|Majo no jouken [魔女の条件]|
Get ready for a long-winded one, folks :D [Rating: 7/10]
It seems many people are getting so worked up over the teacher/student controversy in this series that they miss the big picture. This isn't real life; it's a *dramatization* of what can unfold when ANY two people fall into ANY kind of relationship that society labels as deviant. The reactions of those around the lead couple would've been essentially the same for any other taboo relationship; namely, a scant few have the wisdom and compassion to understand (Hikaru's uncle, Michi's mother, Kinoshita), but the vast majority are too selfish and close-minded to see that certain details - age, race, gender, anything - really aren't so big a deal when two people love each other. I think that's why it didn't focus much on story-specific issues like the legal age law - it was meant to be a representation of "deviant" relationships in general.
Really, Majo no Jouken has far more psychological depth than many give it credit for. It's not just a teacher and a student in love, nor is it just a pair of pretty faces to glee over. Aside from the obvious central issue, we also see an almost incestual obsessive mother, a short-tempered selfish father, power-hungry colleagues, possessive exes, child abuse, and still more, all serving to create as much unnecessary grief as possible for the lead couple. Of course, they also make several mistakes themselves throughout the series that only make things worse, but hey, it wouldn't be a "drama" if anyone was perfect.
Overall, while this won't go down as my favorite drama, I'm grateful to the makers for coming up with a series that can make people think about these prejudices and the unnecessary suffering they can cause. I just wish more people could see it that way. This is definitely a drama that should be viewed with an open mind.
Getting away from the psychological stuff... this is a decent drama, but not the best I've seen. The story is compelling, the characters are extremely well-designed... but the acting is just satisfactory. Matsushima's character especially felt a bit hollow to me. She had the least depth and personality of the entire cast, and it actually amused me that Takizawa's character was more mature than hers. Not sure if that was the writing or the acting, though.
I actually rated this a 6.5 simply because the last half was so frustrating and depressing, which sort of diminishes the re-watch value for me. But I rounded up because I'm willing to admit the story had me glued to the screen and rooting for the lead couple (but less willing to admit that Takizawa IS nice to look at *shame*).