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35-sai no Koukousei [35歳の高校生]

Drama Details
Title:35-sai no Koukousei
Telecast:2013-04-13 to 2013-06-22
Season:Spring 2013

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TV Station:NTV
Duration:11 Episodes

Yonekura Ryoko plays a 35 year old woman who mysteriously goes back to high school as a student.

Related Videos (1)
 EXILE / Flower Song
EXILE / Flower Song


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Soundtrack and Theme Songs (1)
1. Flower Song [EXILE]

Actor/Actress Cast (37)
Yonekura Ryoko
Baba Ayako
Mizobata Junpei
Koizumi Junichi
Katase Nana
Nagamine Akari
Masu Takeshi
Ninagawa Makio
Tonesaku Toshihide
Saruwatari Takashi
Aiba Hiroki
Kitajima Ryuichiro
Kumabe Yohei
Iseya Wataru
Ikushima Sho
Higuchi Koichi
Yokoyama Megumi
Mayuzumi Yuki
Enoki Takaaki
Noda Yoshio
Watari Tetsuya
Asada Yukinobu
Katoono Taikou
Otake Ryota
Kitayama Saori
Izumi Yuna
Kojima Fujiko
Kokubun Moe
Shinkawa Yua
Kudo Mizuki
Suda Masaki
Tsuchiya Masamitsu
Takasugi Mahiro
Higashi Ren
Nishii Yukito
Saegusa Teppei
Nomura Shuhei
Yukawa Osamu
Hirose Alice
Hasegawa Rina
Fujiwara Reiko
Yuki Mai
Mizuno Erina
Yamashita Ai
Miyazaki Karen
Hatori Rikako
Morikawa Aoi
Eto Hitomi
Yamazaki Kento
Akutsu Ryo
Sato Takumi
Shimizu Yuta
Nakajima Kazuya
Kashiwagi Shinichi
Nakayama Tatsuya
Matsumoto Yuji
Fujishiro Sumire
Hirakawa Keiko
Yamazaki Hajime
Hasegawa Rinafs father (ep. 1)
Yamashita Yorie
Hasegawa Rinafs mother (ep. 1)
Kikawa Junichi
a news reporter (ep. 1)
Ukaji Takashi
Yamashita Ai's father (ep. 2)
Okayama Hajime
a police officer (ep. 2)
Matsuyama Hisako
a parent (ep. 2)
Seto Masaya
a parent (ep. 2)
Sakoda Takaya
(ep. 2)

Related Links (1)
1. Official Site

Drama Reviews (1)
The review section may contain spoilers! Please understand
that you may find out about this drama's endings and plots!

1. Yonekura Ryoko's Baba-chan Saves ...Everything [Rating: 7/10]
[Warning: A couple of spoilers are at the end of this - I will give another heads-up so you can stop reading at that point.]

35-sai no Koukousai, or "35-year-old Senior High Student" (titled "No Dropping Out: Back to School at 35" on Crunchyroll,) is an 11-part drama with a difficult suspension-of-disbelief element right off the bat: A 35-year-old is admitted back into high school as a regular student - so she can finish graduating after having dropped out 18 years earlier.

It's an unusual concept but not totally implausible. What's far more difficult to take is the series' jarring identity crisis: Its writers and directors apparently couldn't decide whether it should be a serious drama about the serious (sometimes deadly,) problem of school bullying, or just a screwball comedy. So they tried to shoehorn elements of "screwball comedy" into ...a serious drama about school bullying. As a result there are frequent, jarring incongruities throughout that devalue what otherwise would have been a truly great series, maybe even on a par with the excellent 2007 drama "Life" (also about school bullying, but with no such inconsistencies.)

Fortunately, Yonekura Ryoko's character - Ayako Baba-chan - not only saves a classroom of victims and bullies alike from destroying each other, she saves what would otherwise have been a forgettable television series and elevates it to near-must-watch status. Both Baba-chan the character and Yonekura Ryoko's stunning performance of her are so powerful that you're left with intense disappointment at the series' style (and a couple of ethical and dramatic gaffes in the final episode,) which turn something that could've been great into a mixed bag.

Yonekura's Baba-chan exudes the independence and confidence of an adult who fears nothing that the worst of high school brats can dish out, also an intensity of purpose that's a palpable element of every scene she's in. She's partly on assignment from her former teacher Asada (still her respected mentor, now the district superintendent,) to investigate the bullying problem, but she has some deep, driving secrets of her own. They lend a sense of pathos that sometimes gets a little heavy, but her quiet confidence and overt heroism easily prevent the inner conflicts and trauma from devaluing the character. Baba-san is one of the best heroines I've seen in television, despite the weird style of the program itself.

What you will get from this show is an edifying theme of transformation. Baba-chan is out for justice, and justice means loyalty to reality. So she's not just encouraging victims to stand up to their tormentors, she just as often rebukes them for the lies and betrayals they themselves commit in their effort to appease the bullies; She not only de-claws the bullies, she prompts them to question their allegiances within a deep-seated and seemingly impenetrable caste system that locks students into their miserable roles.

In one memorable exchange, Baba gets trapped in a room with Yukawa, one of the three top bullies of the class, who follows in lockstep behind the king of the bullies, Tsuchiya. So she does a little in-your-face identification - which serves as a catalyst in his later transformation...

Yukawa: "He (Tsuchiya) is evil, you know?"

Baba: "I kind of feel like you're worse than him, to be honest. Tsuchiya-kun's definitely violent and tyrannical. But he gets his own hands dirty. He understands people will hate him, and it doesn't bother him in the least. Of course that's not really admirable. But you're different. You hide in Tsuchiya-kun's shadow. You don't want others to hate you, so you make sure to tack a joke on at the end. I guess I'd call you a coward. [Laughs] Is that too much?"

The "mixed bag" effect is at least stark in its contrasts, so when this show is good, it's really good. When it's bad it's not horrible, just jarringly silly. So... identity crisis:

- The school's faculty are portrayed as either anime-caricature buffoons or timid functionaries who'd rather accept blame for things they haven't done than ruffle feathers - the students are actually written as more mature than the teachers;

- There are scenes that are deeply moving - and others that are maudlin and contrived;

- There are scenes where people walk straight into character-assassination traps that would be visible a mile away to anyone with a functioning brain;

- And in the final episode [Spoiler Alert! Skip the rest if you don't want giveaways!]...

- A character who turns out to be a homicidal maniac and knifes another student not only gets released from a juvenile jail after just a few weeks, he's warmly accepted back into the class by the rest of the students and is granted excuses for his crime by the superintendent and by Baba as well - as if nothing ever happened;

- The ringleader of the bullies, Tsuchiya, does an abrupt 180-degree character change and suddenly becomes just an ordinary fun-loving guy at the end - after having tormented everybody in the class for years. The reason for his change is dramatized in a single scene, but it's not fleshed out nearly enough to make his transformation remotely believable;

- There's a sudden, tangential focus on the school administration's proposal to abolish conventional classes in favor of a college-type credit-based structure (so as to defuse bullying,) and on the students' opposition to it. This leads to a violent - and in context of Japan, implausible - "sit-in" takeover by the students, and to their ultimate capitulation. That whole tangent seemed tacked-on and pointless, even though it fed into some minor plot details.

So bottom line: If you can stomach some serious inconsistencies in style, this series is well worth the time - for the Ayako Baba character and Yonekura Ryoko's quietly spectacular performance in that role.
Reviewed by Sakebitosan on 29 August 2017

Comments From Users (11)
This section may contain spoilers! Do not proceed if you
do not want to read about this drama's endings and plots!

1. Comments by Sakebitosan [Rating: 7/10]
An incredible performance by Yonekura Ryoko as a 35-year-old dropout returning to finish high school - and to unravel an entrenched caste system of powerful bullies and their victims.

The problem is that the directorial style is a bizarre mix of serious drama vs. over-the-top cartoonish weirdness - the latter mostly within the school faculty. If you can deal with that jarring inconsistency, there is some great stuff in here -and some truly incredible acting, particularly by Yonekura in the lead role. (Reviewed at the drama's home page and below; currently available on Crunchyroll.)
2. Comments by sasukekun6 [Rating: 8/10]
I enjoyed this drama but I think it could have been a little bit better. Some of the acting was a bit off, but overall it was really enjoyable. I love the idea of an older person being thrown back into that high school atmosphere. Of course I loved Tsuchiya Masamitsu (Suda Masaki) in his role of a bully. It was nice seeing him in a slightly different type of role. He'd been the class clown type role before, but not so much of a bully. I really enjoyed the last few episodes with his reactions with Baba Ayako (Yonekura Ryoko).
3. Comments by zenith777 [Rating: 8/10]
Actually I would give 8.5 because the storyline is well paced and the ending is concluded well. It's not the usual bullying drama story, but there something behind it that made me curious in each episodes :D Hope there will 2nd season though...
4. Comments by joykimlee [Rating: 9/10]
Unique GTO reverse dorama where an overaged mature adult high school student comes to the rescue of problematic students and a dorky teacher.
5. Comments by irwinner [Rating: 7/10]
Somewhat unique setting but rather unsatisfying side story.
6. Comments by daniela [Rating: 5/10]
About bullying at japanese high school. Interesting
7. Comments by Elf Elf [Rating: 10/10]
Interesting permise
8. Comments by oldpilot [Rating: 9/10]
35 year old Student
9. Comments by Milano [Rating: 7/10]
school drama
10. Comments by InstallGentoo [Rating: ?/10]
11. Comments by Ushiroyubi [Rating: ?/10]
ep 7
12. Comments by junker66 [Rating: 5/10]
13. Comments by jessiesoon [Rating: 8/10]
14. Comments by TamiBx [Rating: ?/10]
15. Comments by mammothb [Rating: 6/10]
16. Comments by Doramako [Rating: ?/10]
17. Comments by JMaruyama [Rating: 9/10]
18. Comments by GameChili [Rating: 7/10]
19. Comments by hoihai [Rating: 5/10]
20. Comments by Rutle [Rating: 6/10]
21. Comments by mario34 [Rating: 7/10]
22. Comments by RISAKO [Rating: 3/10]
23. Comments by Aysha [Rating: 8/10]
24. Comments by resha22chad [Rating: 7/10]
25. Comments by kaori-san [Rating: 5/10]
26. Comments by Dorobou [Rating: 6/10]
27. Comments by Michiko3 [Rating: 10/10]
28. Comments by DPanTHera [Rating: 7/10]
29. Comments by sadacori [Rating: 8/10]
30. Comments by rafinharomano [Rating: 8/10]

Users who voted for this drama (1)
1. JMaruyama