GTO Vol. #03 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • 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
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: GTO

GTO Vol. #03

By Chris Beveridge     June 20, 2002
Release Date: June 18, 2002


GTO Vol. #03
© TOKYOPOP


What They Say
Outcast from her small group of friends, Tomoko Nomura was always teased as being 'slow.' But without a friend in the world her self confidence is definately falling fast! Now it's up to Onizuka to teach her to her find her own special spotlight and that means a class trip to an idol contest and very special lesson in friendship Tomoko Nomura that her ex-friend will never forget!

Then, an obsessive teacher gets Onizuka in trouble when the local education advocacy group sees Onizuka teaching a class in an elephant costume. Now he's got to get the highest national score on the Junior exam to keep his job! It might sound easy for most teachers, but then again Onizuka isn't like most teachers! Can his students help him out or will this be the end of our Great Teacher?

The Review!
Moved up in its release schedule just for this volume, we get the third installment early but have to wait extra long. And at the end of this volume, you want more faster than you can blink.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
Going with a reddish theme this time, the layout is similar to earlier volumes with a mix of animation shots from the episodes layered beneath a larger shot of Onizuka. 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 provides a number of translation notes on one side while the reverse is an advert for more GTO items.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
Provided as extras for this round, we get the inclusion of the textless opening and endings, which I still have a lot of fun listening to and playing. You have to wonder how that last part of the opening, where he paints a bullseye on himself and shoots himself in the mirror, would go over with a TV censor. The “Gone Wild” section continues with another look at some great Onizuka expressions while we also get the eye-catches included as extras as well. Which is still weird, I’d rather see them in the series. Also included is a couple of production sketches.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Throughout these five episodes, there’s two main plots that run and somewhat intersect each other, if only for the fact that they both end up involving Onizuka.

The first storyline deals with Onizuka doing his best to try and get Nomura, unaffectionately known as Toroko, to come out of her shell. He takes his time to learn about her, and the relationship she had with Miyabi, and then works his magic. His big plan? To have her enter a popstar contest of sorts, where she goes to show off her various skills. Of course, she doesn’t have many skills and her own mindset just keeps her thinking of herself as nothing but a cow with huge breasts.

Her entry into the contest gets things even more ruffled when they learn that Miyabi and another friend from that powerful but small clique are also entered. The way the contest plays out is amusing, from the swimsuit competition to the talent contest. What proves to be the most interesting is the acting bit, where Onizuka manages to work things out that he gets Nomura to pour out her soul about her past in such a way that works perfectly.

The other amusing arc involves a fellow teacher named Teshigawara. He’s the mathematics teacher at the school, and as we learn, has a massive crush on Azusa. As we watch his subtle ways of watching her in school, and hating the way Onizuka is so overly friendly with her, we see just how far he goes. When we realize his apartment is angled close to Azusa’s and he’s got a telescope, it gets even worse.

But that’s not all. He’s even built a shrine to her with various photos of her all over his apartment. He’s truly moved into the stalker category. With Onizuka being who he is, and Teshigawara have connections to an educational group who has the power to remove teachers, he begins to plot and plan to have him taken out of the school. Through various sets of circumstances, the two even end up in a fight of sorts, leaving Teshigawara all bandaged up. This only helps his case with the group however.

There’s some interesting things playing in these episodes, with a dominating daughter using her influential parents as a power card over Teshigawara to get what she wants. Teshihgawara’s own deviance is shown amusingly here, though it’s definitely got some heavy negatives associated with it. But the show overall manages to keep an upbeat feel to it, even when they try yet again to fire Onizuka. There’s lots of laughs throughout all these episodes and we continue to find this to be one of the freshest series we’ve seen in a long time. The next volume can’t get here fast enough.

Features
Japanese Language,English Langnuage,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Textless Ending,Gone Wild III,Eyecatches,Original Character Sketches

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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