Great Teacher Onizuka

The Boring Info The Characters The Songs The Opinion
Onizuka Eikichi
Danma Ryūji
Fuyutsuki Azusa
Class of 3-4
Openings Endings
Driver’s High
Hitori no Yoru
Last Piece
Shizuku
Cherished Memories


The Animoo

Great Teacher OnizukaOnizuka Eikichi was a former biker gang member, who wanted to become a high school teacher in hopes of getting one (or more) of his female students to become his girlfriend/lover thanks to the “mystical and powerful influence” teachers had over their students. How he came to this conclusion is seen in the manga, but left out in the anime, which is why I am telling you ^_^

Anywho, with this in mind, he starts his teacher training at a public high school where he meets the girl, Mizuki. While she initially seduces him to set him up to have embarrassing pictures taken with her (teacher-student relationships are a no-no), so that she and some of her male classmates could blackmail him, she later opens up to him, after he saves her life when she jumps of his motorcycle (he was giving her a ride home) and into the path of an oncoming truck. She tells him that she doesn’t want to go home because of how loveless her parents’ marriage has become and various other problems sprouting from that. Onizuka tells her to calm down and go home, and that he, as her teacher, would help her fix her problem.

I’m not gonna tell you how he does it, but it is kick-ass funny and extreme, yet it makes perfect sense, despite the destruction of private property (now you’re really curious, aren’t ya :P). But she becomes the first of many students he helps out, and after that point, he swore he would never “prey” on impressionable school girls, but instead listen to the problems of his students and help them open up to the world

However, in all of his “hyped up”-ness, he forgets to take public teachers’ civil service exam needed to become a public teacher. Thinking his dream to be destroyed, he gives up and decides to become a truck driver, until he hears from his friend, Ryuuji, that he can still become a teacher in a private school, and that he has an interview with one (the Holy Forest Academy), only a few hours away. Needless to say, he gets the job (otherwise, it would be a pretty short anime) on the condition that he lives on school property, and begins teaching the most feared class in the school, Class 3-4. An this is where the fun begins…


The Boring Info

The anime is 43 episodes long and is based on the manga of the same name. However, after episode 14, the anime starts a storyline of its own.
Several minor character and events are, compared to the manga, never explored fully or in some cases, never even mentioned.
A live-action series, 12 episodes long, has also been created, and the anime has some references to it. The last episode of the live-action series was the most watched television program in Japan at that time.
GTO is a sequel to two other manga series, Shōnan Junai Gumi and Bad Company.


The Characters

In snack-sized bits. Click for images.
Onizuka Eikichi – Nijunisai, yoroshiku~ A 22-year-old ex-biker, gang leader and virgin (when you watch it, you’ll know why I mention this as well). He is extremely athletic and often compared to cockroach by some of his students because of his ability to appear out of nowhere and for how hard he is to kill (he survived things any normal human would surely have died from). While he initially wanted to become a high school teacher in order to “get down and dirty” with high school girls, he soon realized what it truly meant to be a teacher and swore not enter relationships with any of the female students of his class (their mothers are a different story).

Danma Ryūji – Onizuka’s friend since his biker-days and the other half of the famous Onibaku duo (Onizuka being the first half). He has since gone straight and owns his own motorcycle shop which has earned him a great profit. He generally care about Onizuka’s well-being, mostly because they are friends, but also because of Onizuka’s million yen debt to him. While he always helps Onizuka out of pinches, when he gets in over his head, he doesn’t just agree to every single request, believing that Onizuka needs to start taking responsibility for himself.

Fuyutsuki Azusa – A 22-year-old, attractive female teacher and the love interest of Onizuka. She is quiet and shy, and has a hard time saying no (in a strict and believable manner). All the girls in the class she teaches have a grudge against her because all of the boys have crushes on her, and they believe she is purposely “leading them on”.

Class of 3-4 – The class is known for being wild and absolutely ruthless to any teacher assigned to them because of an event involving their former teacher and their former classmate, which left them with a disdain for all teachers. After that, any teacher assigned to them has had nervous breakdowns because of their reign of psychological terror. Onizuka is assigned this class because the chair(wo)man hopes he can “tame” them with his unorthodox ways.


The Songs

Openings

Driver’s High is performed by L’Arc~en~Ciel and was used in episodes 1-16. I can’t say I really like it for what it is, but the guitar riff (or whatever it is) in the beginning and the end was WAY awesome and you’d endure the entire song just to here that and also the catchy “rhythm” of the stanza right after the chorus (or the last part of the chorus, I dunno what it is).

The animation is a is done it black and white, but in a somehow really cool way that is really emphasized by the music.


Hitori no Yoru (Lonely Night) is performed by Porno Graffitti and was used in episodes 17-43. While not the greatest song in the world (it’s pretty average), it really is catchy, and I mean really catchy. So you may not go “WOW, SO AWESOME!!“, but you will most likely listen to the entire thing, and maybe bob along.

The animation used is kind of a… I dunno… Cinderella themed dream-sequence with a biker gang-member twist, but it works pretty good.



Endings

Last Piece is performed by Kirari and was used in episodes 1-16. It’s kind of a… I dunno… J-pop-RnB-ish rhythm, but it’s a decent song, even though the music gives it a sugary sweet taste. However, it freaked my out when I first heard it, and it still does actually, because the music sound so EXTREMELY familiar, and I’m certain I’ve heard it in another song, but I can’t remember where.

The animation is fairly simple, and is pretty much just Onizuka smoking a cig on the roof of the school.


Shizuku (Drop (of water)/Drip) is performed by Miwaku Okuda and was used in episodes 17-33. The song itself wasn’t really “all that”, and I feel about it like I do with Driver’s High; I endured it to hear the music at the beginning and the end (this time it was a guitar anda piano playing though). It has a sad sound to it, which is probably why it is named Shizuku (imagine a tear falling down). This is purely theory though.

The animation consists of Onizuka sitting in a classroom, reflecting on past events which are shown in a “fade/semi-merge” effect on the screen (so you see the events and the classroom at the same time). In the end, he gets up and leaves.


Cherished Memories is performed by Hong Kong Knife and was used in episodes 34-43. And I hate it. If you’re into mediocre 60’s J-rock, then this is for you, if not, don’t bother.

The animation retains the fade/merge theme from Shizuku, but in a higher pace to fit with the music. It’s again stuff that has occurred in the anime, plus what seems to be walking through a major city.


The Opinion

GTO is probably one of the funniest anime to deal with real-life situations (albeit in pretty exaggerated and hilarious ways), but only as long as you watch it in the original Japanese. The English dubbing, and I shit you not, managed to suck out the marrow of the anime’s funnybone. Even the minor sentences like the threat given by two punks in the beginning of the first episode where completely destroyed by the immense stupidity and incoherency of whoever wrote the English lines. Worst of all, Onizuka sounded like one of those “sweet-talkers” that uses hours at the gym, and in the evenings, goes to bars in an attempt to pick up women with lines that simply DO NOT WORK and goes home after having 4-7 half-finished drinks thrown in his face. So be sure to watch the JAPANESE version with subs. It is of course completely obvious to watch any anime in its original language, but in GTO’s case (and Naruto’s too), it really can’t be stressed enough.

The abundant references to movies, people, anime, and whatnot only add to the fun, if you can understand them, that is. Despite the light tone, the anime does have some rather serious themes, like attempted suicide, mobbing (for you Americans who probably never use the term, it’s like bullying, but a wider term), loveless marriages, teacher-student affairs and so on. Onizuka tends to “fix” these problems in his own special way, which is usually pretty extreme (and will leave you laughing or with your jaw hitting the floor, sometimes both), but somehow very effective.

If you decide watching the anime, I suggest watching a couple of episodes a day, and when you’ve watched episode 41, stop. Wait a couple of days and then watch the last two episodes. I say this, because the change in the mood is pretty abrupt, and if you watch it without the “long” wait, the ending somehow “spoils” all the fun of the previous episodes, due to seriousness. It’s kind of like watching a stand-up comedian being extremely funny, who then halfway through a sketch stops, walks up to you, pulls out a bloody knife and says “I used this to kill your parents before I came to the show“. Well not exactly, but it has that “funny –> extremely serious” shock-effect. Never the less, the last two episodes are very important to understand the anime as a whole, especially to understand the actions of all the students of class 3-4.

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