Majisuka Gakuen : 3 of 5

It's been several months since I watched a Japanese drama series, but there was no way I could pass this one up, because who wouldn't want to watch the cute girls of AKB48 wail on each other? The whole concept of Majisuka Gakuen is to take all of the popular AKB48 members, cast them as bad-ass Yankii (Japanese term for delinquent) characters (most using their actual names), stick them in a twisted high-school from Hell, and build a story around "bonding by fighting" or something like that. Truthfully, the plot is pretty silly, but as usual with Japanese drama, they still managed to get some emotional impact in there that had me tearing up during a couple episodes. Atsuko Maeda plays the main character, a former delinquent who just wants to be left alone so she can study, but unfortunately all of the school gangs start gunning for her, so she has to kick their butts. When someone mentions the word "serious", she takes off her glasses (Gokusen style) and the fists start flying (this show definitely doesn't shy away from bloody make-up, that's for sure). Half the fun of the series is seeing all the crazy gangs, and noticing how they tend to match the girls' real life idol personalities in AKB48. There's a Lolita gang, the Kabuki Sisters, a girl who pretends to be a guy, and of course there's the school's top gang, Rappapa, lead by Yuko Oshima and her "four queens". These gals mean business, especially Gekikara, who is nothing short of a blood-thirsty maniac, but I also loved Torigoya (played by my favorite Haruna Kojima), who actually has special powers activated by her fear of chickens! Of course the show has some great opening and closing songs by AKB48, including Sakura no Shiori (so beautiful), so there's no doubt this series is just a huge promotion to drive otaku wild. But Majisuka Gakuen is still a really fun show (all 12 episodes are available fan-subbed from multiple sources), and it makes me wish that Hello! Project would do something cool like this, but truthfully I can't even begin to imagine watching Morning Musume beat each other up!