GTO Vol. #04 (of 10) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, September 28, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, September 24, 2002
What They Say
Onizuka who must pass a nationwide test to keep his teaching position, is sidetracked when Young Hidemi his nemesis is kidnapped. The popular Urumi Kanzaki appears for the first time in this volume leading GTO on adventure after adventure. GTO might have met his match.
Onizuka goes forward non-stop again for another five episodes, continuing to provide a solid amount of entertainment. With nineteen episodes now gone by, I’m enjoying this show just as much, if not more, as the first early episodes.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix for this track is pretty nice, though the show is very much dialogue driven with some sound effects to add to it. Music sounds great; particularly the opening song, and we noted no dropouts or distortions throughout.
The transfer for this volume is pretty much what we’re expecting to see for the remainder of the series, and that’s pretty close to what the first couple of volumes were like. In addition to the continued better meshing of the digital animation look, the cross coloration issues continue to crop up only in some very tightly drawn areas. Aliasing is about the only real issue you’ll have at times, mostly just with camera sweeps.
The green themed cover here works well with a good image of a solid clear Onizuka in the foreground while the news crews are filtered in the background. The back cover features a few more screenshots in full color as well as a brief summary of the show and of each of the episodes. Episode numbers and titles are listed as well as the volume number on the spine. The insert has three pages worth of translation notes and tips as well as providing another look at the front cover on the top page.
The menu system for the this volume is spot on with a green chalkboard layout that lists the selections on the left and has an image of Onizuka being drawn on the right while you hear background chatter from a cafeteria. The folks at Nightjar provide another slick and efficient menu here where things are just set up right. Access times are nice and fast and language selection lets you know exactly what you've got selected. Good stuff all around.
As with previous volumes, there’s a good selection of extras included here. With the change in the opening and ending sequences with this volume, there are textless versions of them provided here. Considering how busy they are, it’s a definite treat to get a completely clean version to check out. There’s a good length video interview with the manga creator Fujisawa that talks about various aspects of the show, including how it’s taken overseas. The Gone Wild segment provides more of the insanely ugly mug shots Onizuka manages to produce and the eye-catches once again show up here as opposed to in the show itself. The last nice part is a selection of character design line artwork.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Moving into the late teens section of the series, which means we’re almost just at the halfway point of the series, we get a good batch of episodes that finishes out one arc and brings an entire new one to light. Thankfully that second arc only spans the four episodes that are here, giving it a nice bit of closure.
The closing to the previous arc, where the young lady finds herself kidnapped over her fathers position in the government, we get a bit more of the amusing chase sequence as Onizuka races after the yakuza who’ve taken her. It’s a brief but enjoyable chase sequence, especially since we see some fear in the girl’s. Onizuka ends up laying low for a bit while the thugs go into their temporary base and start setting up things for their tape that will garner them some riches, should the girls father pay.
This episode plays out with great results, as we get some solid Onizuka action against the yakuza members, we get an amusing segment with the tests that he has to take, and then the fallout from his handling of such an important girl via her parents arriving on the scene. What makes all of this work so well is how the supporting cast works with Onizuka, with those opposing him and hoping for his failure and those who are working to make sure he succeeds. The way the lines have been drawn with people on both sides belonging to both the teachers and students groups gives this some good layering.
Onizuka ends up becoming something of a minor celebrity from this instance, and he milks it for the few minutes he gets on air, talking about how he’s a bachelor, good looking and single. While this proves to be an embarrassment to the vice principal, it proves to be an opening for Miyabi. Her frustration about not getting Onizuka gone yet, not to mention the way so many die-hard students have gone over to her side, has pushed her to use what seems to be the ultimate weapon. With a simple call, her plan goes into motion.
With Onizuka gets no takers on his request for a girlfriend, he bemoans this fact to his good friend as well as his very sexy girlfriend. His sorrows lead him to the park where he continues his drinking, only to be surprised by another very sexy woman in a wet slinky black dress. He figures his luck has changed, since she talks about how she likes him so much after seeing him on TV, and asks him to take her someplace. With her being nineteen, he’s all over it and the two head off. He’s stymied though when it turns out the place is a laundromat and she’s just getting her dress dried. She takes advantage of the empty place though and gets Onizuka to put on all kinds of weird things. Then she calls the cops.
Onizuka is pissed, suffice to say, having spent time in jail before being released since the girl was nowhere to be found afterwards. When she shows up at school the next day, in his class as a student no less, the entire school gets sent into an uproar. Apparently she’s Urumi Kanzaki, a prodigy of some sort who’s managed to completely destroy teachers over the years, far worse than any other student. Half the faculty is ready to quit and the rest seem to be in shock. But Onizuka of course tries to play her game against her, and we get several episodes of the back and forth between the two, as she pulls stunt after stunt and he keeps getting nailed by it. The end result, similar to how he’s dealt with the other troublesome students, plays out well.
The addition of Urumi to the show, or at least these episodes, is solid. While she’s doing the same things as previous students, she takes them to a new level and also starts dragging down other teachers along the way. What also makes these episodes more different from the earlier ones is that he’s got so much of the class on his side, that most of them are now more afraid of Urumi than they are of Onizuka.
The shows level of humor and energy is still quite strong as it gets ready to move into the twenty-something episodes, and that’s surprising to some extent. The way Onizuka talks and walks is still extremely enjoyable, as he moves between ultra cool guy to the geek wearing a dinosaur outfit and attacking a cameraman. The large cast also manages to prove to be an asset instead of a hindrance; with only a couple of them getting much more screen time than the others. They’re not the real focus to begin with, but they’re given the right amount of time.
And honestly, I cannot stop laughing at the continual joke of the vice principal and his Cresta. While the CG stuff in one of the episodes as he drives it to work isn’t the best, it does work wonderfully well in showing how he feels and loves his car.
I can’t recommend this series enough, as each volume continues to cause quite a bit of laughter and enjoyment. It’s been four volumes of solid entertainment so far.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Video Interview with Creator,Textless Ending,Textless Opening,Gone Wild IV,Eye-Catches,Character Designs
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2