35-sai no Koukousei
Series Review by David Cirone
No Dropping Out -Back to School at 35- (35-sai no Koukousei) aims for shock value and social relevance, framing the struggles of modern high school students inside an outrageous premise — what if a beautiful, smart, world-experienced 35-year-old woman put on a school uniform and came to class with these impressionable teenagers?
The result is a flat, predictable, and meandering middle-school play, the kind where every kid gets one line to justify their presence on stage and make their parents happy. Each episode focuses on a different member of the senior class at Kunikida High who reveals his or her secret troubles (bullying, self-esteem, academic pressure) to the mysterious new student Ayako Baba (Ryoko Yonekura). By the end of each episode, somebody cries, Baba gives some inspirational advice, and then smiles come back again.