Majo no Jouken


Reviewed by: sukting

April 08, 2004

Rating: three

How long
11 episodes

Foreword
The Korean drama ‘Romance’ borrows the storyline from this drama. This serial rocked the whole of Japan because of the daring theme. Are you ready to accept this couple who dare to go through all odds to be together? But please be warned – it is not a comedy as it is on a very serious issue.

Story

Wei Zhi is a high-school teacher. Her methods are boring as she only wants to get married to Da and quit the job. Guang is a high student transferred from another school. His father died recently and his mother, Jing Zi, is taking over the hospital. Guang is a loner and doesn’t mix with his friends. However, Wei Zhi is attracted to him when he offers her a lift on his motorcycle. Jing Zi gets to know about it and gets a tuition teacher to monitor his movements. Guang is frustrated.

Wei Zhi reveals her feelings to Guang. Many students bully Guang and Wei Zhi is stopped from giving lessons. Her family is badly affected by the harassment calls made. Wei Zhi’s father falls ill because of this. Wei Zhi can’t accept the drastic change and decides to part with him for the moment.

Guang refuses to accept her decision. His motorcycle is burned and he has to agree to his mother’s decision to transfer him into another school. Wei Zhi resigns from her job and is upset that he is harsh to her. Da wants to win her back but she returns him the wedding ring.

Wei Zhi can’t accept Guang’s decision to go to LA – it is so bad that she faints. Upon being sent to hospital, she then realises that she is pregnant with his child. Guang later sends a letter to her and hopes that she will wait for his return. But this letter is burned by Wei Zhi’s father and she doesn’t know it. Despite all opposition, she decides to keep the child and even leaves home.

Before he leaves, she tells him that she believes that there should be somewhere which they can find freedom. Guang is unable to suppress his feelings and decides to elope with her. But he is indecisive as Jing Zi always keeps tabs on him.

Guang knows the news from Chun and rushes back to Japan. Wei Zhi washes dishes in a restaurant. Upon knocking off, the manager has designs on her and attempts to rape her. Wei Zhi escapes but loses Guang’s ring. Guang finds it and knows the place she stays. Bu she isn’t there when he reaches there. He is unhappy and goes to the playground that they meet the first time.

He meets her there and both hug together. Wei Zhi suddenly faints in his arms. He sends her to hospital. The doctor says that she must have an abortion otherwise her life will be in danger. She refuses as she wants the baby. They both settle at his uncle’s farm. Jing Zi and Da find both missing. Jing Zi is so furious that she tells the police that Wei Zhi has abducted her underage son.

Wei Zhi knows that Da is searching for her so she escapes with Guang. However, they meet Da on the way and Guang is injured by him. In order not to worsen his injury, she brings Guang to the hospital. The hospital informs the police of her whereabouts. Wei Zhi discovers the police and runs away with Guang again. Both don’t know where to go so they decide to stay in a small town.

Wei Zhi works in a fish market while Guang rests at home. Both cohabit together at last. Wei Zhi gets to know that Chun is ill-treated by her father but she is helpless. Guang gives her the courage and brings Chun to stay with her. Chun is grateful to them. Guang gives up his studies to be with Wei Zhi to work at the petrol station. Jing Zi is angry with him.

Guang dislikes Jing Zi to be with Wu Dai, a doctor who is power-hungry. But she is adamant to be with him and Guang’s relationship with her is strained. But upon knowing that the hospital falls into Wu Dai’s hands and Jing Zi tries to kill herself by walking into the sea, he returns with Wei Zhi.

After facing fierce opposition and also hoping for the best for Guang, Wei Zhi decides to break up with Guang. Jing Zi is discharged and Wei Zhi finally finds a teaching job after much difficulty. But students learn to accept her when she is creative in her teaching now.

Wu Dai makes mistakes at work and is questioned by the police. Wei Zhi is going to give birth soon but her life is in danger. Chun calls Guang to go to hospital and the doctor tells him that out of the two, he can only save one. Guang knows that she wants the baby very much and gives her support. Although she loses the baby, she is still reunited with Guang.

Introduction on characters

1. Guang Lai Wei Zhi – Nanako Matsushima
How can a teacher do this to her student? Unfortunately, there were one or two cases of Singapore male teachers having sex with their students. They were jailed but if this teacher happens to be a female, how will the scenario turn out? Wei Zhi isn’t a good teacher to me. She doesn’t show eagerness in work and also affection for her fiancé. I also wonder what she exactly wants in life.

Just to get married and live off on the future husband? She is so weak from the start but is surprisingly firm to be with Guang. When she has a focus, she changes completely. She faces opposition from her family and also the protective Jing Zi to prevent her from seeing him. She is arrested twice and is even sent to a mental institution. Yet, she doesn’t give up.

It is surprising that the stronger opponent she meets, the stronger she becomes. Is this the way that women behave to protect their self-interest when they are being forced into a corner? Her love for Guang is a big mistake – especially when the issue comes public. If I were Jing Zi, I will also do the same – call the police. The boy is still under-aged and is crazy to be on the run with her. Nanako’s acting is quite good although she can look stiff in some scenes.

2. Hei Zhe Guang – Hideaki Takizawa
He is rebellious and uninterested in studies. He has a talent in art and gives Wei Zhi nice sketches. He likes to drive around on his motorcycle. But when he genuinely likes Wei Zhi, he really wants to be a good student to capture her attention. And indeed, he does it but she rejects him. He looks very pitiful when he asks her to meet in the library at night. I also wonder whether Wei Zhi falls for his innocence too.

He is the one who encourages Wei Zhi to face herself to make the right choice. But towards the middle, they are isolated by their romance and their relationship suffers. He is trapped between love and also filial piety. He becomes weak here.

Hideaki is a natural actor. I can’t believe that this is his debut drama. He slips into the role well. Guang’s mysterious nature, loneliness, stubbornness and rebellious side not only attracts Wei Zhi, he also captures the viewers’ attention. He is a person who looks smart in the high-school uniform. No wonder he is often asked to act as a student. Not only in here but also in ‘The anchor woman’ and ‘The sun never sets’.

3. Hei Zhe Jing Zi – Hitomi Kuroki
She tries to be a good mother and a working professional. She is a successful surgeon. However, she fails in both - in loving the wrong man and also unable to stop Guang from loving Wei Zhi. She wanted to commit suicide with Guang after knowing that Wei Zhi is pregnant with his child. But she changes her mind and tries to kill herself instead. After being saved, she straightens her thoughts and becomes a volunteer in the hospital. Hitomi is good in acting but seems too thin and young to be the mother.

4. Bei Jing Da – Bei Shuo Zhe Ye
Poor man. He is a successful reporter and is going to be promoted to senior reporter soon because of his capability and his flair for languages. He really loves Wei Zhi and wants to marry her. He is often busy with work and neglects her. But he believes that the number of years that they share together should be able to withstand any hardship. He may be over-confident.

But what she does crushes him completely. He doesn’t know what has gone wrong and gets himself drunk. He later seeks her out when she goes missing, partly because she has disgraced him by running off with Guang and he doesn’t know how to face others when they ask him. In the end, he concentrates on his career.

Zhe Ye is also a natural actor in portraying jealousy. Another plus point is his English diction is clear with an American accent. I have seen him acting as an ambassador in another drama and he did well there too.

5. Mu Xia Chun – Shan Tian Ma Yi Zi
Guang’s classmate who likes him but still wishes him the best upon knowing that he loves Wei Zhi. She is selfless and even helps both to elope. She is ill-treated by her father but later becomes a strong person. She even decides to study law to become an attorney in future.

6. Yu Tian Tong Zi – Xi Tian Shang Mei
She is secretly in love with Da. She feels sorry for him when Wei Zhi leaves but also hopes to win his heart at the same time. However, she fails miserably.

7. Wu Dai
He has all along been eyeing for the hospital director post but unfortunately, Guang’s father got it. After his death, he thinks his chance is here but Jing Zi becomes the successor. To achieve his aim, he tricks her. But being too arrogant, he gets himself and the hospital into trouble. He is later jailed and Jing Zi has a hard time rebuilding its reputation again.

8. Mr Guang Lai
He is an ex-principal and forces Wei Zhi to take up teaching. She only listens to him but is uninterested in it. That is why she is often bullied by students. He is angry with her for disgracing him. But he has another shock when his wife is encouraged by their daughter’s courage to suggest a divorce. She simply can’t put up with his bad temper anymore and wants to pursue her dream of becoming a pianist.

Favourite character
None

Most hated character
None

Song
The song is ‘First love’ by famous singer, Utada Hikaru. This song is still well-known today and is one of the best theme songs that I have heard so far.

Interesting facts
The initial choice was to have Tokiwa Takako as Wei Zhi but she declined the role. She was afraid that it would raise disputes so she rejected it. However, Nanako bravely accepted it and was not scared of being ridiculed. Many really marvelled at her courage to take up the role.

It sure broke records. Many raised issues to the television station – 150,000 emails and 700,000 letters. Many had comments on how daring the producer was. It was a sensitive issue as only male teachers would be involved. Many had said if the leads were not Nanako and Hideaki and not received a public scolding, it could never have created a storm. The viewership was 29.5% at its highest and was a public issue for long.

There was a real case in real life of a secondary school teacher loving a 15-year-old boy. In the end, they had a daughter but the court placed an order stopping her from visiting the boy to end their ties. She broke the law and went out with him. In the end, the jail sentence was prolonged.

This serial had to be placed under parental guidance when shown at midnight on a weekly basis. I found it necessary because the storyline wasn’t appropriate.

Conclusion
I am not convinced by the story so I am neutral to the development. The romance shouldn’t have started in the first place. As an educator, Wei Zhi must set a good example. What they have done have not only ruined their own future but also their students’ future as well.

Unlike ‘Romance’, my spirits were low when watching it. It had no happy moments at all. All along I was thinking – why can’t they wait for a few more years instead of getting themselves into so much trouble? What Wei Zhi can do is to say ‘no’ to Da and the problem is solved partially.

Every episode shows the leads having an anklet chained to each other and both hold their hands tightly together. I must admit that it was shot very beautifully. The producer has avoided talking about the moral issue and stresses that both are having a pure love relationship to search for happiness in life. To him, love makes one grow and also find courage.

Initially all characters are weak but when the romance is discovered, they are forced to face it. I feel that both lack chemistry in the beginning as they look weak and gentle. But a good script brings out their personalities. At least, both do look like student and teacher.

I do think that the serial tells us to do some self-reflection. I do pity the men in here. Their selfish act has caused them to lose the women they love. This shows that we can’t take them for granted and ignore their feelings. Everyone has his or her weak and strong points. The two leads are perfect examples. Their personalities are exchanged and make the romance interesting to all. Furthermore, both are innocent-looking so it is hard to hate them although what they have done is not agreeable to all.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)


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