Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Look at Some Interesting and Amusing Points in the First Half of Majisuka Gakuen, and Let’s Speculate: Majisuka Gakuen’s Second Half

Majisuka Gakuen is halfway through, and since this is a great series, let’s talk about a few amusing points that have happened so far, and try to speculate on the rest of the season as well. I have a summary of the first episode here :http://filipinoakbfan.blogspot.com/2010/01/majisuka-gakuen-episode-1-english.html so I’m starting with the second episode, up to the sixth, of what I expect to be a twelve episode series.

As expected after the first episode, Nacchu has become Maeda’s sidekick, and more importantly to the story, has become her friend.

Amusingly, Nacchu is now in good terms with Team Hormone, who serve as the source of information for Nacchu, and inevitably Maeda.

The fight scene between Maeda and Kasai has so far been the best.

Reflecting on their defeat, one thing that I didn’t expect after episode 2, but after episode 6 I now believe will happen, is that the Kabuki Sisters, Kasai and Kuramochi, will side with Maeda.

The first big sign of Nacchu and Maeda’s friendship, Nacchu secretly looked for and taped back the page Kasai tore away from the nursing book Maeda is always studying.

Minami Takahashi debuts in the form of a picture as apparently Maeda’s former closest friend.

Also revealed in this episode is that Maeda works in the hospital where Yuko is recuperating.

What in the world happened to Gakuran, Sae Miyazawa, after episode 3? Sae looked great as Gakuran! I was hoping Maeda’s gang to accumulate after episode 3, but by episode 4, Gakuran was inexplicably nowhere.

Again, it is Team Hormone that reveals that the fight between Rappappa and Yabakune (High School) started with fighting over some guy. After everything they’ve been through, seeing Nacchu with Team Hormone is just so funny.

I wasn’t sure if Team Hormone would have still been around after episode 1’s beating, but I’m glad they are. Here, Team Hormone eavesdropping on Maeda and Sae was so funny. Episode 3 is probably my second favorite episode among the first six episodes; it was the funniest.

My favorite debut is when my favorite debuted. Mayuyu, Mayu Watanabe, secretly watched Maeda and Sae’s fight, as her identity is kept secret for two episodes.

Sae falling in love with Maeda was such as great storyline. Maeda’s reactions were so funny.

Sado, Mariko Shinoda, shows us her power by cleaning up Yabakune thugs. It was freaking cool.

Sae wooing Maeda was really funny. Sae is a girl, in case you’re new to the AKB fandom.

Sanshou sisters, Myao, Rabutan (a.k.a. Lovetan) and Maachan debut at the end of episode 3 to tease us for the next episode. The young girls’ debut looked scary and awesome.

Also in this episode, when Sado, Mariko Shinoda, visited Yuko, they kept talking about their looming graduation, the implications of this has not been revealed.

By episode 4, based on Maeda’s flashbacks, I believe Takahashi is either dead or in jail for killing someone.

Maeda’s conversation with her father over breakfast was funny and important. Maeda finds the fish weird.

Maeda, taking a bite of the fish her father encouraged her to eat is important later on with her scene with Nacchu. Here, her father also encourages her to make friends, which Maeda doesn’t want either.

Shibuya, Tomomi Itano, secretly commissions the Sanshou Sisters to go after Maeda.

The confrontation between the Sanshou Sisters and Team Hormone was exciting! It would have been great to see a fight between them!

Maeda’s conversation with her unusual family was very amusing. It is revealed that her mother used to be the leader of Yabakune, while the principal at Maji was her rival for Atsuko’s father, who was also the leader of Rappappa at the time. Her mother says Maeda should not join Rappappa while Maeda just says she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

The initial attack of the Sanshou sisters on Maeda is cut short by the principal, who catches a stray dart with one hand, showing her own prowess with fighting. Everyone in the school would have to obey her, wouldn’t they? She not only knows how to fight, she was the leader of Rappappa in her old days. That must be why Rappappa (and even the Sanshou sisters) has their own room in school. That’s why she’s the principal, and the students still follow her.

The principal encounters Maeda for the first time and retells the story her mother just told. She likes Maeda and tells her she could have been her daughter. They deliver a few lines in English, which was pretty funny.

Yuko talks to Maeda for the first time when they need another player for a lopsided game of dodgeball. She says she has work, but hears Yuko’s advice for one player that if you don’t want to be targeted, you should just lose. Not caring about winning or being targeted, Maeda uses this advice by not fighting back when she gets attacked again by the Sanshou sisters.

Reporting their supposed victory, Sado, Mariko Shinoda, immediately sees right through the situation that Maeda allowed herself to lose.

After flashbacks of Takahashi, and losing to no longer be targeted, Maeda tries to get rid of Nacchu, as if to avoid having friends, apparently, to avoid the pain she encountered with Takahashi, details of which have not been revealed.

After another attack by the Sanshou sisters, still not fighting back and allowing them to handcuff her to a Merry-Go-Round, Maeda is rescued by Nacchu, who remains faithful. Ultimately, it is Maeda who defeats the Sanshou sisters, but not without Nacchu. Maeda would not have knocked out Myao, if Nacchu didn’t hold her still so Maeda could reach her, since she was still handcuffed, and she would have never gotten the key to the handcuffs without Nacchu. This episode was all about friendship, as Nacchu’s loyalty with Maeda allowed the defeat of the Sanshou sisters, while the Sanshou sisters, who were berating the concept of friendship all the while, and saying you don’t need friends when you’re strong, would fall because of a lack of loyalty, when Rabutan was thrown into Maachan, and the two would argue about it, then when Myao would push Rabutan into harms way to save herself, and finally when Maachan and Rabutan would decide to leave Myao in the fight, eventhough it was their cooperation at the beginning that put Maeda on a tight spot, which Maeda was able to overcome with Nacchu’s help and sacrifices. Maeda’s father’s advice that eventhough her mother was strong, she would not have reached the top without friends, holds true.

Once again, watching the fight in secret, was Mayuyu, whose identity was still kept secret.

Nacchu shares her humorous tradition of victory with Maeda by giving her a greasy chicken wing, which Maeda reluctantly bites, a sign of Maeda accepting Nacchu’s friendship. This bite is similar to the bite on the fish her father encouraged her to eat, and now a bite on friendship, which her father also urged her to have.

Maeda also starts showing concern over Nacchu, who expresses some pain brought by the fight.

For episode 5, Nacchu bumps into a debuting Choukoku, Sayaka Akimoto, where Team Hormone explains that she has a plan to beat 99 people before challenging Yuko, the only person who has beaten her then.

In the first episode, I wondered why Komori didn’t have any speaking lines, I thought it was a coincidence, but apparently, it’s almost a running joke in the series, where for the first time, Komori attempted to speak in this episode, but was cut short by Nito. Komori doesn’t even speak when Team Hormone speaks in unison, but I’m guessing she will deliver her first line at the last episode, and it will be very funny.

The Kabuki sisters are back in this episode, but only for a short while, as they start looking like jobbers to Sayaka.

Mayuyu’s first line is with Sayaka as she introduces herself as her ally, Nezumi. Because Sayaka is missing one more person before she goes after the top girls in Rappappa, Mayuyu points out Maeda.

Yuko gets to see Maeda’s strength for the first time when she breaks up a fight in the hospital.

I did tell you Mayuyu is my favorite, right.

Amina Sato debuts as Chiharu, the pimp that takes guys' money but never comes back with a girl. Amina’s character is the only character that I’m really not sure if we’ll see more of in the next episodes, but it would be interesting how this swindler factors in the story.

Yukari Sato debuts as Sanae, a member of Yabakune, who steals Nacchu’s bike. The bike inevitably gets sold to Amina, and is retrieved by the pervert doctor. By the next episode, Nacchu gets it back.

Maeda’s conversations with Nacchu are quite amusing.

Minami Minegishi debuts as the student body president, how she got that position, nobody knows.

After Maeda and Nacchu are greeted by “Maeda is a murderer” posters, Nacchu is helped by Minegishi in taking them off, thus Nacchu acknowledges her claimed position.

Apparently, it was Mayuyu who posted the posters. Mayuyu’s character Nezumi seems to be the most sinister character of all. She says strength is not just in fighting, but in using your brains, which fits her character and her real life personality as well. This concept makes her one of Maeda’s most dangerous enemies.

Sayaka herself tests Maeda, and sees she’s the real deal.

Unable to get Maeda, Mayuyu teaches Sayaka how to get a response from Maeda, by using the phrase Majisuka ("are you serious?").

Mayuyu also meets up with Yabakune as she is apparently playing both sides. She’s a master manipulator who uses her brains. She plans on letting Sayaka or Maeda beat Yuko, and since neither cares to be the top girl in school, she convinces Yabakune this would be their best time to come in. Secretly, though, she plans on taking the top position herself.

Mayuyu’s character, Nezumi, seems to have a few screws loose, though, as she seems to be dancing privately anywhere she wants, on the stairs of Rappappa, on desks, etc. I expect her character to cry before the end of the series.

Nacchu delivers the line, “we all have a past we’d rather forget.”

Here’s one part I didn’t get, I thought Sayaka only read poems when she defeated an opponent, or is it every time she fought? Sayaka clearly mentioned Maeda was the second person to beat her.

Sayaka acknowledges the presence of Mayuyu by pausing, who once again watched the fight between Maeda and Sayaka.

The conflict between Sado and Shibuya over Maeda becomes exciting, including the part where Shinoda slaps Itano.

At the beginning of episode 6, after Yuko escaped from the hospital temporarily, Yuko and Sado, Mariko Shinoda, talk again about their coming graduation. I’m not sure if this only means they want to leave the school at the top, or if this means something else, like does Yuko have only until graduation to live.

Komori tries to say something again, but gets cut by Akicha.

Team Hormone recalls the tale of how Yuko singlehandedly beat 30 Yabakune thugs who came in the school, all the while saying, “This is fun!”

Maeda has lunch with her Mestle Mile. I wonder what Sayaka had to say about this? (Sayaka’s favorite drink is Nestle Milo.)

To the surprise of Team Hormone, Nacchu helps herself to the barbecue (actually called hormone, a type of meat), which she finds disgusting and delicious.

Shibuya finally challenges Maeda. By the way, Shibuya's personal gang is supposed to be overly make-upped as they seem to be fashionistas or glamour girls.

After Sado instructs Shibuya not to touch Maeda, Shibuya goes into a fit, giving Mayuyu her next target.

Nacchu entrusts Maeda to Team Hormone while she’s away. This non-existent alliance is very amusing.

Within Maeda’s earshot, Team Hormone says that Nacchu was a former Shibuya underling in another school, and Nacchu still fears Shibuya. Kitarie, as Unagi, accidentally says the phrase “Maji ka yo?” (Are you really serious?), which is the trigger to Maeda’s fighting frenzy (usually Majisuka = Are you serious?), so when Maeda gives them the look, they immediately apologize.

Kumi Yagami debuts as Dance, one of Shibuya’s underlings. She doesn’t have much of a part yet on episode 6 so I hope we get to see more of her! Tomochin with Kumi: cuteness overload!

Add in Mayuyu, and more cuteness overload. Mayuyu identifies herself as a Maji student and says she is for Shibuya. This time she hatches a plan for Shibuya to challenge Maeda in secret.

Shibuya sends Dance to fetch Maeda.

She gets a challenge letter from Nacchu instead. Nacchu actually went away to train. Nacchu would invite Maeda to watch the fight.

Mayuyu is dancing on the desk again, likely to celebrate the potential success of her new plan.

Thinking she did good by giving Nacchu's challenge letter, Dance gets a slap from Shibuya instead.

Yuko tries to get Maeda to open up, to no avail. Flashback of Maeda with Takahashi and Maeda running suggests something which I will mention at the end of this post. Maeda decides to head for Nacchu and Shibuya's fight, where she finds a beaten up Nacchu.

The fight between Maeda and Shibuya is highly anticipated for me, because in real life, Maeda and Itano are such close friends.

Telling Nacchu that this was Nacchu's victory against Shibuya, and that Maeda isn’t as strong as she thinks, we see Maeda tear up for Nacchu, and for the first time in the series, give at least half a smile.

Jurina Matsui debuts, whose identity is still a mystery. She disappears suddenly. I’m guessing she’s the ghost of whoever Maeda or Takahashi killed (which is also just a theory of mine), or at least is related to her.

Without saying a word, Sado looks at Yuki Kashiwagi as Black, suggesting that it’s her turn to go after Maeda.

I believe Mayuyu is the biggest antagonist of the whole series, not Yuko, as it may be somewhat obvious that Yuko and Maeda will become friends by the end of the series. Mayuyu’s character, Nezumi, seems to be the most sinister, most devious, and most crafty.

I believe either Takahashi or Maeda killed someone, by accident, in a fight, in their former school. Most likely, I believe it was Maeda’s fault, but Takahashi asked Maeda to run as she would take the fall for Maeda, but Takahashi made Maeda promise that she will now live her life seriously, thus the trigger for her fighting frenzy.

Looking great so far, and I’m always excited to catch the weekly episodes, but if I would compare Majisuka Gakuen with the previous AKB drama, Ikemendol, Majisuka Gakuen is a show you can watch with all your friends, as Ikemendol has some suggestive themes, and Majisuka has much more characters, but if not for those two reasons, I’d say Ikemendol had the better storyline, as personally, I think Ikemendol had more depth in the storyline as so many things have happened by episode 6 in Ikemendol, but then again it is hard to judge the story before it ends, and just like with Ikemendol, I might be surprised that some parts I didn’t think were important were actually very important to the series. Majisuka Gakuen’s storyline is not bad at all, I think it’s great, Ikemendol’s story just turned out to be really, really great, so that set a very high bar for AKB. Majisuka Gakuen is really great too, and I’m hoping it does exceed Ikemendol. The pace of the story is also getting faster as the episodes progress.

I look forward to the second half of the series, and the debut of some of the other characters, most prominent of which would be Rena Matsui as Gekikara, and the return of many of the other characters and the development of their characters and the storyline itself.

A great watch for AKB, and even non-AKB fans! Majisuka Gakuen rocks!