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. Avatar FireChick says:

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

  2. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar 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. Avatar mackreki says:

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

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