My new favorite anime series is GOKUSEN (Tuesday nights at 1am on channel 4, NTV). Based on a manga, and then done as a drama last year (starring TRICK’s Nakama Yukie in the role of Yankumi), it’s now been launched as a late-night animated series. It’s only at episode 3 or 4 now, so there’s still time to jump on board. It tells the story of Yamada Kumiko, the daughter of a yakuza boss, who becomes leader of the gang after the death of her parents. The thing is, she also wants to be a high-school teacher, which is where the hilarity comes from. We see her trying to be a sweet teacher, but then when tension rises she starts using yakuza slang and showing that she’s not the innocent girl she pretends to be. It also features the coolest end credits I’ve seen in a while. The song is by a super-famous enka singer (I forget her name, but Yuko was really surprised that they got her to sing a song for the show), and the visuals are of classic Japanese imagery, featuring the characters from the show. Very nice.