15 March 2008

ドラゴン桜 Dragon Zakura

Title: ドラゴン桜 Doragon Zakura (Dragon Zakura)
English Title: Cherry Blossoms Dragon
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Year: 2005
Episode: 11
  • 阿部寛 Abe Hiroshi
  • 山下智久 Yamashita Tomohisa
  • 長澤まさみ Nagasawa Masami
  • 小池徹平 Koike Teppei
  • 新垣結衣 Aragaki Yui
  • 中尾明慶 Nakao Akiyoshi
  • サエコ Saeko
  • 長谷川京子 Hasegawa Kyoko
  • 寺田農 Terada Minori
  • 金田明夫 Kanedo Akio
  • 小林すすむ Kobayashi Susumu
  • 品川徹 Shinagawa Toru
  • 野際陽子 Nogiwa Yoko
  • 斉藤洋介 Saito Yosuke
  • デビット伊東 David Ito
  • 安藤亮司 Ando Ryoji
  • 築山万有美 Tsukiyama Mayumi
  • 青山勝 Aoyama Masaru
  • 石野真子 Ishino Mako
  • 美保純 Miho Jun
  • 水谷百輔 Mizutani Momosuke
  • 矢沢心 Yazawa Shin
  • 村上大樹 Murakami Hiroki
  • 唐橋充 Karahashi Mitsuru

melody. - Realize
Ryuzan High School, with an average score of 36, is one of the worst schools in Japan. Its students are thought of as too stupid to amount to anything and most end up not pursuing a college education.

Because of financial troubles due to mismanagement and with dwindling enrollees because of its poor reputation, Ryuzan High School almost closes down if not for Sakuragi Kenji. A former member of a motorcycle gang and currently a destitute lawyer, Sakuragi suggests that the only way to solve Ryuzan's problem is to get some of its students into Tokyo University, the premiere educational institution in Japan. He states that he can get five Ryuzan students to pass the rigorous screening selection for Tokyo University or Tōdai.

Yajima Yūsuke, Mizuno Naomi, Ogata Hideki, Kōsaka Yoshino, Okuno Ichiro, and Kobayashi Maki are the selected students who will undergo training to enter Tōdai. Although initially forced to go to the special advanced class, these six students slowly realize how achieving the goal of entering Japan's premiere educational institution will change their lives for the better.

While cramming several years' worth of knowledge in several months of intensive study, these students find out about effective studying methods and test-taking techniques. But more than that, they learn invaluable insights about themselves, the society they belong to, and the world they live in.

山下智久 Yamashita Tomohisa - カラフル Karafuru (Colorful)
Dragon Zakura is one of the better dramas I've watched; entertaining and definitely memorable. It shares invaluable insights about society and life in general. It encourages people to dream big and to explore unlimited possibilities.

Every student should be required to watch this drama. It answers the question 'Why should I study?' in a practical, no-nonsense manner. It provides much-needed studying guides and test-taking tips. It shares information every student should know but aren't always told about.

Sakuragi Kenji: The exam is a dialogue. First, a dialogue with someone else. Then, a dialogue with ourselves.
-- E07 Vengeance! The Tokyo University Mock Exam!

It talks about how life is never fair and no one should expect it to be. It shares how important it is to accept your current situation and just strive to improve your lot.

Sakuragi Kenji: Life is filled with moments like this. Reality is completely opposite of what you think. In school, at work, in love, everyone imagines reality is as they would like to think of it. And one day, suddenly you realize that you were mistaken. The strength of a man is put to the test in moments like this, Okuno. Now, two paths are in front of you. One, continue to create your own illusions and forget... Second, accept the reality even if it is tough to take and while keeping your head held high, start again from the beginning. Okuno Ichiro, it's your life. You decide.
-- E05 Don't cry! It's your life!

It tells people to rely only upon themselves. The drama takes it too far by making the families of the six students either terribly irresponsible or completely unsupportive to the point that they are destructive elements in one's life. But I suppose this over-the-top portrayal of a support system that has gotten haywire drives the point more forcefully.

More than that, this drama talks about the society and its rules. It discusses how the society makes generalizations and creates social order. It shares that rules aren't always for the good of all; sometimes it's for the good of the many at the expense of the few but more often than not, it is for the good of a selected few at the expense of everyone else.

Not everyone from the special advanced class passed the entrance exam to Tokyo University. Although I really wanted all of the students to pass, I think it is better that only three students (50 percent of the class) managed to get in. It is a more realistic outcome after all.

kr - 공부의 신 God of Study

ドラゴン桜 Dragon Zakura