GTO Vol. #06 (Mania.com)

By:Zubin Kumana
Review Date: Thursday, June 05, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, January 14, 2003



The Review!
Now past the halfway mark, Great Teacher Onizuka continues to provide a solid two hours of fun. The question most people are asking is, "where is all this going?" While there is no "final story arc" in sight, the show continues to impress just as it always has: by giving us great characters and letting their lives play out.

Menus: No change. Same as before, except for the music and sound effects being switched again.

Extras: The insert is the exact same image as on the cover, again with only one page of liner notes. On the disc itself there are the typical previews and outtakes. The textless OP and ED are available again as well, along with the third part of an interview with manga author Tohru Fujisawa. Lastly, there is an "Initial D Music Video", which I will not comment on, to avoid horrifying any pregnant mothers-to-be who may be reading this review.

Packaging: The color tone this time is blue, with a full cover portrait of Onizuka smoking a cigarette, with a shot of him racing his bike against Nao in the background. The reverse has the typical one-line plot summaries.

Video: No problems here. Looks as good as it has on previous volumes.

Audio: About the same as previous volumes. Nothing worse, nothing better.

Content:

The first episode deals with Uchiyamada as he arrives at school to find Onizuka and his class in the process of spraypainting a giant picture of a scantily clad woman on the side of the gym. Things get worse for Uchiyamada as he arrives home expecting a quiet evening with his family, only to find Onizuka ingratiating himself with his family when he gets there. Invited by Uchiyamada's wife for dinner, Onizuka is eventually persuaded to help Uchiyamada's hot young daughter with her homework (doesn't take much prodding). Of course, at this point, Uchiyamada is on the verge of a stroke.

Things get worse when a picture circulates of Onizuka taking his daughter out and about in the seedier areas of Shibuya, and Uchiyamada decides to stalk them to beat Onizuka with a golf club and save Yoshiko. Antics ensue (involving monkeys!... er, well, gorillas, at least)... In the end, though, Uchiyamada is saved by Onizuka, and, for a moment at least, Uchiyamada accepts that Onizuka may not be such a bad guy after all.

The next two episodes are about a new school nurse with two very big talents. (Manipulation and salesmanship... what were YOU thinking?!) The new nurse, Nao, shows up and throws things upside-down (more so than Onizuka) by flirting with the boys and selling make-up and beauty supplies to the girls. This concerns Azusa, but Nao claims to be acting in the best interests of everyone, including the students. After she promises Murai and the Gang to "dates" if they score in the top 50 on the test, and the boys fail, Onizuka confronts her about her tactics, but she shrugs him off.

Ryuji reveals that Nao is really the Queen of Hakosuka, former champion street racer, and the next episode is spent revealing the motivations and decisions that have led her to the school. After she finds out she's been swindled, she prepares to leave and start her moneymaking schemes again, but Onizuka challenges her to a race to prove a point about dwelling on the past. The race is run, and lessons are learned.

The last episode deals with Onizuka, as he takes over the managerial duties for Tomoko's floundering career as a superstar. Bringing Kikuchi, Urumi, and Murai & the Gang along for a sort of "permanent" field trip, the team plans out ways to increase Tomoko's exposure. Most of them involve commercials for obscure products with... um... suggestive dialog. Eventually, though, Onizuka lands a radio interview with a downtown Mini FM station and attracts a large crowd. In the meantime, Tomoko's manager has become more and more exasperated, but as a magazine executive shows up, things start looking up for everyone...

After the relative lull of the previous volume, the excitement kicks up a notch and delivers solid laughs and touching stories. The members of the cast have been fleshed out well enough at this point that the diversions here and there (specifically Uchiyamada's and Tomoko's episodes) work well, and while the focus may be jumping around a bit, there's plenty of time for a little more exploration of the characters before any sort of conclusion is required.

Bottom Line: Over half over and still going strong. There just aren't many shows out there that please more than this one.



Review Equipment
Microsoft X-Box, 27" Sony WEGA FS12, Sony MHC-M630AV Sound System, Samsung DVD-Rom drive




Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: TOKYOPOP
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: GTO