Onizuka Eikichi: twenty-two years old, single, karate champion and former leader of a feared biker gang. Now Onizuka is looking for a new job, and he decides to become a teacher to be surrounded by girls all day. The job hunt isn’t going well until Onizuka finally finds a school that will hire him, but the conditions aren’t exactly what he had hoped for. He is put in charge of the infamous class 3-4, made up of troublemakers who were known for driving teachers to insanity. Onizuka now faces the toughest challenge of his life: teaching.
summary by Keitaro
Highs: Blends comedy and drama extremely well; Onizuka’s unpredictability; character development
Lows: A few filler episodes
After reading the wildly successful Great Teacher Onizuka manga and seeing bits of the live action drama, I absolutely had to watch this. Naturally, I had high expectations from the start, but thankfully this anime lived up to all of my hopes, and then some.
No other anime besides possibly His and Her Circumstances balances comedy and drama as well as GTO does. It knows exactly when to be funny and when to take itself seriously. A contributing factor to its success is the great cast of characters. There are so many characters and so much character development, but no one stands out like Onizuka. He is truly one of the greatest creations ever. Much like Oe Kintaro from Golden Boy, Onizuka appears to be a dumb, shallow, perverted guy, but there is so much more to him than meets the eye. The plot revolves around Onizuka “transforming” his students from delinquents to model students one at a time, and in a sense it is very predictable. The interesting part is seeing Onizuka overcome impossible odds and come out on top, no matter how dark things look. Towards the end of the series many of the ideas are reused. There is also a bit too much filler in the later episodes, as the quality of the series seems to dip a little.
The art style, in particular, looks similar to the manga, and some might think of it as crude and bland. I found it to fit the series extremely well. Mitsuishi Kotono does a great job among a talented seiyuu group, and the music is a real treat, particularly the several opening and ending themes.
Great Teacher Onizuka is a highly entertaining anime with highly entertaining characters. Fans of Golden Boy absolutely cannot miss this one. Even a few repetitive episodes and some nasty filler towards the end cannot stop me from loving GTO.
Great Teacher Onizuka can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.