 100 and then the three go to see Uzaken in the hospital. When they arrive, they find that he passed away and are taken to his body. This is the most touching scene of the drama as Matsuki begs him to look at his test and his repeated shouting just hits the viewer straight in the heart. It’s definitely a must-see scene because Nakajima does a great job of portraying the emotional presence of his character.

Of course there are various funny scenes in the drama. Secretly calling out Matsuki’s lie, Gunjou asks Matsuki to set up a meeting with him (as well as an old student of Uzaken’s – his current teacher, who wrote the graffiti praising Uzaken). In order to avoid showing Gunjou the real Uzaken, he asks his brother to pretend to be his teacher in order to fool Gunjou. This whole scene is really funny and one of the best moments in the drama. Nurse Aoyama (Karina) always provides the viewer with a cute and fun moment as she tries to be with Uzaken without being obvious. Of course, she holds her own on the sadder scenes as well when she says that she will miss Uzaken dearly and that she should’ve told him how she felt (and that she will miss the sound of his squeaky sandals).

The drama ends very strongly with Gunjou’s letter to Matsuki as he talks about how students and teachers are like co-stars on a stage and if something goes wrong, the responsibility does not solely rely on the teacher. The students must have a strong will to learn as well. It’s a very nice way to end the drama and summarizes the lesson that the boys have learned strongly. Gunjou always provides the audience with a deeper way of seeing things and it certainly comes through here. Then the boys are seen realizing that they have a physical and Matsuki regretting wearing children’s underwear that day. It’s a cute way to end and show that they will continue to live their lives with Uzaken in their hearts.

Drama Ranking: A +

All four boys (Nakajima, Chinen, Arioka and Yamada of Hey! Say! JUMP) do a great job of portraying their respective characters both in the funny moments and the sad moments. Uzaken provides a nice adult role that really pushes the boys to their best without them realizing it at first. This drama special was perfect from start to finish and it’s definitely one of the best Japanese dramas.

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