View Full Version : [Anime] Great Teacher Onizuka

05-04-2009, 10:13 AM
Please give my original posting some love, it's got additional screen captures: link (http://cjblackwing.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/great-teacher-onizuka-review/)

Eikichi Onizuka. 22 years old. Even as Japan keeps turning out more new anime, thereís still perfectly good series out there from the past, and thatís especially true for people who might have been introduced to anime just recently. Itís hard to believe that GTO will be 10 years old this June, but age has nothing to do with a good anime. So Iíve devoted the last few days of my life to this series.

The premise is simple, if not a bit cracked out, and the first episode serves to illustrate. Onizuka is a former Yakuza who always had a dream of becoming a teacher, and the best one of all time at that. Of course, he ends up drawing quite possibly the most ill-tempered class out of the whole lot, and thatís putting it lightly. This begins a 42 episode long trek to slowly win all students of his class over, and along the way figure out their problems. And in the end, it culminates with the student who has easily suffered the most trauma and the revelation of the event that shook the class to its core.

You know Onizukaís always going to win in the end, and if you have to ask why, then you still donít quite understand the premise. Whatís important is the journey, how is he going to prevail, and where is he going to screw up along the way. It seems easy but quickly becomes complicated when you realize that the class is actively plotting against his efforts. Theyíre quite brilliant for a bunch of teenagers. The vice-principal also has a very low opinion of the former gang member and spends a lot of his time antagonizing the situation. On top of that, Onizuka is no pristine member of society; in fact, heís a wonderfully flawed character. He drinks, he smokes, heís vulgar, heís a womanizer, and he acts completely over the top, running on instinct. Despite this you will love him, trust me.

The cast of characters supporting the show are just as important; they are numerous and as easily flawed. If youíre anything like me, youíll have trouble remembering most of their names by the end of the series, even the ones that are around from step one. Yet, each of these characters gets to carry the plot ball at some point for their spot in the limelight, and most of them will even have their own crowning moment of awesome. By the end, theyíve all grown significantly under their teacherís tutelage. Itís the sign of a good series when you can juggle all these characters around and manage to leave none of them in the lurch.

A lot of the series appeal is the ridiculous situations that are generated and Onizukaís ability to come up with equally ridiculous solutions, and soak up comical levels of punishment. It still delivers elsewhere. This show has the ability to move you, and if you donít feel anything by the end of episode 11ís dramatic soliloquy, quite frankly you must be dead inside. The great teacher also specializes in life lessons, and if you havenít managed to learn anything by the time the series reaches its conclusion, then I honestly wonder if we were watching the same show. This naturally lends itself to exploring how the school system is failing to prepare its students for the real world, instead focusing on test scores at the expense of all else. Really the only time this show loses its impact at all are when it veers off the overarching story for a one shot episode, and even those donít feel terribly out of place and serve as auxiliary character development.

The animation isnít nearly as pristine as technology allows today, but that doesnít really matter. Itís still fun the watch, and the facial expressions in particular are well executed. With all the action going on in some sequences, there are neither noticeable breaks in the action, nor any part where you lose sight of whatís going on. The music doesnít have a tremendous amount of variety; it sets the mood for the situation and then goes merrily away, letting the characters speak for themselves. Steven Blum plays Onizuka to the hilt, and I like the rest of the characters voice work as well for the most part. There were a couple of minor characters I didnít really care for, but a minor character in this series basically means they get about three lines and then fall off the face of the planet for a few years.

This series is full of greatness. If you havenít watched it yet, then I donít care how you do it, watch it. If you have, take a bit of your time to revisit your favorite episodes. Itíll be worth it for all of you.

Series score: 9.5/10 Crestas

05-04-2009, 12:10 PM
one of my favorite anime series. but sadly it does not tell the hole story. I recommend that you read the manga.