High School Teacher (2003)
As the name suggests, Koukou Kyoushi is about a high school teacher, Ikumi Koga (Naohito Fujiki), who is dying of an inoperable brain tumor. Then one night he meets Hina (Aya Ueto), a 16-year-old girl who is pretending to be a 20-year-old beautician. They end up in his apartment for the night, even though nothing happens. The next day, she discovers he is her new high school teacher.
Of course, she keeps trying to get with him, and he tries to keep his distance… after all, he is dying. Then, with those crazy Japanese-language misunderstandings, Hina believes she’s about to die. Suddenly, the teacher finds solace in her… and that’s when it just gets creepy and frustrating.
Besides the dragging storyline of the dying teacher who diddles the student who thinks she is dying, the series talks about suicide, depression, prostitution, and bullying. The big baddie of the series is Yuki, played by Hiroki Narimiya, but his crazy antics get tiring by episode 7 too. I mean, he’s just bad because he’s bad, unlike Koike on Love Exposure, who is bad for because of his background.
Aya Ueto is a decent lead here. She doesn’t anger me as a character because Mina is usually selfless, and there are times when she’s borderline adorable. Because diddling teacher is lying to her all the time, you feel bad for her. And… another moment to roll your eyes at, her character has no parents. She literally spends almost every hour of every day around teacher’s apartment. Stays the night, and goes in the morning, so they go to school together. Totally not creepy, eh?
Anyway, the surprise of the series was Sonim (born Seon-im Seong), who may not really be a huge actress. I feel there’s something wooden and forced about her, but her character was the most interesting in terms of storyline. She was a bullied kid, but now she looks more like the one who would bully. She befriends Ueto’s character because they both wanna be “bad,” and in the end she falls for Yuki, who’s just using her for fun… plus her money, coz girl is loaded. She ends up quitting school, leaving home, and working in “the trade”.