by Old_Anime_Lady, June 11, 2020
34

My first experience with the Genre? Sub Genre? It was Waruboro which is not a shining example of genre, but it still intrigued me because it was NEW to me (I am a sucker for anything new).  I had watched a few more but again, nothing great until I watched Crows Zero.  Crows ignited an insatiable hunger in me to watch everything in the genre I can find. And now you get to read an article about my findings. Lucky you!

The term originated in Osaka in the 1970s, referring to the young people who wandered the city streets dressed in the flashy clothes symbolic of the fashion shops of the city’s Amerika-Mura (“American Village”) district. - Source The article goes on to explain in-depth all the terms associated with Yanki's and their fashions.

Well, how do you spot a Yankii in your drama? Tv tropes give us a partial list of visual cues mostly from anime..but well go with what we can and adapt it to Dramas

  • Dyed hair Usually Blonde or Red
  • School Uniform (my fave is the red undershirt and white belt)
  • Piercings
  • --Since Tattoos are a cultural NoNo only the baddest of bad have them.

For the rundown, I think I am going to break the series up by different categories -Violence,  Feel, Overall Quality, and MDL Rating. 

What do I mean by "feel"?

  • A close-knit group of friends that back each other up Or 1 Loner against everyone with his ideals
  • Set in School, therefore, they are not yet twenty (may have a character that has graduated to emphasize the fact)
  • Fights to protect
  •  Usually does not involve illegal actions other than vandalism, those that do that are the bad guys 
  • Only fight other Yankiis
  • Actually super nice even though they are little hooligans.

So High means it has all the elements I have listed, Medium means some, and Low means...it should not be on this list lol.  Note: You do not watch a Yanki drama for artistic landscapes or Stellar storytelling Or even Smooth editing transitions. If you score on those criteria these are all failures.  I watch for character growth and the overflowing testosterone.

What do I mean by quality?  

  1. Story cohesion -- even if its a crap story tell it right
  2. Scene transitions --I have a pet peeve about abrupt scene changes without reason, I mean fading the edges of the 2 scenes is not that hard 
  3.  A realistic injuries --broken arm last scene? oh, it healed this scene.  Jumped from a 3 story balcony, walk away with no limp 
  4. Fighting choreography --does the person getting "hit" move out of the way too soon and you can tell the fight is fake?

Bad Boys J (2013)

Bad Boys J (2013)
My Rating:
  7.5/10
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,121 users
Trailer

Violence: Medium
Feel: High
Overall Quality: You almost made it, Almost
I remember really wanting a knockdown drag out Yanki drama when I found this, and it's like it tried too hard and fail to reach the target.  Has all the right tropes yet somehow... somehow it's just not good. Maybe too polished? Maybe Jpop version of bad boys?  I can't exactly pinpoint where the failure was.


Blue Spring  (2002)

Blue Spring  (2002)

My Rating:  7/10
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 494 users
Trailer

Violence: Realistic
Feel: High
Overall Quality:  Color schemes very drab to reflect the tone of the movie and if you love the genre its a must-see just to balance the scales.
One of the most realistic in terms of consequences and grunginess of the whole movie.    There is no glorification of anything in this, it is survival of the fittest.  No empathizing because of bad homelife or comedy to lighten the mood.  It is just a raw, barebones reality check of what gang school life is about.


Crows Zero (2007)

Crows Zero (2007)
My Rating:  9/10
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 4,083 users  Teaser
Crows Zero 2 (2009)

My Rating:  9/10
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 2,988 users Trailer
Crows Explode (2014)
My Rating:  7/10
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 621 users Trailer

Violence: High
 Gangster Feel: This is the benchmark
 Overall Quality: Good but the cast makes it great.
This was when I fell in love with this genre.  Just the right mix of comedy, choreographed fighting, and posturing at its finest.  Editing a little choppy, the love story is weak but present, but the movie has heart. The quality of the movies goes down with each sequel proving it was the cast that carried the first one.

Demekin 2017 

Demekin 2017 
My Rating:  8/10

Ratings: 7.4/10 from 89 users
Trailer

Violence: High
Feel: High
Overall Quality:  Good
I watched this with subpar subs but still loved it.  Demekin, by the way, is the Japanese name for a pop-eyed goldfish.  The standard for the genre.


Drop (2009)

Drop (2009)
My Rating:  9/10

Ratings: 7.3/10 from 874 users
Trailer

Violence: High
Feel: High
Overall Quality:  Excellent
This Movie has a cohesive storyline, more so than most, and definitely highlights it as a phase, not a lifestyle choice. The cast is excellent.


Gachiban Franchise (23 Movies)

Gachiban Franchise (23 Movies)
Rating: Varies
Available on Amazon Prime J-edge channel
Violence: High
Feel: High
Overall Quality:  varies but mostly good
The first 2 Movies feature Kubozuka Shunsuke and are more comedy and sexual teenage angst than a domination Yanki drama.  The next main lead is Sano Kazuma. He stays present for most of the following movies. His movies are more of the "True Yanki drama"  Feel and the third is
Kubota Masataka.   Kubota's character is no longer in school and has hooked up with his former gang senpai, a little darker, a little more short-tempered. Sano and Kubota's characters cross paths many times in these movies, showing both the idealized version of the trope and the more realistic view of what happens if you take this as a life path.  I watched all 23 movies over the span of 3 days (maybe 4) and it felt more like a drama. The storytelling was decent..until the last 3 or 4 movies.  There is also a New Generation version but I did not watch those.


Gokusen Franchise

Gokusen 1 (2002)  no trailer so FMV

My Rating:  8/10
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 10,269 users

Gokusen 2 (2005) no official Trailer so fanmade

My Rating:  7.5/10
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 6,960 users

Gokusen 3 (2008)  no Trailer so fanmade

My Rating:  6.5/10
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 5,127 users

Violence: Medium
Feel: Medium
Overall Quality:  Honestly it depends on which Ikemen cast you are in love with lol
From what I can tell season 1 was not as big of a hit in Japan as Season 2 with the magical pairing of Akame (Akanishi and Kamenashi), but story-wise I enjoy S1 a little more.  Nakama Yukie brings Yankumi to life in all 3 with her unique vision of the world as the granddaughter of a local yakuza group.


Ikebukuro West Gate Park (2000)

Ikebukuro West Gate Park (2000) No trailer

My Rating:  8/10
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 1,039


Violence: Medium
Feel: Medium
Overall Quality:  Good
I almost pulled this off since it's that weird time right after you graduate but don't actually have life plans in place and your buddy who is still in high school hits you up for help.  So yeah it still makes the list. Story-wise this drama is VERY good, with the right mix of comedy and serious.  At least for me.  


Kyou Kara Ore wa!!  (2018)

Kyou Kara Ore wa!!  (2018)

My Rating:  8.5/10
Ratings: 8.7/10 from 690 users
Trailer (not subbed)

Violence: High
Feel: High
Overall Quality:  This is comedy/Yankii Drama and well done.
I really really liked this one and laughed so hard, makes fun of the entire genre without losing the feel of a Yanki drama.  To appreciate this best watch a few of the others before tackling this one.


Majisuka Gakuen (5 dramas 2 movies)2010-2015

Majisuka Gakuen (5 dramas 2 movies)2010-2015
Ratings vary
Violence: High
Feel: High
Overall Quality:  Varies
In an effort to add more girl gangsta to the list I watched this AKB48 Sukeban drama. Well, the first 2 seasons anyhow.  I really liked the first one, after that they stuck to a formula and nothing was fresh anymore.  That being said if you are a fan of any of these idols you may love it.


MARS - Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru 2016 (Movie and Drama)

MARS - Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru 2016 (Movie and Drama)

My Rating:  9/10
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,508 users

Violence: Medium
Feel: High
Overall Quality:  Excellent
This is when the bad boy falls in love and tries to change his ways for her, but then maybe there is someone who doesn't like that change.  Storytelling in this is great- recommend Drama THEN Movie even though the movie COULD be watched as a stand-alone. It doesn't have the slow progression the drama does.  If you only choose 1 from this list, please pick this one.  Not typical or Cliche.


Sh15uya (2005)

Sh15uya (2005)
My Rating:  6/10

Ratings: 6.6/10 from 176 users 


Violence: Medium
Feel: High
Overall Quality:  eeehhhh its a Tokusatsu Yanki drama and since I have not watched enough tokusatsu I cannot judge fairly
It was not the ending I was expecting BUT made sense at the same time, as much as anything in this drama makes sense.  The bad guy's name is Peace.


Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou (2012)

Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou (2012)


Your Rating:
 8/10
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,432 users


Violence: Medium
Feel: Medium-ish
Overall Quality:  Cute because it's trying not to be hard it is rated easier than Bad boy J.
This is when your Yanki boys school merges with the rich Girl school down the road and both are attended by Japanese Idols.  What I liked about this drama was the emphasis on the strengths of both sexes are different but complementary.  I also have been known to read too much into things : ).


Sukeban Deka (1985)

Sukeban Deka (1985)

My Rating:  3.5/10
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 56 users


Violence: Medium
Feel: High
Overall Quality:  --Low--but it was 1985 so I give it a pass
Female Lead is forced to be a secret detective and has to attend all the hardest Sukeban schools around to find her target. Armed with only her yo-yo she climbs the rank of every school she attends.  Low rating due to bad production and weird storytelling but yet still glad I watched so I can get references now.


Sugarless (2012)

Sugarless (2012)

My Rating:  6/10
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 891 users


Violence: High
Feel: High
Overall Quality:  Medium to Low
I really did want to like this one. It has some more of the LDH boys in it but I would recommend Bad Boys J before this one.  Too much Comedy but not the right kind?  Like Kyou Kara Ore Wa but maxed out to the point of no longer funny.  I laughed but at the wrong time.  When it comes up for 1-a-day on my friends feed I say it is one of the worst Yanki dramas I have seen.


Waruboro 2007

Waruboro 2007

My Rating:  5/10
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 176 users

Violence: High
Feel: High
Overall Quality: medium to low
This movie suffers from poor scene transitions and an incoherent storyline. They are fighting but you're not sure why. Watched for Matsuda Shota.


Author's notes for some of the other dramas in this genre I have watched 

Other dramas like Drowning Love, Grasshopper , Koizora, Pika*nchi Life Is Hard However Happy, and Aogeba Toutoshi feature a Yanki but either do not feature any fighting, is a side character, or is just window dressing.  So thrill of the bad boy with none of what actually makes him a bad boy.

Risou no Musuko, Five and Honou no Tenkousei REBORN  feature fights but no Yankiis so they are weird sub-genre themselves.

Tumbling, Rookies, Yankee-Kun to Megane-chan, and Suikyuu Yankees have reformed Yanki trying their best to grow up and be useful adults or a cartoon caricature of what a Yanki is.

GTO and Dragon Zakura Have ex-Yankiis for teachers so I did not include them as this is about the students, not the teachers.

Bokutachi ga Yarimashita I added and removed this 3 times, this is more of a fugitive drama than a Yanki Drama, even though in the beginning that what they were.

Hard Romanticker while it definitely has a lot of fights Gu is definitely more cheap thug than Yanki. So does not make the cut.

High and Low  Series While Excellent only one gang is still in school. so it does not make the cut.  Shame though cause its soooooooooooo good for me anyhow: P. It has the feel of a Yanki drama with the goal to protect.

Tokyo Tribe is Definitely about gangs but more like lowest-ranked yakuza than High school. It's not really defined, but if you are looking for a gang Rap musical Sono Sion has you covered.

So I hope you enjoyed this article and maybe this added a few to your PTW.  Did I miss one?  let me know in the comments below.


Edited by:  BightestStar (1st editor)

Trending