First Impressions: HAMMER SESSION!

Hammer Session

I am currently watching Japanese drama HAMMER SESSION! And I must say that I am totally loving it thus far. It is in the same vain as Gokusen and Great Teacher Onizuka and it is enjoyable to watch. I loved Hayami Mokomichi in Gokusen 2 and he wasn’t too bad in Hataraki Man either. Plus, I thought he did a really great job in portraying the robot Night in Zettai Kareshi. He brings his serious and comedic chops to his new role and it works.

Hayami plays new teacher Hachisuka Goro (aka notorious swindler Otowa Yonko – real name unknown). The premise of the show is that Otowa Yonko and another criminal escape from the police when their van spirals out of control and ends up sinking in water. They stop the real Hachisuka Goro from setting a school on fire and the principal decides to hire the two convicts on to help reform the students using the extreme method of “Hammer Session”.

Hayami does a great job playing the serious psychological swindler and the goofy, fun-loving sensei. It would be easy to make such a character overdone and too hokey, but he does a masterful job. As does Shida Mirai as Tachibana Kaede. She played the lead in Shokojo Seira and tugged at your heartstrings as the forlorn princess who lost everything and was forced to become a servant in her own school. Here she is taking on a more comedic role. Kaede is a busy-body daughter of a policeman (who is hunting Goro). She and Hayami play well off each other, complimenting each other’s acting.

While the storyline is repetitive and has been done before (i.e. the aforementioned Gokusen and GTO), it does not make this drama any less enjoyable to watch. I haven’t read the manga, so I have no idea if the live action does the manga justice, but stand alone it is a great drama that does impose it’s words of wisdom and giving kids the lessons they need in order to get their lives back on track. Definitely a nice end-of-summer drama.

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