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But that chick did some bad stuff and so I thought I would torture her a bit, ah, no, give her a sermon.... - Eikichi Onizuka.
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Title: Great Teacher Onizuka
Author: Touru Fujisawa.
Genre: Jobs + shounen (more info)
Publisher: Kodansha Publishing Ltd (manga) , Fuji TV (live-action), Studio Pierrot (anime).
Format: Manga (25 volumes) , Live-action drama (12 episodes + 2 specials) + 1 movie, Anime (43 episodes).

Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO) is a very popular manga created by Touru Fujisawa and being serialized in the weekly Shonen Magazine, produced by Kodansha Ltd. It was first published in 1997, and in no time become one of the hottest manga ever published in Japan. This series is still ongoing (edit: The series had just finished recently), and about 4 to 5 tankoubons (or volumes) are published each year. At the time of writing, it is now on volume 25 (final) at Japan.

The manga revolves around a biker gang leader named Eikichi Onizuka who wanted to become a teacher, after a fateful encounter with a beautiful high-school student called Erika Nakajima. He then goes through a probation period teaching a problematic class, and amazingly he passed with flying colors. But because of a slip-up, he failed to attend the final test that will enable him to teach at government schools. So he have no choice but to find any private schools to fulfill his dreams of finding a 16-years old student as his wife when he is 40, which is the main reason on why he wants to become a teacher. By a stroke of luck and with the help of a far-sighted director, he landed in one of the most prestigious private school in Tokyo and was asked to teach a class full with little terrorists (read: bin Ladens), from where the real story began......

Throughout the series, Onizuka used unorthodox ways to teach his students and solved the problems thrown at him by them. He never tried to hide his habits from when he is still a bike gang leader, thus he applied some of them on his students too, such as dragging the students around town and stuff. Apart from the students, some of the teachers also hated him, and repeatedly tried to oust him too from the school too. With lots of humors and drama mixed in, this series is really enjoyable to read.

Here you will not find big-eyed manga girls with too-good-to-be-true body shapes or ridiculously handsome men with equally ridiculous bodybuilder bodies that will put even Sylvester Stallone in his prime to shame, because most of the characters looked pretty normal. You will not find any characters with special powers or magic either. And there’s definitely NO TALKING ANIMALS or something like that too. There are few weaknesses though, for example, most of the student characters doesn’t look like that they are 14 years old, but they look like more that they are 18 to 19. Characters like Anko Uehara and Urumi Kanzaki evidently showed that trend. Also, I have a feeling that some of Onizuka’s methods are being overused by the author.

Like any other popular manga in Japan, the drama and also anime version of GTO also existed, albeit with some alteration to the manga’s story line Furthermore, it also spawned a movie, a feat that only a handful of mangas in Japan can do. This manga, apart from being published in Japanese, are also being translated to other foreign languages like English (GTO should come out in USA in 2002 – the manga and anime + soundtrack are licensed recently by TokyoPop), Chinese Mandarin, Thai, Malay, Indon, French and Korean.

Personally, I thinks that this manga is a classic (and I read a lot of other mangas too), adding a new dimension to the manga-otaku world. And anyone who even only have a slightest interest to Japanese manga, should try and read this gem. If your country don’t have ‘em, you can take the consolation that I will summarize the manga chapter by chapter in this website. But nothing beats reading the manga yourself. Well, that’s all........ take a look around and enjoy your stay.

 

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Great Teacher Onizuka GTO © Touru Fujisawa, Shukan Shonen Magazine, Studio Pierrot, Fuji TV, SPE Studioworks, Kodansha Publishing Ltd. 1997-2002.