GTO Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A+

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: GTO

GTO Vol. #02

By Zubin Kumana     May 31, 2002
Release Date: May 21, 2002

The Review!
Great Teacher Onizuka surprised hardcore anime fans and newcomers alike with its lighthearted realism, charming design, and interesting characters. The second volume delivers more of the same, and I couldn't be any happier.

First, the usuals:

Menus: Same as before, but with the opening music playing on the main screen instead of chalk sound effects.

Extras: Well, to start off with, you get liner notes, but these are on the insert, not on the disc. On the disc, you get the Japanese OP & ED, another installment of Onizuka - GONE WILD!, all the eyecatches from the first 9 episodes, and art gallery, DVD previews, and yes, even DVD credits!

While I wish the eyecatches had been inserted into the actual episodes, at least they are given here.

Packaging: The film style is thankfully repeated, with a blue tone this time. The cover art shows Onizuka in the foreground with Murai and one of his cronies behind him. At the bottom is a scene from the hilarious car-chase sequence.

Video: No complaints here. The picture quality was consistently good.

Audio: Another good job done by the English cast. Also, the music is great. Let's see that soundtrack CD, TOKYOPOP!

Content: For those that missed the first disc, Great Teacher Onizuka is about a 22 year old ex-biker who decides to become a teacher. While the episodes on disc one manly served to set up the story, the episodes on this disc settle into a steady pace, and focus on Onizuka winning over the students and faculty with his unorthodoxy and dedication.

Those who like continuous storylines rather than more picaresque series will be pleased, as the stories have a definite continuity, and in fact seem to come in 2 episode mini-arcs (eps 5&6 and 7&8 are closely related, while episode 9 is fully encapsulated, though it introduces a character to be seen in the next episode).

The first episode starts off with life back to normal after the photo incident from the last episode. Uchiyamada lusts after his car, Onizuka scares the class with urban legends, and the class plots a new way to get rid of Onizuka. Kikuchi wants nothing more to do with their schemes, so Murai and Uehara take over the plotting. Meanwhile, Fuyutsuki and Onizuka have a touching scene where Onizuka tries to teach her to play Playstation games. Then Yoshikawa blunders in, and he and Onizuka start nerding over the video games, while Fuyutsuki looks on in amusement. However, as Yoshikawa leaves, he is accosted by Uehara and her cronies, who proceed to beat and humiliate him. They threaten to show the pictures of him in his emasculated state if he continues to be buddies with Onizuka. This results in his jumping off the roof again.

Onizuka saves him, destroying Uchiyamada's Cresta a second time. When he finds out what happened, he sets off for revenge. He delivers the comeuppance with biblical exactness (hence the title of the episode, "An Eye for an Eye, a Butt for a Butt"), but not before being threatened by Uehara, as her mother is president of the PTA.

The next episode continues the story, wherein Uehara's mother demands that Onizuka be fired and not allowed to teach anymore. Onizuka takes the news with a grain of salt, as he believes that he was right in doing what he did. Uchiyamada is pleased, but Fuyutsuki and Ms. Sakurai try to protect him. In the end, Yoshikawa reveals the truth, and with a little help from Kikuchi, Onizuka is exonerated.

The next episode deals with Onizuka going on parent-teacher conferences. Onizuka wasn't planning on meeting the parents, but after hearing how Murai's mother is one hot MILF (from Yoshikawa and Kikuchi, no less), decides to pay her a home visit. Murai is outraged, and does everything he can to protect her, but when comes home and sees her leaving on a date, decides to follow her. He catches her with Onizuka, and antics ensue.

The next episode has Murai's mother trying to help Onizuka and Murai get along better. They go bowling, but Murai crazy glues Onizuka's hands into a pair of bowling balls. He and his cronies run off, but run into a gang of car thieves. Onizuka shows up, but in typical fashion, sides with the gang members, and suggests they force the kids to bungee jump off a bridge. The episode ends with a hilarious car chase sequence with Onizuka, Murai, and friends chasing a car thief around town in Uchiyamada's Cresta.

The last episode deals with a physical challenge between the PE teacher Fukuroda and Onizuka. Onizuka, now friends with Murai and his cronies, launches a soda rocket at Fukuroda, who later challenges him to a swimming meet. Meanwhile, Miyabi has taken over the role of plotting against Onizuka. She enlists the help of the, uh, slow-witted Tomoko "Big-Top" Nomura (she's an F-cup), instructing her to place the track teams panties in Onizuka's locker. Miyabi then tells Uchiyamada about the presence of a panty thief. The ending, while predictable, is still fun to watch unravel.

So why do I love GTO? Because it has heart, soul, and brains. Onizuka does what he thinks is right with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer (which was literally the case in the premiere episode). He is devoted to doing things right, but he also has a mischievous side. In short, he's a lot like real people are (at least, he's a lot like me), and that's why he's so easy to identify with. And face it, it is fun to watch him beat the odds, slowly win people over, and do what he loves doing. This is a series unlike any other; I honestly can't remember ever having enjoyed anime (or indeed, any TV show) this much.

Bottom Line: Find it, buy it, and watch it!

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


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