Post Reply Gokuaku Ganbo
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Posted 6/13/14
by cardboard_shark

I’d argue that every show has its own ideal viewing environment. For a thoughtful fantasy series like Mushi-shi, you might want a quiet room and a cup of tea. A tearjerker drama like Anohana might call for a stockpile of ice cream and an ample supply of tissues. To properly enjoy the live action series Gokuaku Ganbo, you’ll want a rowdy group of friends and a tall glass of beer (or root beer for you minors out there).



Gokuaku Ganbo follows the life of Kaoru Kanzaki, a 20-something woman plagued by financial troubles. When her irresponsible boyfriend leaves Kaoru millions of yen in debt, she finds herself mixed up with the “fixers” at Koshimizu Business Consultants. This shady group uses a wide variety of scams, schemes, and semi-legal loopholes to solve their clients’ money troubles. In the hope of finally making some serious cash, Kaoru ends up joining the organization and becoming a fixer herself.

Ganbo’s biggest strength is its cast of lovably scummy heroes, most of whom would be the villains in any other series. Every white-collar criminal stereotype is present and accounted for, from the crooked lawyer to the disgraced ex-cop who still has friends on the force. We spend the first few episodes laughing at their fake blonde hair, red sports cars, and cheesy one-liners. It’s a surprising amount of fun to watch the characters try to outwit and double-cross one another in order to make a profit. The show’s even more fun if you can assemble a few friends and spend each episode imitating all the villainous poses and mannerisms. As time goes on, however, it becomes clear that Ganbo is up to something rather interesting.



Sure, Kaoru and her colleagues engage in plenty of sketchy activities, from fraud to blackmail. Sure, they’re not above stabbing each other in the back whenever the opportunity arises. However, we still end up cheering them on. After all, they aren’t nearly as bad as their clients. Like any good main character, Kaoru tries to use her fixer talents to help people in financial trouble, but the “innocent victims” aren’t always so innocent. As a general rule, you should almost never trust a minor character in this series.

While their clients may erode our faith in humanity, the Koshimizu fixers end up showing that even the sleaziest villain can do good things. As we learn more about each of them, it becomes clear that they have their own moral codes. For all their scheming and double-crossing, they’re all quick to help one another out when the going gets tough (just not for free). Watching the fixers pull together to take on a rival group in episode five is a rewarding experience that shows how successful Ganbo is at making us like an inherently immoral cast.



So, yes, it’s a lot of fun to make jokes about the over-the-top bad, er, good guys in Gokuaku Ganbo. Their hairstyles and wardrobes alone are a riot. Underneath all the cheesy fun, though, the show is smarter than it initially appears. Grab a drink, practice your gangster impersonations, and give it a try.
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