Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Review: Dragon Zakura

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Alternative Title: ドラゴン桜
Genre: School, comedy
Episodes: 11
Broadcast: Jul. - Sept. 2005
Starring: Abe Hiroshi as Sakuragi Kenji, Yamashita Tomohisa as Yajima Yuusuke, Nagasawa Masami as Mizuno Naomi, Aragaki Yui as Kosaka Yoshino

Sakuragi Keniji is a a poor lawyer and former gang member who's always looking for a chance to become more successful and popular. His perfect chance comes to him when he find out about Ryuuzan High School, one of the worst schools in Tokyo, where just about every student skips classes regularly and ends up failing. In addition, the school is almost bankrupt and the teachers have given up hope on the students.

Sakuragi soon becomes a teacher at the school and organizes a special class that aims to prepare five students to pass the entrance exam for Tokyo University, one of the most prestigious universities in Japan.

Compared to other school dramas I've watched, Dragon Zakura definitely isn’t the most enjoyable one to watch. I thought that certain parts of every episode were too repetitive and boring. In just about every episode the five students of the special class are involved in some sort of lesson that's supposed to help them pass the Tokyo University entrance exam. Every one or two episodes has the students learning a different subject. One episode might be about math and another one about english and so forth. These episodes are boring because they basically deal with three things....advice....advice...and more advice. During these lessons, Sakuragi just blurbs out tons upon tons of advice to the students. Most of the time you'd just wish that the students just write exam and get it over with.

Bad things aside, the good parts of Dragon Zakura were parts outside the classroom. Every student of the special class is trying to get into Tokyo University, but at the some time, they face issues that slow down their progress or completely change their mind about even taking the exam. Every student has a different story and the drama does a good job of focusing on all characters and getting their stories across.

Another positive thing about Dragon Zakura is the humour. There’s two things that make this drama one of the funniest I’ve watched. One is the character, Okuno. He’s a student of Ryuuzan and is basically an idiot that does random things. The other one are the short scenes in every episode about Ino Mamako’s friend who goes on a double date with one guy who is good-looking but stupid and another guy who is ugly but smart. (Mamako is a teacher at Ryuuzan)

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  • Parts that don’t take place in the classroom
  • Okuno adds a lot of humour to the series
  • Short dating scenes in every episode are also hilarious
  • Acting is fairly good
  • All-star cast
  • Scenes about the special class preparing for exam are boring and repetitive
  • Sakuragi gives way too much advice
  • Subject teachers that help teach the special class are way over-the-top
Do the teaching methods used to teach the special class really work?

The humour definitely makes up for the boring parts so I recommend you watch it for the humour.

Rating: 8.5/10

Related Reviews (school dramas)
My Boss My Hero
Nobuta wo Produce


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