Jdorama: Yankee-kun to Megane-chan (ヤンキー君とメガネちゃん)
Year: Spring of 2010
What started out as an ordinary school jdorama, turned out to be one hell of addictive ride. By far, my favourite jdorama this season for giving me new actors to stalk such as Koyanagi Yu. Based on a popular manga (aka Flunk Punk Rumble) about a troublemaker (called a Yankee in Japan, no idea why) called Shinagawa and a 'reformed' Yankee, Adachi Hana or should I say, Hurricane Ada (this gets revealed in the first episode so no spoilers...yet). Shinagawa never meant to be a Yankee but after winning one fight in junior high, people kept chasing him one after the other and having no choice but to beat them all up, he became known as the school's No. 1 Yankee. Sound cheesy enough for you yet? He's always wanted to be a doctor though and studies hard enough to get into an elite high school where he meets Adachi who's really pushy and Shinagawa's just too nice to say no.
I decided to pick it up simply because I like school jdoramas (Japanese people are so good at this) and a premise with gangsters, bad boys and a possible platonic relationship (it IS a shoujo manga) sounds too much to resist. Plus a nerdy schoolgirl who can beat up guys? Awesome. I didn't recognize anyone besides the Yankee actor, the guy who plays Izumi and the teacher dude and even then, I didn't particularly like any of them enough to follow their work. It only took an episode to reel me in. Gotta love how short and sweet jdoramas are. Usually only 8-12 episodes clocking less than an hour each.
I also like it for being less formulaic than other school jdoramas like the Gokusen series, where it always ends with the teacher beating up a whole bunch of people, each feat more impossible than the last. It's also more likable than My Boss My Hero, which was disappointing and had a crappy ending. *obliterates from memory*
The drama really got really interesting with the appearance of Chiba (Koyanagi Yu *cheers*) in episode 2. Eye candy! Not to mention, the talented Hongo Kanata (Seigi no Mikata, Tantei Gakuen Q), who's one of the brightest young stars today (he can act unlike some other Johnny boys). The Megane-chan (Naka Riisa) grates on my nerves sometimes but shines in her scenes with her Grandpa and Rinko. Narimiya Hiroki (28) was strangely 100% more likable than his other character in the original Gokusen (7 years later he's still acting as a high schooler). He always has this thing where he calls things 'Annoying!' especially Adachi and whenever he feels a 'connection' to Adachi, he always starts his fantasies with, 'This development...'. XD
Anyway I never really got annoyed with the humor of this show, it was actually funny most of the time, especially Shinagawa's family. The dad, mum and sister are fabulous together, I don't remember enjoying a jdorama this much since since...Hana Kimi and Hana Yori Dango (I must've lost my mind back then). Almost every episode of YTM centers around the student council and helping other students. Of course, don't expect some things to make any sense, because the comedy is done in a really anime kind of way.
Actually, I've just finished the last episode an hour ago but the ending was soooo cute and satisfying for a jdorama (I set my expectations really low for jdoramas whose writers seem to have a fondness for open-endings, the bane of my drama-watching life), that I just had to write a review while I'm still pleased about it. I'm trying to resist from posting some really cute pics of the ending. Let's just say, Adachi looks really cute without the braids and specs. Overall, Yankee-kun to Megane-chan should not be missed if you're a fan of the genre (like I am ^_^) and is one of the most charming dramas I've encountered this year. Maybe they should adapt more shoujo mangas like this one into jdoramas. It's good source material. ;-)
Pic credits: the official website
P/S: I also watched Cyborg Girl which was pretty impressive in story and special effects. Delightful concept but ran a little too long.