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nathandouglasdavis

  • Joined Feb 23, 2019
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GTO

Feb 2, 2021

My 800th Review!

A high-octane, adrenaline-filled story about an ex-delinquent teacher breaking through the walls of cynicism and distrust in feir students by being genuine with them. Fe isn't concerned with being liable in lawsuits--in regards to using corporal punishment or other untoward activities--and instead just treats everyone like human beings (i.e. with the same amount of violence or sexual candor that fe would treat anyone with). There are a few instances when fe almost succumbs to the type of self-preservationist thinking that leads to "rotten" teachers, but fe is inevitably reset on the right path when someone reminds fem of how uncool fe's being. The class that fe is put in charge of (from chapter 12 onward) is aggressively anti-teacher, but fe slowly wins them over one at a time. Fe also has several run-ins with other teachers--most of whom seem to be lecherous perverts--and with parents and the media. Feir behavior leads fem to being on the brink of being fired quite a few times, but the fact that fe is effective at connecting with the students and at rooting out some of the corruption within the system is what leads fem to keep feir job.

The best aspects of the manga are the characters, the humor, and the epic storylines and intense scenes that sear into your heart. Among others, the window-washing scene and arm-wrestling extravaganza will be with me for the rest of my life. There are popping veins and intense sweating...not exactly relevant, but definitely worth mentioning. There are also some cute romances between some of the students. In general, I think the manga should've ended around chapter 156. The chapters after that are alright, but they don't feel nearly as memorable or great as quite a few of the preceding stories. It also felt like it was basically restarting the story by adding a new source of problems (instead of Miyabi being the ringleader, Ms. Daimon became the ringleader). If I had to say that anything was the theme of the manga it would be the idea that people should accept personal responsibility for their actions. We see teachers and parents shifting blame and trying to avoid responsibility rather than owning up to their flaws and moving forward. We see many people dealing with pain by lashing out rather than being honest and then moving forward. And while it does include that "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" type of idea, it at least also emphasizes that you should always ask for help when you are in need of help (so it's not entirely callous and individualistic). Sometimes it can feel like it's simplifying things a bit too much, with mental distress having pinpointable causes that can be relieved.

There are two aspects which are major problems with the manga in general, but also possibly part of what makes it so strong: 1) the clutter, and 2) the repetition. When I say clutter, I am referring to a few things. There are tiny little dialogue boxes in the backgrounds, which you have to squint to make out. There are also entire chapters filled with ridiculous amounts of text (like with Uchiyamada's internal monologues) that can be tiresome to read through. And there are quite a few scenes with literal clutter drawn in the background, items that are unimportant in regards to the plot. The benefit of all these types of clutter is that it adds depth to the story and I actually find myself enjoying some (not all) of Uchiyamada's rants and noticing weird junk in Onizuka's rathole. The extended fantasies are also pretty great. As for the repetition, there are several types of events and storylines which are repeated multiple times. Most notably, with students attempting suicide. And more specifically, with a student jumping/falling off the school roof, Onizuka jumping down after them, and them crash landing on Uchiyamada's precious white Cresta. I did find the Teshigawara climax (ch. 147-156) to feel uninspired, largely because of how re-used many of the story beats were. And the idea of there being some new student that Onizuka could go bring back to the class definitely got old after basically the first time it was used. But the repetition is also vital to how some of the humor works, and I definitely appreciate it to some degree. I absolutely loathe the Saejima chapters (ch. 60, 108, 175)--it's the worst of both the clutter problem and the repetition problem, while also not adding anything positive.

9/10 story
6/10 art
10/10 characters
9/10 overall
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