Genre: Comedy, Drama
Score: Good
Length: 13 episodes

Kumiko is a new teacher at the one of the toughest delinquent schools around. Can this poor girl cope? Actually, yes she can: she’s the heir to a Yakuza clan. Sure she could beat every one of them to a bloody pulp, but can she persuade them to do their homework? And can she keep her identity secret and avoid getting fired?

The premise inevitably invites comparison to GTO, and similarities do exist, but this isn’t a rip-off. It takes a different tack, and has ideas of its own. While Onizuka was a very shounen hero – courageous, spirited and dumb as two bricks – Kumiko is smart and sure of herself. She’s also well aware of the fine line she has to tread between two different lives.

An important point is that Kumiko can’t rely on her clan to win her battles for her. She must win the respect of the kids by her own virtue and nothing more. The parallels between a yakuza clan and a gang of kids are interesting, bringing the samurai-derived honourable code to bear in a smaller stage, especially in comparison to a gang of street thugs who have power but no honour.

This review relates to the anime version. There are also two seasons of a live action series, but I haven’t seen them.