Review: Great Teacher Onizuka (2000) Anime | My Reviews 07 MAR 2014

great teacher onizuka anime 1Meet Onizuka Eikichi, former leader of the notorious Onibaku Motorcycle Gang from Shonan. 2nd Dan Black-belt in Karate, Eikichi is as strong as he is vicious. Known as Evil Eikichi, the dauntless Onizuka was known for fighting and decimating his opponents. He obeyed no rules except those he made himself.

Six years ago, Onizuka and his fellow gang member, Danma Ryuji, gave up that life and moved to Tokyo. Ryuji attended professional school and now manages a motorcycle shop. Onizuka is studying to be a teacher – albeit so that he can get closer to all the pretty schoolgirls in short skirts. His path has been opened to him. He will strive to be the greatest teacher ever.

His chance finally arrives when he is accepted at the prestigious private school, Holy Forest Academy. He’s been assigned the school’s most problematic class to deal with, but that shouldn’t faze him too much. Using his unique approach to life and applying it to teaching, Onizuka strives to make school a fun place for all of his students. And as many lessons as he has to teach, he has to learn as well.

No matter the problem, no matter the wall, Onizuka will break it down – and allow people to begin helping themselves. Truly he is: GTO.

Great Teacher Onizuka was one of the biggest hits on Japanese television. It follows the exploits of a gangster-turned teacher Onizuka Eikichi and the lessons he learns and teaches to his students. Although Onizuka is the most unconventional teacher around, he is also the teacher with the biggest heart. He’s naivety and belief in the goodness of the people around him is refreshing, and he willingness to face certain death in order to save his students is inspiring. Plus his general perverted nature is just fun to watch.

GTO introduces an interesting and complex group of characters, and follows the story of how Onizuka is accepted as a teacher at the Holy Forest Academy and subsequently assigned to the school’s most problematic class. They specialise in terrorising and driving out teachers. It would appear that something in the past occurred to break down their teacher-student relationship. And it is up to Onizuka to try and solve this as well as chase away each problem child’s personal demons.

The stories are wonderfully and powerfully scripted, each story arc flooring one with a wonderful moral. But it is the journey to uncovering this moral that makes GTO such a pleasure to watch.

The animation for GTO is quite brilliant. The style is crisp and clean, and is able to switch to the totally ridiculous faces and expressions at any time. For prime examples of this, watch any scene involving Onizuka and vice-principal Uchiyamada.

The musical score for Onizuka is brilliant. There are two great opening and three closing titles for the series. But the real winner is the uplifting music played when any problem finally gets resolved. Guaranteed to leave a lump in your throat everytime.

Overall, GTO is one of my favourite titles of all times. Hilariously funny, it manages to balance its extreme humour with extreme seriousness. GTO is a must see for all true Otakus. Grab your motorcycle and join the legend.

great teacher onizuka anime 2

(Historical Note: This was written back in November 2003. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

Related Link:

Related Posts:

About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.

  • I’m actually watching this again at the moment. Still pretty funny even after all these years.