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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » GTO Box Set - Semester 2
GTO Box Set - Semester 2
FUNimation // Unrated // October 30, 2007
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted January 9, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Series:

GTO - Great Teacher Onizuka, is one of those shows that are just a lot of fun to watch.  The first season set was highly recommended, and the show doesn't slow down with season two.  The program isn't deep and the animation is only average, but seeing Onizuka overcome the traps that the students lay for him is really entertaining and some of the running gags are hilarious.  This is a great set, and the only disappointing thing is that there isn't more.

Series Background:

Eikichi Onizuka was once the leader of a motorcycle gang, and his exploits with them are the stuff of legends.  At 22, Eikichi decides that he needs more in life and decides to become a high school teacher.  (Mainly in the hopes of dating some 16-year-old hottie.)  Not one to settle for doing something halfway, Onizuka loudly proclaims that he will be the best teacher in Japan:  GTO:  The Great Teacher Onizuka.

In the first season Onizuka is assigned to a school to do his student teaching.  The class he's assigned is rough and rowdy to the extreme, but he soon whips them into shape and passes his student teaching with flying colors.  However Onizuka forgets to take the public teachers' civil service exam and without it can't get a job in a public school, so he's limited to private institutions.  He eventually lands a job as the prestigious Holy Forest Academy after the chairman is impressed with the way Onizuka tells off vice-principle Uchiyamada for berating a student.

This starts a long battle between Uchiyamada and Onizuka.  Not only does Uchiyamada dislike the new teacher because of his flamboyant style, but also because Onizuka happens to destroy the vice-principle's brand new and much beloved Toyota Cresta.  Several times.

Onizuka is once again given the toughest class in the school, class 3-4.  They take pride in getting teachers to quit or driving them crazy, but they haven't come up against anyone like Eikichi Onizuka yet.  Over the course of the first season the tough teacher slowly gets all of the students on his side, with the exception of a small group of girls who still don't trust him.

This season:

There's more wild and outrageous fun in this second season.  Though he's tamed most of the class, the few standouts still have it in for him.  The biggest story arc in this season involves a complicated plan that Miyabi and her cohorts hatch to get Onizuka fired.  After getting some incriminating photos of a teacher in drag, they blackmail the poor educator into setting their scheme into action.  He assigns Fujiyoshi, a nice but not too smart kid, to be in charge of collecting money for the school trip to the mountains.  Fujiyoshi doesn't want to do it, but there's really no way he can get out of the assignment.

Then Miyabi and her friends steal the money from Fujiyoshi, plant it on Onizuka, and lure him into a makeshift 'bar' staffed with young girls in school uniforms.  He gets drunk, spends all of the money that he miraculously finds in his coat, and the girls have some very incriminating photos by the time the night is over.

Onizuka and the students know he's been set up, but he can't admit that he'd been tricked by some school girls, what would happen to his reputation then?  So he covers for Fujiyoshi, and when Uchiyamada tries to get him fired (again) for embezzling, Onizuka gets before the student body and admits that he's stolen their field trip money!  But, he promises them an all expense paid trip to Okinawa instead.  Now all he has to do is come up with 8 million yen in just one week, and he'll get to keep his job.

There are some shorter stories too, which are just as fun.  Tomoko, the student that wants to be a model/actress, is featured in some of the better episodes in this set.  Her manager has a plan for making her a big star, but when Onizuka sees it, he starts to laugh and decides that he can advance her career better than the professional agent.

Like the first season, this is a very enjoyable set of shows.   One of the great aspects of the show is that Onizuka isn't perfect.  He's an idiot who makes a lot of his own trouble, like when he wins a brand new car that will solve all of his monetary problems but gives it away to a stranger since the other guy needed it more than he did.  The only thing that I really missed is that they stopped the running gag about Uchiyamada's poor Cresta being constantly destroyed.

If you enjoyed season one, be sure to pick this one up....it's more of the same.

The DVD:


FUNimation has repackaged the original Viz discs in a foldout case.  I'm not too fond of that style, and to make matters worse there are two DVDs in each section, partially overlapping each other.  I can't see why the just didn't present the five discs in three slimline cases.  This second set includes episodes 24-43.

Audio:

Viewers have the choice between the original Japanese audio track and an English dub, both in stereo.  I mainly watched the show with the Japanese track, but would occasionally watch an episode with the English track to check it out.  While I'm glad that there is a dub track, I had a hard time getting into this one.  Some of the voice actors used fake sounding voices for some of the supporting characters and this started to bug me after a while.  The gym teacher and the Diet member's daughter, Oda, were particularly grating.  Aside from that the show sounded fine.  There weren't many splashy audio effects and there wasn't much use made of the front soundstage but since this show is mainly dialog based that's to be expected.

Video:

This series is presented in full frame, which is how it originally aired.  The series dated back to 1999 and the image looks great.  The lines are tight and sharp, the colors are solid and the blacks are nice and deep.  There is a bit of aliasing present, especially when the camera pans over fine lines, but it isn't distracting.

Extras:

There are a fair number of extras scattered over these five discs.  They include a clean opening and closing animation, the original Japanese credits, conceptual and production art galleries.  There's also an interview with GTP manga creator Tohru Fujisawa.  Overall a very nice set of bonus items.

Final Thoughts:

This is a really fun series that is easy to get lost in.  Onizuka is crass, not very smart, and has a very unconventional style but hard not to root for the guy.  This set finishes off the series and it's just too bad that there isn't more.  A fun show that goes by much too quickly, it comes Highly Recommended.
 

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