“To become truly great, one has to stand with the people, not above them”~Charles de Montesquieu
(Note: No character list, just Onizuka and his awesomeness)
Great Teacher Onizuka or rather, GTO was one of few mangas I saw my brother read. Most of what my brother read, i have read as well and I have fairly enjoyed them. First manga I read thanks to my brother was Ichigo 100 which i already talked about. Then I read Vagabond and then Slam Dunk. I didn’t read Berserk because of how long it is and I plan on reading Fist of the North Star soon too. But GTO gets the spotlight for now as one of the greatest mangas I have ever read.
Eikichi Onizuka, blonde, 22 years old, ex-bike gang member, chain-smoker, 2nd rate Karate master, and most of all a virgin. Who expects a man like this to ever become a teacher? Let alone gain the title of “Great Teacher”? Onizuka spent most of his younger years with his buddy Ryuji(who shows up a few times in the manga) trying to get lucky with beautiful women but has failed in many aspects. Now 22 years old, Onizuka spends his days trying to get lucky while peeping up girls skirts. It all changes when day when a girl actually finds some interests in him. Onizuka pulls some stunts gets on “date” with the girl. It all goes well before the crucial momente at a love hotel. His attempts fail as the girl’s “boyfriend” an old and unattractive teacher happens to be the girl’s boyfriend. Seeing this, Onizuka realizes the power of the teacher over the minds of highschool girls and decides to become a teacher himself. After much hardships and finally graduating out of a shifty college he eventually gets hired by a kind old lady who happened to be a chairwoman of a private school. Standing in between his goals of becoming a teacher is the reputation from his students and his fellow teachers. The students vow to drive Onizuka out while the teachers will try to root Onizuka out as he is not a “real” teacher Onizuka confronts his class, student per student and he is about to give them a lesson that they will NEVER forget.
Characters: I honestly thought Onizuka was the most important character, I didn’t really feel the need to cover most of the characters as Onizuka was the man who did everything. Besides, theres too many kids anyawy.
Mostly arcs go along this path. Onizuka’s attention is grabbed by a student, he hears the story, Onizuka fixs it. And these are not your ordinary problems, some kids are messed up and bullying is a pretty bad act compared to what it is now.
- Eikichi Onizuka: The ex-gangster who would become the greatest teacher in the world. Onizuka is highly athletic and at times is capable to super-human feats. Onizuka was assigned the most rowdy class in the school which lead to previous teachers to death and strange fates. Onizuka takes it upon himself to solve the problems of his students so that they become less concentrated on getting his ass fired. Onizuka would befriend many of his students by hearing their story and going into extreme lengths to solve their dilema, going as far as pretending to kidnap a student so that her unnattentive father can appreciate his own daughteri instead of his job. Even after Onizuka gains the respect of his students, he would eventually influence the teachers that work with him as well. Onizuka would later take a test against other teachers but then gets into trouble when he sees a girl get kidnapped right in front of him. He goes after them and after getting numerous bullet wounds on him he manages to complete 5 tests in 1 hour and gets perfect marks. Onizuka’s “in your face” attitude backed up with his gangster years, his karate experience, and his extreme determination to find out what makes you tick make his influence hard to ignore. Even with his tough exterior, he is a sincere guy who simply wants to to give a better education to his students than he personally has. With years of experience in the oustide world, Onizuka proves to be a teacher whose knowledge and wisdom did not originate from books and notes, but rather from experience, something that cannot be “taught” by fancy books. A 22 year old with the heart of a highschool boy who still wants to get some, that mindset and his experience is what makes him different to the style of other teachers. Overall, he’s a complete badass with a heart.
Onizuka’s class is the smartest class the school has to offer. They are geniuses and at first, bent on breaking Onizuka mentally and physically speaking, to try to get him fired. However, their hatred stems from their personal vendettas (or rather “problems” vendetta is too strong of a word I guess) and it is the only way Onizuka can earn their respect and trust. Onizuka does plenty of crazy things to get help his students, he saves them from committing suicide, helps them get revenge, beats up a few people, etc. My favorite “lesson” he gave was to one of the more prominent students he has, Urumi. She is a genius and had a traumatic past due to her family. Onizuka rounds up his biker gang and kidnaps her as she stated that she wasn’t afraid of anything. Onizuka literally jumps off an unfinished bridge with Urumi with him and gets results, she still fears death. He tells her no matter how bad the past was, she shouldn’t try to ruin her future, one of Onizuka’s biker friends tell his life story and Urumi learns its not only her. Another one is where Onizuka tries to neutralize a rebellious student and grandson of the chairwoman named Mayu. Mayu’s lackies kidnapped most of the teachers and Onizuka interferes. He challenges Mayu’s gang, saying that he is better than all of them. He challenges them saying he can beat 100 of them in an armwrestling contest. His 99th challenger, Jason (with the trademark hockeymask) loses to Onizuka and the gang tells Mayu to represent his gang, to which he fails to do.
He also teaches his fellow teachers a lesson. A teacher named Uchiyamada initially hated Onizuka and his ways of breaking the rules and his unorthodox way of teaching. However he gets into an accident and is hospitalized for a while. He gets a visit from a student saying that appreciated his teachings. Uchiyamada realizes that after his many years of teaching, he has truly forgotten how to teach properly. Neglecting his students and his job and moreso, his family. He gains respect for Onizuka but still keeps on eye on him. Theres another teacher (who makes a pretty big scene in the series). Teshigawara, was raised to be a perfectionist. If it wasn’t a 100, he might as well gotten a 0. His life and his perfectionist style and prestigous family basically raised his standards skyrocketing to the heavens. More than that, he loathes Onizuka because one of the female teachers (she’s pretty important) seems to have fallen for Onizuka instead of him. He makes a humongous scene and a pretty damn awesome arc in the manga and it is something I will not spoil for you. The ending, my gosh the ending, how suspensful, oh yeah, I won’t tell you.
So yeah, as of now I have written over 1100 words describing this series. You think it was enough to capture the spirit of this series? In my opinion, to make this review any shorter? Then, yes. But in all honesty, no. This series definitely requires YOU to read it and I assure you, it is one of the greatest mangas that you will ever read. Hell, even LIGHT, who only reads harems and stuff like that enjoyed the hell out of this manga. To make this count as a review, the art style is pretty unique in way. The exaggerated faces of Onizuka was wierd at first, but I got used to seeing it. The pacing was great and the storytelling was phenomenal. Now that i look at it. Gintoki from Gintama reminds me lot of Onizuka. I digress:
School’s the first 12 years of your life, and probably the most influential time that molds you into the person you will be in the future. Onizuka didn’t have such a swell time, he plans to change that for his students for the better.
I usually say many series is good, but i have never been more serious about this manga’s place in my mind. Which reminds me, I really should make a list of my favorite series…but again, older series I tend to take more seriously.
Bottom line: If you haven’t read it, you really should try this one out, once again, my ideas and my words are kinda unorganized and if you didn’t understand a thing of what I just said,
Read it, you won’t regret it, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two as I did from the greatest teacher in all of Japan.
One of the only series that I actually liked where there wasn’t much romance. Rah.
It’s that awesome. And since I said so, you should not be reading this sentence and should be opening a new tab to begin reading GTO right away…
Although I’m kind of disappointed… Onizuka totally deserved someone good.
I swear man, you do the shortest commentaries ever.
6 thoughts on “Classics: GTO-Great Teacher Onizuka Review-”
Agreed that this is one of the classics for anyone in the western world. It was not an exceptional series by any means, but being one of the first anime we watched, it holds a special position in our heart…:P
haha classic indeed. thanks for the read
thank YOU for reading 😀
90s anime always looks great and classic.
there are just too many anime to watch and not enough time! Great post, by the way.
Onizuka is the greatest sensei.