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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.