Yoji Yamada follows up on his popular sentimental tearjerker Gakko with this aptly titled sequel. For this go-around, Yamada alters not only the setting -- now in a remote town in the Northern island of Hokkaido as opposed the low-rent shitamachi district of Tokyo -- but also the main character. Toshiyuki Nishida returns in the lead roll, but this time, instead of a well-meaning oaf, he plays a hardworking teacher who is the model of sobriety. The film opens with Ryu-sensei (Nishida) begging his teenaged daughter to study for college entrance exams instead of running off to the bright lights of Tokyo to become a musician. This crisis is soon supplanted by another -- two students from his boarding school have gone AWOL. One of the students, Takeshi (Hidetaka Yoshioka), was dumped off at the school after being bullied by schoolmates at his former school and largely ignored by his mother. As a result, he retreated into his own inner world to such a degree that he refused to respond to his own name. The other is Yuya (Hiroshi Kanbe), a mentally disabled student who wears a helmet to protect himself during his numerous tantrums, and who has not been able to control his bodily functions. It turns out that the two ventured into town to see a pop concert. As they make their way there and back, flashbacks show how this unlikely friendship has transformed each teen. Takeshi has evolved into one of the school's best pupils -- he even wins a speech contest. Yuya learns to control himself and develops a deep personal bond to Takeshi. Masatoshi Nagase also appears in this film.
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