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Great Teacher Onizuka Review

by: sothis
January 4, 2005

story 6.5/10

Great Teacher Onizuka screenshot

Great Teacher Onizuka follows the life of Onizuka, a 22 year old ex-gang member who decides he wants to be a teacher. Not to help out young minds or spread the joy of education -- he wants to be able to gawk at teenage girls. Through a series of fairly hilarious events, Onizuka manages to land a job at a prestigious academy, but there's a catch: he'll be teaching a class full of junior high delinquents. These students aren't up for accepting Onizuka as their new homeroom teacher and mentor, and with that, the story begins...Great Teacher Onizuka is fairly episodic and random, but only to an extent. Unlike series such as Azumanga Daioh which have episodes that remain unconnected all the way through, Onizuka does have a few plot-centric arcs. The first and most important deals with Onizuka straightening the students out, overcoming obstacles along the way. Other arcs are smaller and definitely not as intense or dramatic (with the exception of the last two episodes), and usually deal with lighthearted or trivial matters such as Fuyutsuki wanting larger breasts, chain letters, or budding relationships between the students.

The humor was an important part of the series, or at least, it was supposed to be. Though there was plot, one of the main points of GTO was that it's funny and random. Honestly, this is where I felt the series failed. Don't get me wrong, I like random and episodic series. I loved Jing, Azumanga, and a number of others. GTO, on the other hand, tries to be funny and just isn't most of the time, in my opinion. Granted, the beginning of the series did have a lot of genuine laugh out loud moments, but it definitely didn't carry through the rest of the series. The weird facial expressions (see the animation section below) were what made the humor funny most of the time, but even that gets old after awhile. In general, I could count the number of times I laughed out loud on both hands or less, and for a 43 episode series that's based heavily on an episodic nature, that isn't a good thing.

Had GTO consisted of nonstop plot like Juuni Kokki, I could understand its length. However, with mostly filler episodes that aren't outrageously hilarious, did the series really need to be 43 episodes? I found myself becoming incredibly bored around the 26 episode mark, and it only got worse, not better. In general, I feel like shows that are based on random comedy should be short and fantastic for every episode, or it needs to be great on the plot, with random elements thrown in. It felt like GTO was trying really hard to be a random comedy show, but also threw plot elements in, which messed up the balance. As far as shows that have a good ratio of humor, Cromartie definitely has the highest ratio, Azumanga a close second, and a few others following. GTO, however, had an extremely low percentage of funny episodes in my book, maybe 20% or less. And again, for a series this long, that just sucks.

The other problem is the unfulfilling ending which doesn't tie up many loose ends. There are certain things in the series which are skirted around for the entire length of the show, and they aren't even resolved at the end. Also, there are several instances of relationships that seem like they should have started, but are left up in the air. For a series that is based mostly on not having a plot, I wish they could have tied up the few plot points that DID exist.

Faults aside, there are a few things I DID enjoy. For example, the character development was superb and wonderfully scripted for almost all of the characters in the story. Also, the overall plot arc definitely did have a rewarding ending, and was positive each time something was resolved. You walk away from GTO feeling like you grew along with the characters, and came to appreciate Onizuka and his wacky yet effective teaching style. Definitely, GTO manages to suck you in as far as empathy for the characters.

Another thing to note that you might enjoy (but I didn't) is the large amount of ecchi. I'm not a big fan of ecchi, but those who are will enjoy GTO. Most of it revolves perverts in some way, and/or staring at junior high girls. Regardless, most people seem to think the ecchi in GTO is funny, so you might too.

In general, I felt the lack of comedy for most of the episodes combined with the excessive length really made me not enjoy watching this all the way through. Had most of the episodes been hilarious or anything like the first chunk of them, I would have enjoyed watching all 43. Instead, I was terribly bored and it just went downhill from there, thus the lower score.

animation 7/10

Visually, GTO is nothing to smile at. The animation looks older and crude, with not a lot of detail. Colors are drab, not vibrant, and uninspiring. No CG was used except in two scenes that I can remember: one of a car driving, and one near the very end, showing food cooking over a tiny hibachi grill. These scenes looked quite out of place given the quality of the rest of the animation.

There was one saving grace to the animation: the facial expressions. During just one episode of GTO you realize something is up with the expressions -- they are crude, extremely exaggerated, and hilarious. Onizuka in particular has ape-like grimaces that look completely fake and ridiculous, which just helps add to the humor. You might hear someone lecturing Onizuka, with Onizuka standing there with this gaping grotesque expression. So, so funny. Near the end of the series these expressions weren't nearly as funny, however, presumably because they weren't used sparingly throughout the course of the show, causing them to get old.

sound 6.5/10

The audio wasn't that great, mostly because there was barely any variety to be found.There were two tracks that were used on a regular basis, both of which fit the mood and scenes in question, but there weren't many other tracks besides that. For 43 episodes, I would have for there to have been at least 3-5 major tracks, but alas, there were only a few. The variety of songs sort of reminded me of watching Uninhabited Planet Survive: good music, lousy selection.

Voice acting was great, especially Onizuka's dramatic and angry voice. Some of the snobby school girls definitely had voice actors who could help portray their snobby nature, so that was a plus. Overall, decent music, but it could have used some variety.

characters 8/10

Easily, the characters and character development were the strong point of GTO. Whereas some series have a multitude of characters who we only know on a shallow basis, GTO is filled with primary and secondary characters who all have a rich history and personality that we discover throughout the course of the series. Most of the primary characters had a few episodes throughout the show that helped develop them as a character, whether it was learning about their past, confronting a problem they have in the present, or in general, helping to discover why they act the way they do. Given the fact that there were 15 or so main characters, this was quite a feat, and was pulled off very well.

We were introduced to a great deal of the students, each of which had some sort of skeleton in the closet, and had a chance to grow and mature. We were shown multiple instances of situations where someone was being bullied, several budding relationships, and in general, we saw many of the students come to a realization that all teachers might not be so bad. The bullying arcs, I thought, were some of the most dramatic and emotional scenes in the series. Even though I was not bullied growing up (physically, at least), I felt such empathy for the characters and such hatred towards the bullies. Quite frankly, this defines a good series: you feel empathy towards the characters, and hate the bad guys. Quite a feat.

In addition to the students, we also got a glimpse into the life of Onizuka's female co-worker, Fuyutsuki, and discovered why she became a teacher. Another main character is the vice principal. He was the comic relief, with his Cresta that keeps getting demolished, his lolita-fetishes, and his futile desire to finally be recognized as a good father by his wife and daughter.

And then there's Onizuka. He's a no nonsense guy who wants his students to succeed, and uses crazy methods to get them to pay attention. We learn to love Onizuka and his strange ways, because we see how much he is able to affect each and every student. He was also the only character that I felt digressed over the course of the series, which was a shame. The best analogy I could use is how Homer Simpson's character de-evolved over the course of the Simpsons' history. In the first few seasons he's just a grumpy guy, but after many years he becomes this truly dumb bumbling idiot who is now the comic relief. Onizuka I felt was sort of the same. In the beginning he's somewhat dense, but in general is just full of tough love and deep down, cares for his students. By the end I felt he was being portrayed as totally clueless and idiotic, though still loving his students, etc. This is just a small thing that I felt wasn't necessary, and made his role less effective than it ultimately could have been.

In general, a wonderful set of characters who developed nicely. I must say I thought a few were annoying as hell, but that was the point given their personalities. I came to like Onizuka by the end, and so will you.

overall 6.8/10

Great Teacher Onizuka wasn't a bad series by any means, but I also wasn't as impressed as it seems many people are. It was funny at very minor times, but ultimately seemed dull and unexciting for the rest of the time. The character development was great, that's for sure, but the rest seemed lukewarm. One of the only saving graces for the humor was the facial expressions, which eventually get old, much like the rest of the series after 43 full episodes. The animation was fairly average, the music was good but limited, and the humor was lacking. So, I don't know... if you have seen things like Cromartie or Azumanga which have a very high ratio of hilariousness, don't expect GTO to be anything up to par. It's funny at times, charming, and even sentimental, but it's not a 10 by any means. Decent, yes. Deserving of anything above a 7? Not in my opinion. It's good, but not that good.

Anime Info

With a history of leading a motorcycle gang and getting bad grades in school, why would 22 year old Onizuka ever want to become a teacher? Is it to educate young minds or spread the joy of education? Sure, if it involves being able to look up high school girls' skirts! Watch as this would-be educator uses his own life lessons and unconstituted methods as a means to control a delinquent class of students -- students who certainly aren't as happy to have him as a teacher as he is happy to be teaching...

my anime:

not rated

About the Author

sothis's avatar

sothis

My fav genres include sci fi and horror, but you'll find a lot of obscure reviews from me too, given I watch a ton to add to the database. My new reviews are written a lot better than my old ones, so when in doubt, sort by date! ^_^ Enjoy, and I welcome any and all feedback.

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comments

Agroftw avatar Agroftw
Apr 22, 2010

You know what, this was a really good review. I completely agreed with your scores and some of your opinions of the series. Anyone who knows GTO knows the anime is the red headed step child of the entire Franchise. Your actually quite accurate on the series going downhill after the 26 episode mark because it was around that time (or before not really certain) that the anime stopped following the manga. 

Personally I loved GTO, but that's because Onizuka belongs in the pantheon of Male Anime Characters. I agreed that the 43 episodes were a bitmuch and there was a lot of filler. But the one problem I had with your review was that it was just littered with debatable points. I wouldnt grill you for it because this was written five years ago but ending your review by writing (and I quote) "Cromartie or Azumanga have higher ratios of hilariousness, don't expect GTO to be anything up to par" is really sketchy. I understand that reviews have to have some level of subjectiveness in them but you just kinda went all out.  Unless your the final authority on comedic anime, nowhere in a review should there be "well this anime was funnier, if it was like this anime it would of been better, if the plot in this anime would of been like the one in this other anime" so on and so forth. Obviously you can do whatever you like, but when you write a review that has excessive emphasis on your personal taste, then dont lol @ the people who call you out because in reality, they were only doing the same thing you were. 

cloud20 avatar cloud20
Mar 24, 2010

please, dont feel attacked(i didnt want to offend you)

if i understand papcorp, he really doesnt use any arguments and just says he doesnt like your reviews and doesnt understand why you do them on anime you didnt like. not my opinion, because if everybody would only review their favorites, there wouldnt be a use for ratings...

to my defence about my opinion (seperated from my argumentation) which is made of my experiences, i dont like this sterotyp-thinking and thought it wouldnt be that present about this subject. actually i experienced that less than 10% of my female friends but more than half of my male friends liked "golden boy"(as a representative of ecchi humor).im sorry, i have no statistics on gto, because its too much work. so, if you dont except it, i cant justify my opinion =(

im still fine with your scores and over the past years you improved in professionality for sure, but i still hope my advice was of some help. thanks for your answer! (so you didnt really comment on it) =)

sothis avatar sothis
Mar 23, 2010

Papcorp clearly states that I shouldn't review things that he knows I wouldn't like - assuming that the reason why I found faults with GTO is because of a preconceived notion he has of my personality or what I enjoy. That in itself is ridiculous and presumes that my opinion isn't valid or has merit besides being completely personal. Thus, thinking that just because someone doesn't have the same opinion as you, that they are wrong and there's some other reason (ie, obv it's a type of anime they wouldn't enjoy, etc). You prove this same point, and call out that I wouldn't enjoy it because I'm female. An unneeded stereotype - KiraRin, for example, loves ecchi more than anything and she's female.

Regardless, this review is old and if I could redo it, I'd still give it the same score, but it would likely be more professional sounding and thorough. But still, GTO doesn't deserve more than the overall score I gave it (in my opinion), as it DOES have faults.

cloud20 avatar cloud20
Mar 23, 2010

did anyone delete all comments stating your opinion is wrong? all im able to find are different opinions...

while reading your review i really came to think about, what a review is. obviously its not a list of facts which sum up to one conclusion^^ there is always a part which nobody would discus about, as long as its explained reasonable. but a big part is more or less influenced by personal opinion, mood and other differenting aspects. therefore opinions about gto and your review might be this way aswell. regardless of my opinion, your review is detailed, but it would be better with a few changes. first, you didnt tell anything about your rating. is a 6.5 average, good or outstanding?and is the sound as important as the story? all i was able to find quickly is that you rated your watched anime commonly between 2 to 4 stars^^ the second point is that you refer to other anime without any introduction. so, if seperated, i would probably like it. these and a few minor issues leave the reader with too much room for interpretation which could also let you feel missunderstood ;) ok, enough of that...

in my opinion, i agree with you on the bad ending, but i dont understand your critic about the length because you also said, that the viewer has to builit up emotions for the characters. and the last major point is, that i really had to laugh in every episode except for the ecchi humor in the first couple hours - but since you are a girl i understand if you dont like it, as ive experianced that many dont like that at all.

i rate this review with 5/10(average) because:

+ detailed, contains all important aspects,...

- vague rating, too emotional/personal (espacially for a "professional" written review),...

(sorry for my bad english)

sothis avatar sothis
Mar 14, 2010

Lol @ people insisting that just because someone doesn't see an anime the same as you, that your way is 'correct' and they are 'wrong'.

Thanks for the totally non anime-related comments, guys!

As for GTO, there's a lot of anime out there that's a lot funnier with a lot less filler. The end.

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