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First Impression: SCHOOL!!

January 29, 2011

I’m glad that someone decided to pick up this drama and provide English subtitles. The first episode was such a good watch and that I wanted to watch more! Sadly, the English subtitles was only given to the first episode. I’ll have to wait. Look at those kids above, they’re too cute, especially the girl who’s face is cut off on the right. She was adorable at the end of episode 1. SCHOOL!! is a drama that revolves around a public elementary school that gets a new principle who tries to save it before it closes. The show started on January 16, 2011 and is currently airing on Fuji TV, new episodes are premiered every Sundays at 9:00 – 9:45PM.

Naruse Seiichiro (Eguichi Yosuke, left), the passionate protagonist, has worked as a manager of civil engineering sites for a medium size company for 20 years. He had made a promise to his former teacher, Takeichi Mikihiro (Kishibe Ittoku). After his company is shut down, Naruse immediately becomes a principle at his old elementary school, which he must save from closing down. The school runs from first to sixth grade, one class per grade level. They are some familiar faces such as Kitano Kii (LIFE, Nagareboshi), Tsukamoto Takashi (Kisarazu Cat’s Eye, Tokyo DOGS), Ichikawa Miwako (Mother), and Miura Shohei (Gokusen 3, Tumbling).

I saw the promotion picture from above and I was immediately drawn in to SCHOOL!! Ah, school dramas and I always seem to get along. One thing I like about the show is how it doesn’t (well, at least so far…) focus on one specific classroom and its teacher. It goes broader than the dramas I’ve seen since the main character is the principle. I like the approach of the story, it’s simple and straightforward. We are almost immediately introduced to the teachers and the problem that is the center of episode 1. It was able to capture my attention fast; I was surprised since the first episodes seem to go at a slow pace.

I like Naruse so far. He’s blunt and a happy-go-lucky person. I really enjoy Eguichi Yosuke as Naruse he pulls him off great! However, the teachers find his ideas in conflict with theirs. Eguichi has a lot of dramas under his belt, and I have not seen a single one. Though, I do recognize his name from reading a summary of Triangle back in 2009. Eguichi plays the role of a character similar to Yankumi, passionate and dedicated. However, Naruse is a leader who is blunt and, surprisingly, a good cook. His bluntness does create some laughably moments.

Now, this show is not just drama. It does have humor in the atmosphere. It’s nice to know that I won’t be shedding too much tears, I get serious eye damage. The aftermath of 1 Litre of Tears was a complete disaster.

I can’t wait for some clashing with Kirahara Iori (Nishijuma Hidetoshi), the form teacher for 6th grade and curriculum coordinator. All the teachers seem to follow him. Kirahara is quiet, calm, and someone you just really don’t want to mess with. He’s somewhat intimidating since he appears so monotone and emotionless. The kids seem to listen to his orders too which adds even more intimidating points! Two people trying to help the students, but have different ways of achieving the same goal.

Hit, miss, or somewhere in between: I enjoyed SCHOOL!! a bit more than I expected. The main character, Naruse, has a fun personality even if it may be unconventional to his coworkers. I’m hoping we get more insight on Kirahara since he is the leader of the band of the teachers. I’m crossing my fingers Kirahara doesn’t turn out to be a flat character since he seems to appear emotionless throughout this episode. I like the actors playing the teachers, each one appears not to be just in the background left unknown to the viewers. This episode we got a tiny peek of Ohashi Hitoshi‘s (Tsukamoto Takahashi) vulnerability as he was lingering outside of his 5th grade class. As if he didn’t want to be teaching. This is a definitely a drama I wish to continue watching, just have to wait patiently for the subtitles. Those who like school dramas or is a fan of Eguichi Yosuke should give it a shot. I don’t want to speak too soon for the rest of the cast, only time will tell.

For those looking for subs, they are provided by Mikilove13 though it seems SCHOOL!! is a side project as Keizoku 2: SPEC seems to be her focus at the moment. Don’t forget to thank her if you do happen to get any of her subtitles in the future!~

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