29 July 2014

Kamen Teacher final impressions

I happy to say that I ended up enjoying this drama from start to finish. Definitely a good series to get back into watching J-dramas once again.

While not 100% perfect this drama is still one of the better ones for its genre. A lot of this falls into the fact that the characters are strong and their actions make sense and do not feel like they are being done for the sake of hitting the next plot point.The theme of the series, starting over from past mistakes, is woven into the story so it is not beaten in to the heads of the audience as the themes in dramas like this do tend to be. And is able to mix the fun, action and drama of the series well.

Araki Gota (Fujigaya Taisuke) is a great protagonist. He is easy to like and want to see succeed in forging a new path for Kamen Teacher where students are saved by moving their hearts not forcing them into line with fear and fists. It has been interesting getting to learn more about him throughout the series and have him have to face the challenges of keeping true to his principles, even when he finds himself in doubt.

Seeing more of Kusanagi Keigo (Jesse) in the second half he is a character that works well to be the counter to Araki. It does feel as if his story is not completely done at the end but there is still a good amount about his character covered and a sense of change over the series, even if minor.

Ichimura Miki (Oomasa Aya) ended up being a character that I came to like quite a bit. She really became more than the love interest, in fact the whole romance angle with her and Araki seemed to be just something in the background in their interactions as we see much more of them bonding over wanting to truly take care of the students. It is sadly rare to find a well developed supporting female character, which is part of what makes Ichimura shine.

While I remained iffy about why Takehara Kinzo (Kikuchi Fuma) was considered more important than the rest of the M4, but the final story arc finally solved that. It finally gave him the chance to shine above the rest even though everyone in the M4 got their moments.

Overall I was quite glad to see that these characters did not fade into the background and remained important throughout the series. It really drove home that the change that happened with them was not superficial and their battles with Kamen Teacher truly did affect them.

And while all the major plots are wrapped up by the end of the series there is still enough given to justify a continuation, which of course is the movie that will be out on home video in Japan soon. That said I do wish we got more of an understanding of what was going on behind the Kamen Teacher program. That was probably the weakest part of the series as it just seemed like the head of the program was doing whatever he pleased, and while that put things in place for the plot it did not make an interesting plot itself.

Overall I really enjoyed this series. It is the kind that I would have no trouble going back to rewatch later if I ever have the time. It also shows what a show in this genre is capable of if more thought is put into it. I hope that the movie will not disappoint, as I cannot see how this would work in a much shorter time span.

With this series done I will be moving onto the next late night NTV series, 49 soon. With any luck I may finally catch up before the summer is over.

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