It’s a tough life being a sequel. Not only do you very rarely live up to the original, you get slammed when you follow the previous formula a little too closely and end up being a complete bore.
Yet some viewers like it that way; why rock the boat and change what works? But if you are one of them, I hate you, you probably love reality television and all it’s re-incarnations and one of the reasons why good drama programming in television is dying. I prefer that they try to shake things up a little to keep everything fresh and alive, but most of all, to surprise me.
Majisuka Gakuen 2 currently belongs to the latter but unfortunately not in a good way. Elements that made the first series so good are acutely lacking. In the previous series, Maeda Atsuko’s character and her emotional baggage was used to great effect; it provided a sound and central themed narrative structure which allowed the different characters around her to develop and play their stories out.
This time round however, the storyline and characters are flying all over the place; not only am I confused as to whom the main characters are, I’m not even entirely sure what their motivations or where the story arc is supposed to be. I do concede that it is a little unfair for me to judge a show simply based on the first episode but I am seriously hoping things will turn around soon enough and prove me wrong.
So what about the bright sparks in the new series?
Everyone’s favorite little schemer Nezumi returns!
You can’t keep a good Mouse down, and like her or not, much like Gekikara, the girl’s diabolical intents has style. In fact, the only issue I have is why she wants to be the top honcho in a place like Majisuka All-Girls School with her smarts. I mean, everyone atop just seems to eventually have to prove that they are some crazy badass fighting machine to keep peace and pace. For someone like Nezumi who has an aversion to a fray, what’s the point? You should always the power behind the throne, rather than set yourself up to be a direct target. I am going to put it down as some bizzare self-challenge for herself but hoping her motivation could be explained sometime this season?
Then there’s Center, Nezumi’s new partner-in-crime. Introduced in the final minutes of the first series as Maeda’s new challenger to the throne, I expect a fair bit of screen time for the new kid on the block who so far seems to favor action with her fists over…well, everything? Center seems like a simple-minded straight arrow sort, and it is going to be intriguing to see how Nezumi and her partnership dynamic works out.
Last but not least, there is Otabe, a mysterious transfer student from Kyoto. She’s the newly appointed (Maeda nominated) President of Rappapa. She has the whole mysterious but know-it-all Yoda vibe, but seems like a terrific fighter despite her calm demeanor. I can’t wait to see her in action.
Majisuka Gaken 2 is scheduled for twelve episodes this season, and probably intends to toss in as many members of their group into the show as they can. All I am hoping for is some consistent storyline and characterisation for the cast. But given that this is a midnight idol drama which is mostly directed towards their own fanbase, it might be better for me to just check my expectations at the door and go with the flow.
As someone on a forum said before; 认真你就输了! If you get serious, you’ve already lost!