Series: Majisuka Gakuen

Majisuka Gakuen (マジすか学園, lit. Serious School) is a Japanese drama by the idol group AKB48 and was broadcasted first in 2010 on TV Tokyo. The cast mostly consists of members of AKB48 or their numerous sister groups.

Two transfer students, Atsuko Maeda and Onizuka Daruma arrive at Majisuka Gakuen, an all-girls yankee school where fights and violence are common. While Daruma is eager to prove her strength to the strongest group in school, Rappapa, Atsuko does not care about fighting. Soon enough, the Majisuka students learn about Atsuko's true power and force her to fight them.

The series was renewed for two other seasons: Majisuka Gakuen 2, set in the same school but a year after the original, where the new Rappappa has to face both an inner rebellion and the attack of Yabakune, now led by a former ally. Majisuka Gakuen 3 is set in the future on a prison for young girls and features a new cast of characters. New main character is now Paru, the newest convict in Hope Prison, a girls' prison built Twenty Minutes into the Future after the Juvenile Deliquency Law is passed. Paru will have to survive in a harsh enviroment full of fights and crime.

A fourth season has been greenlighted and started airing in 2015: the action returns to Majisuka Gakuen where a new group of girls has become the Rapappa, and yet another transfer student (this time Sakura Miwayaki) will confront the Rappapa leader, Salt (played by Haruka Shimazaki, who played Kanburi and Paru in former seasons) while Majisuka's rival Gekioko Nurse School plans an attack.

A fifth season has been greenlighted, and it will follow a new conflict between Majijo, Gekioko, Yabakune and an unknown group of older men which have now been revealed to be Yakuza.

This series contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: The fourth season really builds up the tension between Gekioko and Majijo, seemingly leading up to a full-fledged conflict between the two schools just as in the second happened between Majijo and Yabakune... only for Antonio to be defeated by Sakura, Gekioko peacefully accepting defeat and Antonio and Kobii quietly graduating. Although with the announcement of a fifth season, this plotline may be picked up again.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council - The strongest group - the wind instrument club Rappapa - is feared by everyone and de facto considered the top of the school.
  • Action Girl: Any character who is not an action girl is a rare exception.
  • Adults Are Useless - Whereas all students possess fighting skills, the school staff seems to be mostly made of average humans not affecting the plot at all. By the time of fourth season, not even the director appears, and the school seems to be in anarchy.
  • Affably Evil: Yuko
  • A Friend in Need: Why many of the characters have deep connections, underneath their cool exteriors.
  • Ambiguously Gay: The first two seasons show quite a bit of subtext, but the third takes it Up to Eleven. Uruseeyo and Tatsuo are really masculine girls who are obsessed with each other, and Peace gets described by the guard as "the girl who loves Paru".
  • Antagonist in Mourning: After Yuko's death, everyone mourns her, including those who stood against her.
  • Ax-Crazy: Shibuya and Gekikara.
    • Yagi in the third season is so mad she needs to be carried around in chains to prevent her from attacking anyone.
  • Babies Ever After: In her cameo in the fourth season, Daruma is seen with a baby-
  • Back-to-Back Badasses - Used several times throughout the series, most notably with Atsuko and Sado (and Atsuko and Minami in a flasback) in the first season, then with Center and Nezumi in the second. Paru and Miyu also do this in the third.
  • Backup Twin: Played with and lampshaded as Yuko's actress returns. Not as a twin, but as the two surviving triplets.
  • The Bechdel Test: Passed almost every minute.
  • Berserk Button - Unlike most students, Atsuko is reluctant to any fighting. Until you ask her whether she is serious.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Maeda.
  • Bloodier and Gorier - For a drama based on an idol group, one would think that it'll be something light and happy, right? Definitely wrong.
    • And then, there is the Gekikara episode, which is much gorier and more cruel than everything else until this point.
    • Season 5 takes this Up to Eleven.
  • Book Dumb: Bakamono in the fourth.
  • The Cameo: In the fourth season, Center appears as the nurse treating Salt when she gets injured in episode 8. Nezumi also makes a comeback in episode 10, wearing her trademark hood. Torigoya appears on episode 1 saving a Majisuka student from Gekioko bullies, and Daruma appears on episode 6 giving some cryptic advice and some of her trademark chicken wings to Kamisori and Zombie.
    • Yuko and Atsuko have been confirmed to be back in the fifth season as cameos.
  • Catch Phrase: Atsuko has "I'm serious".
    • Gekikara has "Are you mad?"
    • The third season is full of these. Uruseeyo has "Shuddup!", Nantene has "Just kidding", Komimi has "I just overheard this but..." and Messi has "Bang!" when releasing Yagi from her chains, and "Perfect", answered by Yagi's "Respect".
  • Combat Commentator: Team Hormone. Hilariously lampshaded by Daruma when Kokabuki commentates during Atsuko's fight with Ookabuki.
  • Combat Sadomasochist - Gekikara does not care about winning or losing but takes and throws punches alike just for the sake of violence while giggling like a maniac.
    • Sado's nickname is a shortening of the word "sadist". Seeing as Yuko gave it to her after seeing her fight it makes a lot of sense.
  • Cool Big Sis: Minami acts as one towards Sakura in the fourth season.
  • Coordinated Clothes: Kabuki Sisters.
    • Shokkaku and Sudachi in the third season and Kamisori and Zombie in the fourth.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Dance in the first and second seasons and KY in the fourth.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: Black and Jumbo both wear rosaries.
  • Creepy Child: Miso in the second season.
  • Custom Uniform: Atsuko and the other main characters in each season (except Otabe, who still wears a cardigan over the normal uniform) are pretty much the only persons who wear her uniform correctly.
  • Dark Action Girl: Several have shaded of this, but Gekikara in Season 1 most of all.
  • Defeat Means Friendship - After Atsuko beats Team Hormone, the latter becomes relatively amiable towards her.
    • Also the case with the Kabuki Sisters, Gakuran, and Choukoku, out of whom the first two actually fight for her.
    • Sado is another case, seeing as she not only became Yuko's second-in-command, but one of her fiercest defenders, after Yuko beat her senseless the first time they fought.
    • Happens to Team Habu and Paru in the third season, and Kamisori, Zombie and Sakura in the fourth.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: All the opening and ending songs are sung by AKB members.
  • Domestic Abuse: Nezumi tried to protect her mother from this
  • The Dragon: Sado to Yuko.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Myao from the Sanshou Sisters.
    • Also Shokkaku and Sudachi in the third season.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy - Happens with the Kabuki Sisters. Daruma even comments on this: "Are you a commentator?"
  • Expy: All the main girls from each season share the same characteristics: extremely silent, bob haircuts (Paru has longer hair but cuts it later), only person in the school to wear their uniform correctly, and having an habit before fighting (Atsuko takes off her glasses, Paru removes her hairband and places it on her knuckles and Sakura takes off her uniform's ribbon)
    • Salt has a very similar hairstyle to Yuko. They're also the only two Rappappa heads who have never been defeated.
  • Family Theme Naming: The three Ooshima triplets are called Yuko, Yuki and Yuka.
  • The Fake Cutie: The Sanshou Sisters act childish and wear lolita clothes, but they aren't any less violent than her classmates.
  • Five-Man Band: Rappappa.
    • The Leader: Yuko, top of the school. Remplaced by Atsuko in the second and Salt in the fourth.
    • The Lancer: Sado. Remplaced in the second and fourth by Otabe.
    • The Chick: Shibuya and Torigoya. Remplaced in the second by the Kabuki Sisters and by Yoga in the fourth.
    • The Smart Guy: Black. Remplaced in the second by Shaku and by Magic in the fourth.
    • The Big Guy: Gekikara. Remplaced in the fourth by Bakamono.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Sado and Maeda.
  • Flash Step - Black's specialty.
  • Flawless Victory: Maeda VS Shibuya, surprisingly.
  • Foil: Daruma to Atsuko, Peace to Paru and Kamisori and Zombie to Sakura.
  • Friendly Enemy: Yuko to Maeda.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Sayanee's character in the fourth season is named Antonio, a Spanish boy name.
    • Abe Maria's character in the third season is called Tetsuo, a name only used by boys.
  • Hand Puppet: Nantene uses one in the third season. It's called Sally.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Nezumi combines this with In the Hood.
  • Held Back In School: Shibuya is a bit of a strange one. She has already graduated, started working, but then volunteerily goes back to third year, of a rival school.
    • Otabe in season 4 though it was never explained as to why she was held back. Wota, too.
    • In season 5, Salt was held back because she missed to many days of school. So the other queens decided to stay back another year with her. Except Bakamono, who miscounted her attendance percentage and actually met the number of days required for graduation and therefore had to graduate.
  • Hellhole Prison: The girls live in one in the third season.
  • Honor Before Reason: Happens a lot with people not shying away from challenging whole crowds of opponents. The Kabuki Twins come to mind, with one fighting a whole bunch of girls, while the other challenges Shibuya.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Daruma.
  • Identical Stranger: The only explanation for the same actresses playing different characters in the same universe without their characters being related.
  • If I Can't Have You: A subversion in the third season. Miyu was in fact angry at Keita for loving Paru and only seeing her as a sister, but didn't kill him because of hatred, but because she was ordered so by the prison.
  • Ill Girl - Yuuko.
  • Important Haircut: Paru cuts her hair after deciding to become head of Team Habu.
  • In Name Only: The third season is set in a prison instead of a school, and features a new set of characters. The prison has the nickname "Majisuka Prison", but it's set in a different place, not related to Majisuka Academy.
  • It's Personal: Erena despises Atsuko because she believes she's the reason of her sister Minami's death.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Happens to Daruma a lot.
  • The Lad-ette: Uruseeyo.
  • Lady of War: Maeda Atsuko
  • Laughing Mad: Gekikara.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters - The first season alone features at least 30 girls from AKB48 or their sister groups. Even more are added on latter seasons.
  • Lured Into a Trap: Center by Nezumi. Subversion in that she knew Nezumi was betraying her and still showed up
    • In the fourth season, Sakura by Shirogiku and Kurobara, who kidnap Kamisori and Zombie.
  • Meaningful Name - There are several, justified for a few of the characters as they are nicknames.
    • Daruma shares her name with a type of good luck charm in Buddhism that is able to always get up when it's knocked down. This is even lampshaded by the Sanshou Sisters who start saying lines of the game "Daruma-san fell down" (akin to "Red light green light") while fighting with her and Atsuko.
    • Given to her by Yuko after their fight, "Sado" is a shortform for "Sadist", which is... strangely appropriate once you see her fight.
    • Shibuya dresses in kogal fashion and shares her name with a district in Tokyo where kogals are known to hang out.
    • "Nezumi" means "mouse." Guess who is The Mole and Manipulative Bastard trying to quietly orchestrate all of the events of the series?
    • Even the name of the school, "Majisuka", contains the word "maji" that is a homonym for "serious."
    • Yabakune's name comes from "yabai". It means bad.
  • Mismatched Eyes: Nobunaga in the third season.
  • Missing Mom - Atsuko's mother is also a yankee who travels a lot. She does come back to visit pretty early in the series.
  • Mr. Exposition: Team Hormone are usually the ones that explain (either to each other or to Daruma) other girls' characteristics and fighting styles.
  • Morality Pet: Center to Nezumi
  • Mythology Gag: Shibuya's ringtone is "Dear J", Itano Tomomi's (her actress) first solo single.
    • The first song Sashihara Rino ever centered in AKB was "Kagami no Naka no Jeanne D'Arc", where in the beginning she carries a flag. At the second season's last episode, there's a scene where her character Wota is carrying Majisuka's flag. The positions of the rest of Team Hormone also make it look like the song's unit.
    • Atsuko standing in the school's rooftop with her arms wide open at the end of the second season's opening looks very similar to Yuuko's shot at the beginning of the "Keibetsu Shiteta Aijou" PV.
  • New Transfer Student - The first episode starts with two transfer students, Atsuko and Daruma, joining Majisuka Gakuen.
    • Otabe is this in the second season.
    • In the fourth season, the same happens with Sakura.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: Atsuko, Otabe and Sakura are the only ones that wear the proper uniform, everyone else wears longer skirts, extra jackets, no ribbons, etc. Gakuran doesn't even wear the girls' uniform, wearing a boys' one instead. Happens the same to most of the Yabakune and Gekioko cast.
  • The Notable Numeral: The Four Heavenly Queens.
  • One Steve Limit - Minami the Student Council President is not to be confused with Minami, Atsuko's deceased friend.
    • Also in season 4 Sakura frequents a diner owned by a woman named Minami
  • Plucky Girl - Every single student could qualify for this, but especially Atsuko, Daruma, and Yuuko.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: In her introduction, Comeback states she dropped out of Yabakune and later came back. Kikuchi Ayaka, her actress, was kicked out of the group after a scandal, and later came back.
    • Otabe is a transfer student from Kyoto. Yokoyama Yui is from there.
    • Shaku changed her character to get more screentime. Minegishi Minami's gimmick on stage is getting obsessed with spotlight.
    • In her cameo in the fourth season, Wota claims she was grounded and sent to Fukuoka for a couple of years. Rino Sashihara was moved to the Fukuoka-based group HKT 48 after getting involved in a scandal.
  • Posthumous Character: Minami, Atsuko's best friend, only appears through flashbacks, as she died before Atsuko came to Majijo.
    • In the third season, same happens to Keita, Paru's crush.
  • Put on a Bus: All the third-years that graduated on the first season (as well as Daruma) only have small scenes explaining where they are now in the second season's first episode. The Sanshou Sisters (once it's revealed they've transferred to Yabakune) state that Manamana stayed at Majijo (a way to cover the fact that her actress, Oku Manami, graduated before the show started airing) Same happens to Erena, who doesn't appear on this season after her actress graduated from the group.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Team Fondue on second season take most of the commentary Team Hormone did on the first, after the latter Take a Level in Badass. Same goes to Team Hinabe in the fourth season.
    • Actually, most of the protagonists are very similar to each other. Atsuko, Otabe, Paru and Sakura all have bob haircuts, stoic demeanor and really messed up pasts.
  • Sailor Fuku: The school's uniform qualifies.
  • School of Hard Knocks: Majisuka Academy.
  • Second Year Protagonist
  • Sequel Hook: A girl walks up to challenge Maeda at the end of Season 1. Her response? Any time, freshman
    • The fourth season ends with new Yabakune head Gekkou warning Sakura about a counterattack from Yabakune on spring. Later, Sakura is defeated by Paru, but both realized the former will get even stronger and keep fighting for the top position.
  • She-Fu: Thankfully averted.
  • Significant Double Casting: Some of the girls that played characters in the two first seasons play new characters in the third. For example, Matsui Jurina (who played Center) plays Nobunaga, Kumi Yagami (who played Dance) plays Komimi and Shimazaki Haruka (who played Docchi) plays Paru, the main character. Same goes for the fourth season, despite being set in the same place as the first two.
  • Sssssnaketalk: Nezumi.
    • Shokkaku hisses a lot too.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Gakuran.
  • Stoic Glasses: Atsuko in the first season, Nakamata in the second, Messi in the third.
  • Super Speed: Black's special hability.
  • The Glasses Come Off - When Atsuko gets serious, she always takes off her glasses.
    • Lampshaded in episode 11 when before a fight with Sado she removes them dramatically... to clean a lens.
    • Her dad does this, too.
    • Averted in the second series, as she gets contacts.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: "Sakura no Shiori", the ending for the first season, is Majisuka's hymn. It's also Yuuko's favourite song, and she usually sings or hums it.
  • There Are No Therapists: Some girls centairnly need some treatment.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Nezumi remembers her father hitting her as she tried to protect her mother from his beatings and then her mother leaving.
  • True Companions
  • Two-Teacher School: Somewhat justified since nobody seems to do any learning anyway. Apart from Maeda that is, but she still learns from a book that is not on the curriculum.
  • Use Your Head - Daruma's signature move. She explains that it's because when she was in Shibuya's gal circle, she would be headbutted as punishment.
    • Because of this, Atsuko uses one to beat Shibuya.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment - How Chokoku carries her 100 Poems by 100 Poets cards.
  • Villainous Friendship: Sado and Yuko
  • Worthy Opponent: Maeda grows into this for Rappapa as they keep hearing about more of her victories.
  • Wham Episode: Miso stabbing Gekikara in season 2's episode 5.
    • Salt's death at the end of the first episode of season 5.