From now on, you are hostages.
3-Nen A-Gumi Japanese Drama Review.
A twist on Battle Royale and Assassination Classroom, Hiiragi Ibuki (Suda Masaki) is a quiet art teacher who traps class 3-A in their classroom 10 days before their graduation. To obtain their freedom, the class must find out the truth behind their deceased classmate, Kageyama Reina’s, suicide.
This review is spoiler-free.
Holy crap. I went into this drama without any expectations. Now, I’m dying for more.
The plot revolves around Kageyama Reina’s suicide; she used to be a star swimming athlete who gets bullied after a falsely edited video of her using drugs to win the Nationals surfaced online. After trapping class 3-A, he gives them until 8:00pm to work together to determine the cause of her death. He then appoints the class president, Kayano Sakura (Nagano Mei), to be the voice of her classmates. She can only give one answer. If she’s wrong, one of her classmates dies.
From this point on, mysteries start to unravel while simultaneously revealing more enigmas to be solved. We learn that Class 3-A are ruthless and toxic teenagers who will throw anyone under the bus to save themselves… yet they are also very human. They learn from Hiiragi that how they choose to deal with heartbreak, sadness, and jealousy can severely impact someone else’s life.
Despite Hiiragi’s cruelty towards his students, we also get a sense that he’s an individual with a strong sense of justice and responsibility. While it’s unknown why he has a strong interest in Reina, he uses her suicide to teach his students about life lessons such as turning sadness and hatred into strength. It sounds cliché but comes off strong in the drama.
The police learn that Ibuki Hiiragi has a violent history. From the teachers, they say he has a quiet personality. I’m interested if he has some sort of connection to Reina as he is seen painting her in some scenes. It’s also obvious that he knows the truth behind Reina’s suicide. He’s observant and clearly isn’t afraid of the consequences of his actions. His motive arguably is to teach. In one scene, he screams at his students by telling them they don’t even have the basics to be human. I’m curious about how his ending will turn out.
Kayano Sakura is the class president and Kageyama Reina’s close friend. Unlike Reina, Sakura finds it difficult to speak her mind and stops speaking to Reina once the bullying begins. Sakura tells Hiiragi that she instigated Reina’s suicide and will take responsibility. However, Hiiragi tells Sakura that she is wrong to which class 3-A voice that Sakura should compensate her wrong decision and take responsibility with her life. Sakura is spared but another student’s life is taken. As Sakura is a lead character, I feel she may become the additional voice of reason to her classmates.
Initially, there’s a lot of yelling and violence. Hayato Kai (Katayose Ryota), while not explicitly stated, is the alpha-male of the boys. He likes to yell and throw a lot of punches but doesn’t have a lot going on upstairs… so far. While not the perpetrator behind the falsely edited video nor is the one who uploaded it, he instigates the bullying by being the first one to outcast Reina. There’s a nagging feeling that his character will play a bigger role later on as a traitor is hidden among the students.
Usami Kaho is one of the popular girls in the class who has a past with Reina. We learn that Kaho’s character is quite possessive, and she has a hard time controlling her negative feelings. While Kaho isn’t responsible for Reina’s death, she played a huge role in the bullying incident which she tearfully learns about Reina’s true feelings from Sakura and Hiiragi.
This drama can be something to learn from.
The students, as they severely lack emotional control, learn to face the consequences of their actions. Additionally, they learn the importance of taking others into consideration. Not just from their current predicament but also from Reina’s suicide.
Ibuki Hiiragi is a mysterious character. Three episodes are not enough to grasp what viewers can learn from his character. That despite having a violent past, he also has a sense of justice? You can’t judge a book by its cover? Those could all be lessons to take away from how the directors and writers decide to portray his character. But of course, there’s something deeper.
I highly recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a new Japanese drama. The cast is awesome (I admit I internally squealed when I saw Nagano Mei and Katayose Ryota) and the story is solid. Despite the drama being categorized as mystery and suspense, the ending song and scenes are so lighthearted that it hints at the entire premise as being not as serious as we think it is.
Regardless, I’ve never been so curious about how the story will unfold and am eagerly anticipating future episodes 😀