Posted by psgels on 21 February 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



What is there to say about Great Teacher Onizuka that hasn’t been said yet already? In terms of theoretical education, the guy sucks: as a former gang member, he hardly knows anything about the subjects he teaches. He’s a huge pervert and hothead and often acts before he thinks. Still, when it comes to understanding his students, he definitely is the greatest.

Basically, GTO is a social commentary aimed towards the hypocrisy of the modern education system: teachers that only care about their own position, students with excellent grades are overly protected, while the rest is ignored, putting the focus away from the well-being of the students. Onizuka is hired in one particular school and he tries to get rid of these problems in his own unique way: by putting himself on the same level as the students, and healing the different students one at a time. And I must say that the result is a wonderful series.

It’s a really well written series. The situations that Onizuka has to deal with are imaginative and varied, and the cast of characters is downright excellent. The different characters are endearing, and yet nearly all of them are flawed in some way. The fun in this series comes to seeing how each of them are dealing with these flaws.

The visuals in this series also look really good. This series aired when the distinctive anime art style of the second half of the nineties was about to be taken over by the modern CG art style, but it makes optimal use of its style to make the characters look normal and down to earth, yet very distinctive and unique. Especially Onizuka’s facial expressions are one of a kind.

The problems with this series are mostly small and insignificant. At times, it has some continuity issues: one episode a school building gets destroyed, in the next it magically healed itself, or at the end of one episode, a character tanned her skin way too much, while the next episode completely ignored it, and one particular character (the stalker one) gets written out of the show completely without any possible reason. Still, these are ere details over a show of 43 episodes.

In the end, my only real beef with this series is how its definite best parts are at the beginning of the series, rather than the end. The first twelve episodes are without a doubt the highlight of this series, when the classroom that Onizuka was in charge of was still unknown, and there was this whole air of mystery about what drove everyone to their actions. They’re incredibly addictive and I myself couldn’t stop watching because I just had to know what was going to happen next. Along the way, this effect is lost a bit when you get to know the cast a bit more, so that’s a bit of a pity.

Nevertheless, in the genre of high school-based series, this one still stands solid as one of the best ones of the genre. It really is the prime example of how such a series should be handled.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

6 Responses

  1. FireChick says:

    My friend watched this show. She likes it a lot.

  2. midenz says:

    I’ve rewatched this series 2wice, maybe 3 times? It’s just so awesome, Onizuka so rules! The manga goes a bit farther then the anime acutally almost a whole different arc is in the manga and it’s just as amazing as the anime! ^^

  3. Wyrdwad says:

    It’s funny how influential this series has been, too. During my time teaching English in Japan, I actually worked with two teachers who pretty much regarded Onizuka as their role model, and tried their best to emulate him… and their classes were far and away the best. The students performed better than in other classes, they were more attentive, and they genuinely got along with me and with their main teacher. It was just a much better environment for learning than what you typically find in Japanese schools.

    Now, obviously, when I say I had two teachers who tried to emulate Onizuka, I don’t mean ENTIRELY emulate him… but they basically tried to put themselves on the same level as their students, and speak to them as a friend rather than a teacher. And it really does work wonders. Having an “authoritative figure” at the head of the class may sound prudent on paper, but in reality, I think it does more harm than good.

    And I hadn’t actually seen GTO until *after* my time in Japan… so when I watched this show, let me tell you, it made me very happy on many different levels. (:

    -Tom

  4. Paul says:

    GTO the manga was awesome for its times. GTO the anime while an OK series never managed to reach the lofty height of the manga series. Much of it was because of the need to tone of some of the more bizarre and deviant stuffs. But perhaps it was the unnecessary and unwelcome fillers and new characters that added nothing to the series. So overall I did not really like GTO that much.

  5. mackreki says:

    One of my favorite series. A total classic for me.

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 11:29 PM)
    Synecdoche, New York:
    What a great film. Charlie Kauffman’s directorial debut is a post-modern surreàl piece about fear of death and mortality. There are few editing and pacing issues which a more experienced director could’ve ironed out, and the very nature of the movie begs to be called pretentious and boring by shallow viewers. Yet this is still an honest and meticulous piece of artistic filmmaking which shouldn’t be missed by those who enjoy the craft.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:56 PM)
    I did think some of the outburst though in death parade 04 were verging too far on the melodrama though.
    Still like Garo this week, still a very watchable episode.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:35 PM)
    Come to think of it In kingsman they changed the villain to be black also. Of course all this I consider pretty minor. Moreso I’m tired of seeing Samuel L Jackson playing himself in everything.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:28 PM)
    But in the case of the Marvel stuff, with Nick Fury and Human torch, I know its a crap complaint but for me its a case of “He doesn’t look close enough to the comic”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:16 PM)
    @Aidan: They think they are promoting diversity but all it ends up being is completely tokenistic to the core.
    The fantastic 4 have always struck me as characters that were too difficult to get right/write.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:08 PM)
    Sort of like how skyfall made moneypenny black for that “OOHHH SNAP!” moment. Disregarding the point of moneypenny and not to mention making her a character who was so incompetent a secret agent that she was demoted to Secretary.Or like how they made Annie black. Just why exactly?
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:06 PM)
    So the new fantastic four is going to have a black human torch. So…why is he black? I mean I don’t really care as long as the character is portrayed well but this feels like the only reason they made him black was just cause.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 09:51 PM)
    Death parade episode 4 then, I appreciated that it wasn’t as “sweet” as last week, the middle aged woman’s backstory was a highlight moreso than the guy who appeared this episode and her reaction later on was great to see. Like what Decim was up to this week but I wasn’t really feeling the tension in this episodes game as much as I should have.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 09:47 PM)
    What on earth was up with Garo this week, heh, monster of the week healing German, still at least the ending to that episode definitely catches my attention with its last scene and it was a step up from the goofiness last week.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 09:45 PM)
    I still want a proper appleseed adaptation.

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