#watched MAJISUKA GAKUEN Seasons 1 & 2
Reading the series synopsis for MAJISUKA GAKUEN, it reminded me somewhat of CROWS ZERO films, and decided to give it a whirl, and discovered it totally attempted to parallel CROWS the movies, but with female students instead, and it was such a mess I had to sit thru the entire 12 episodes of the first season (dated 2010) to finish it too!
And it was not until beginning the series, did I realize it featured the girls from AKB48, and upon much research when I finished season 1, that a lot of names used in the show were the girls' "real names"!
And if you've seen AKB48 music videos, the "schoolgirls" theme play consistently, and as well certain actors from said MVs appear in this tv series as well, which is "fun" in itself as they attempt to build their own universe/world?
Whereas I might not have even remotely bothered by a "manufactured pop" notion as AKB48, with seeing the “Majisuka Gakuen” tv series (Seasons 1 & 2 anyways) and subsequent music videos, I give my props to them for their obvious hardwork and efforts, which cannot be denied.
For the purposes of this blog, I'd not go into the ins-n-outs of AKB48 the concept and music group, but focus on the entertainment value of this TV series - in particular the efforts of the actors - which truthfully one could live on in bliss without watching, nor will this change your "life" but perhaps for a chance/opportunity to "know" more about AKB48.
The production is pedestrian at best, the production value is obviously tied to the lack of budget ... I hope? And that's about all I will comment on this aspect of the show :p
I have to say though; What a swell vehicle to showcase the girls' together in an entire show! Regardless of their musical escapades, this gave each of them a chance to "act" … some doing decent, while others floundered like a trainwreck of newbie proportions. Stand outs include "Yuko" and "Sado" of Rappappa (Top of Maijo), while "Gakuran" and "Nezumi" where really fun to watch! The obvious golden child "Atsuko Maeda" was disappointing (well into Season 2, IMHO), while "drama" was absolutely unnecessary as comedy sidekick.
Packed to the brim with pretty young things in school uniforms, thankfully this does not resort to "fan-service" besides providing a decent slice of entertainment and media exposure, and a nice extenuation and exploration beyond their story-themed music videos, which feature a huge number of girls in the first place.
The storyline is straight forward without too much twists nor turns - remembering this is a pseudo "idol drama" - focusing on the wayward students of all-girls school Majisuka Gakuen, in fact the ENTIRE student fraternity is delinquent - even the school's principal was a leader of the top pack of the school herself "back in the day" LOL
WHAT-IS: "Majisuka Gakuen (マジスカ学園) is an AKB48 drama. The show was aired from January 8, 2010 to March 26, 2010.
Two transfer students, Atsuko Maeda and Onizuka Daruma came at the all-girls school Majisuka Gakuen. In this school violence and fighting are common among the Yankee students. Noisy and trouble maker Daruma made a fuss as soon as she entered the school, win in her first fight but then was beaten easily by another gang shortly after. In contrary to Daruma's bold-but-powerless attitude, Maeda who is truthfully a strong girl despite of her silent nature found Daruma is beaten by Team Hormone before her. The word "Majisuka?" (means are you serious?) instantly awaken her true nature and made her won the battle against Daruma's attackers easily, thus made a big fuss at the school and the news even reached the strongest fighting group, Rappapa. Afterwards, Daruma acknowledged Maeda as her boss and as a result the friendship between the two girls began to grow along with their fights with fellow students at their school." (stage48.net)
Against somewhat initial judgement, I continued with and ended binge-watching Season 2, and came to a somewhat different conclusion than I did before just watching the first series.
In comparison, Season 1 became somewhat more of a "farce", with Season 2 packed with more emo and blood, more friendship bonding … If Season 1 was "gimmicky", the second series strived to be more serious - still on a gimmick-trip though, but ever slightly less grating … although it does not mean the result was wholly "positive", but was more fulfilling a watch, IMHO - although I would say you need to watch both series to perhaps appreciate it.
Essentially, Season 1 saw a new transfer student to Majisuka Gakuen raise amongst the ranks to the top, against constant battles with well known school personalities.
Season 2 had by then seen a new school year, with returning characters, new faces, new plots, and betrayals.
"Majisuka Gakuen 2 (マジすか学園2?) is a AKB48 drama, this drama will be the sequel to their previous drama, “Majisuka Gakuen” which was broadcasted between January and March 2010. The show started airing on April 15, 2011. The drama ended on July 1, 2011.
The story continues in the next school year after the events of the last season. The new members of Rappappa now face a even greater threat from within their own school and the surrounding schools." (stage48.net)
Both Season 1 (2010) and Season 2 (2011) seems somewhat dated at this time, so that would be out of contention for my impressions of the timeliness of the series.
I have always had a penchant for school-gangsta dramas, from Hong Kong's Young and Dangerous movie series (hardly "school", I know), to the more recent CROWS ZERO (1 & 2, "Crows Explode" was an utter blemish as far as I am concerned), and even theme variations like GTO (the one with Akira as the gangster teacher lol) - in this particular instance, East-based fiction. “Majisuka Gakuen” falls under this category, by virtue of concept. But by virtue of it being a (mostly) all-girls ensemble, it stands by itself amongst other in said genre … that I have had seen/watched anyways :p
Seeing pretty young things in Japanese sailor school uniforms might give some folks a kick, but seeing pretty young things in Japanese sailor school uniforms kicking other pretty young things in Japanese sailor school uniforms' asses, is another experience altogether perhaps? LOL
If you, like me have similar viewing traits, I would recommend you stay away from “Majisuka Gakuen”, as it may leave a disgruntled taste in your mouth. But personally for me, it turned out to be more of an "introduction" to the AKB48 franchise, and truthfully, I am glad I took that leap. And admittedly, it turned out more "fun" than I had expected and assumed it would be, at the very least the second season :)
Apparently “Majisuka Gakuen” have since gone up to season 4, and at this point, I'll take @therodennis' advice, and not go beyond the 2 seasons LOL
I have since featured some music videos from AKB48 on my Tunes-Talk blog (keeping this blog focused on the series itself), which includes opening tracks to this series.