Great Teacher Onizuka by Djudge

Also Known As: GTO
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Format: 43 Episodes
Allegiance: Studio Pierrot
Director: Abe Noriyuki
Vintage: 1999-2000
Intelligence Agency Report by: Djudge
Enter Onizuka Eikichi: a twenty-two year old third-rate college graduate, karate team captain, notorious former motorcycle gang member, and a man on a quest to become Japan’s greatest teacher! Even though Onizuka first sees teaching as just another opportunity to pick up young girls, he later comes to exhibit the makings of a great mentor. Now, in order to put his money where his mouth is, Onizuka is given authority over the toughest class of delinquents in the prestigious, yet troubled, Seirin Academy. Can GTO rise to the occasion and reform his troublesome class?

Field Agent Report by: Djudge
Overall 9.00

First and foremost, GTO represented one of the funniest stories that I have ever had the great pleasure of watching. Its successful blend of Onizuka’s notorious lechery, tough love, and bull-headed determination, his greatest weaknesses and strengths, breathe a vibrant life into this series. The seamless transition between dead-serious drama to sidesplitting humor has rarely looked better than in GTO. Yet with these accolades comes a set of small imperfections that just barely manage to scuff the polish of this excellent series.

For the most part, animation quality in GTO manages to remain satisfactory throughout all forty-three episodes, with the opening sequences (coupled with some fan-favorite opening themes) exhibiting some of the best that this title achieves in the art department. The episodes’ visual content themselves usually do not display any awe-inspiring sequences, but they don’t hurt the series either. While viewers will usually remain impartial to the quality of the animation, there may be a slight schism when it comes to the character design. The overall design of the cast is quite unique, and while this may be a plus, the facial expressions throughout the series, especially Onizuka’s, can be considered a bit crude or even lacking for certain artistic tastes.

Moving on to the series’ plot content, GTO manages to excel in a wide spectrum of different genres. First and foremost, this title reeks of great personality. The title character exhibits all the qualities of a typical man his age and it is because of this particular trait that he can relate to the experiences of his students. However, his vices are what lend fuel to the jokes for most of the series. Exploring and building on Onizuka’s character isn’t the only theme touched on the show’s forty-three episodes. Thanks to the diverse cast of students that Onizuka eventually tames over the course of the title, GTO is able to give its main character a rest when it comes to performing in the spotlight. This further enables the series to avoid drying out its humor before its conclusion. Now that we are on the topic of the conclusion, it has to be said that GTO’s biggest fault had to have been its seemingly premature ending. Instead of slowing down towards its final episodes, the show opts to have Onizuka tackle one last obstacle in the last three episodes. The end result feels like a rushed and sudden labor that can be likened to running into a pole after a lengthy joyride. It may leave a slight bitter taste in your mouth, but by the time you’re through, you would have already seen a great anime.

Great Teacher Onizuka is must-view title for any anime comedy fan. Its main character sports a dynamic personality that can only be truly appreciated by watching the series. When all’s been said and done, you just can’t deny that you didn’t have a good laugh multiple times over the series; GTO, a bona fide anime gem that at times just can’t have its brilliance ignored.