Review: GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka (Anime Version)

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Like many other Anime I’ve been watching on Crunchyroll this year, this is yet another “Why didn’t I see this MUCH SOONER?” Anime for me. If you’re not into Anime, you WILL like GTO trust me. More so if you have teenage kids or work with teenagers XD

Almost every episode had me laughing so hard my sides hurt. The ones that didn’t had me on the edge of my seat in anticipation. GTO is about Eikichi Onizuka, an ex-biker gangster turned high school teacher. His unorthodox style and approach gets him a job working as a high school teacher.

Even after doing this to the Vice Principal:

For comparison, here it is in the live version of GTO:

YES, there is a live version of GTO! More on that in a bit.

Onizuka perfectly delivering the German Suplex to Uchiyamida is considered by many to be one of the most legendary scenes in all of anime and because of WHY he does it. It’s a problem that’s more…open in urban school districts. Having worked in several classrooms in 3 Boston Schools for the last 10 years, I can say that. Politics at all levels is what’s getting in the way of progress. Kids and Teenagers need to be able to trust their teachers will have their best interests in mind while being mindful they’re not perfect. Even more importantly, Teachers shouldn’t be made to feel they have to keep their students at arms’ length and view them as nothing more than numbers. More on this another time.

Getting back to GTO, it goes without saying there are life lessons to be had in every episode. Onizuka doesn’t have any sense of decorum as an educator but that’s what makes him so awesome. He follows his own rules and when he messes up–and he does A LOT–he owns it like a boss. The Anime series is 43 episodes long. In the final episodes, what happened with class 2-4’s original homeroom teacher and why they hate teachers is finally revealed. Of course, by that time Onizuka has won over everyone in the class.

I give GTO The Anime a 10/10. If you are an educator, WATCH IT. I promise you will like it!

I watched it subbed on Crunchyroll.

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As I mentioned before, GTO was so popular a live-action version was made! I just finished watching the first season and so far the scenarios have been spot on. There are three big differences between the Anime and the Live version I do want to point out though: In the Anime version Onizuka lives at the school. In the Live version, he lives with his friends and former biker gang buddies: Saejiwa is now a cop and Ryuuji owns a pub. In the first season, anyways. Another difference is alot of the dangerous stunts Onizuka does in the Anime were removed for obvious reasons. Most but not all. For example Onizuka does total Uchiyamida’s car like before and fights off a mob of gangsters singlehandedly. The third difference is the Live verison’s season 2 ending itself. I won’t spoil it here but I will say Onizuka gives someone a German Suplex!

Another thing about the Live version is each episode is 45 minutes long. The three specials are 90 minutes though. In each episode Onizuka helps one of his students with a problem. He comes off as more laid back in the Anime in his approach but he’s more direct in the Live Version. The emotional impact is definitely there. I will write my review of the first season of the Live Version shortly.

 

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