Whenever I watch a new TV show, I always abide by the 2 episode rule: if I’m not interested after completing two episodes, I pass. In all honesty, I can’t think of one example where I hated the premiere and had my opinion reversed after the second episode, but that’s beside the point. I believe in second chances, let’s put it that way. Am I not merciful?
Anyway, I started a new Japanese drama called My Boss My Hero, which is a gangster school drama similar to Great Teacher Onizuka or Gokusen. The difference is that while those two series star delinquents/Yakuza members as teachers, My Boss My Hero has a gangster returning to school as a student. The main character is Sakaki Makio (played by Nagase Tomoya), a high school dropout who is next in line to become head boss of the Kantou Sharp Fang. However, when he botches a deal because of his incompetence in math, his father, who is the current boss, decides to send Makio back to school because he doesn’t want an idiot to head up the organization.
The pressure is on Makio because if he doesn’t manage to graduate from high school, the position as head boss will be passed on to his intelligent younger brother. He has to figure out how to pass his tests, keep his shady background hidden from his classmates and the school administration, as well as deal with challenges from rival gangs. Is it too much for one man to handle?
This drama is a comedy so obviously much of the humor comes in seeing such a tough figure in the gang world act so awkwardly in a classroom with kids practically 10 years younger than he is. My problem is that the action is ridiculous, almost groan-inducingly so. There’s a scene where the entire school erupts in a campus-wide dash to buy pudding at lunchtime. If a trailer had been made for this drama, this would be the voiceover:
He grew up in the criminal underground, fights rival gang members for fun and is set to become the next big boss of his gang. But now he faces his toughest challenge yet: high school.
Yeah, that’s how cheesy this series is. Not the good kind either, like with Street Fighter the Movie.
I also absolutely hate the theme song, which has a pesky tendency to erupt full blast at any triumphant moment. However, My Boss My Hero passes my two episode test despite all odds, but just barely. There’s a group of wannabe tough guys in the class that bully Makio, who can’t reveal his true yakuza nature because that would mean attracting suspicion from the school. So he is forced to submit to their will. I’m going to continue watching almost purely just to see if they eventually get their comeuppance.
The good news is that the series is only 10 episodes long. I finished episode three and it looks like they have toned down the absurdity of the action somewhat. Also, it seems a love triangle is brewing between Makio and his two classmate buddies. I personally wouldn’t recommend this drama, but for some reason, a lot of people at D-Addicts are very fond of it. Maybe I’ll change my mind after a few more episodes.
UPDATE: Final thoughts.
Aired Summer 2006
Genre: School, Comedy