GTO Vol. #09 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • 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

GTO Vol. #09

By Chris Beveridge     July 23, 2003
Release Date: July 15, 2003


GTO Vol. #09
© TOKYOPOP


What They Say
Episode 36: Self-Improvement: Fuyutsuki's Transformation
Fuyutsuki goes shopping for a swimsuit for the field trip to Onizuka ... an errand that proves far more complicated than you might think ...

Episode 37: Living Together
Even on a field trip, Yoshikawa has to deal with the requisite bullying by Anko.

Episode 38: Great Treasure Onizuka
Blinded by his greed, Onizuka forces his students to search for a treasure thought to be exist somewhere on Ishigaki island ... and rumored to be worth 2 trillion yen!

Episode 39: Alone in the Dark
Yoshikawa and Anko share a life-threatening experience; totally ignorant of their plight, Onizuka continues his mad quest for the treasure

The Review!
The penultimate volume of the series shifts the show from its school roots off to Okinawa as school is definitely out of session.

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:
The base coloring and borders this time around goes with a burnt umbra look that plays out well against the imagery. That imagery of course is a bare chested Onizuka painting GTO on the wall in red behind him. 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 one page worth of translation notes and tips as well as providing another look at the front cover on the top page.

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 left 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:
The extras here are about on par for what I?d expect at this point. We get another round of dub outtakes but we also get the original Japanese opening sequences (two of them) and another Japanese closing sequence. The schools-in-session music video/promo makes another appearance as well.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With a series that?s into its late 30?s here in terms of episode count, you?d either get some really weak stuff or some average material. Surprisingly, GTO manages to hit a number of great episodes here and pulls off some excellent fun stories.

With all the problems and issues of the lost money and scandals behind him, Onizuka gets things in order for the entire grade to head off to Okinawa for the school trip. What?s great here is that with this as the focus, the show can shift its attention entirely to Ms. Fuyutski for an entire episode. She?s gotten a bit lost in the shuffle throughout the series though she has had some very specific time given to her. This disc has that happen right off the bat as she starts to panic about what to wear when at the beach. She has the quandary of needing to be respectable as a teacher, but she also has this lust for Onizuka that?s just below the surface of her knowledge that?s clawing to get out.

This brings Kadena back into the picture, since there?s an amusing segment where she and Onizuka are talking about looks and there?s comments made about how Fuyutski is pretty flat. So she tries to help out by showing Fuyutski the way to dress and things that might make her feel better about herself. She basically comes down to that Fuyutski needs to get some padding in there and heads off to buy some. This leaves Fuyutski all by her lonesome and she starts trying on some of the clothing that Kadena bought. And then expands on that more and more.

This episode is a riot, right down to the very end at the school when they?re leaving for the trip. I died laughing at this episode just as much as when I read the manga version of it.

The time spent for the rest of the volume is at Okinawa, where the vice principal tries to run things as a normal school education trip but Onizuka pushes it more as a fun fun vacation. There?s lots of fun on the beach and in the hotel and at various events around the area, such as the kids learning how to make sunshine tattoos or watching Onizuka surf on a dolphin or going spear fishing while the vice principal is extolling the virtues of life. But there are also a lot of little moments that really make things beautiful here.

For instance, Onizuka has a hell of a lot of fun by making up the room assignments and having most of them be co-ed. Life is education, and he?s certainly pushing this along. This leads to a number of interesting combinations, but the best one was with Urumi. Keeping in mind that she?s pretty much the child genius, fluent in multiple languages, shows off frequently with her class about everything she knows, her assignment puts her in room 0080. What?s in there? Three of your basic classic nerds, but not just any nerds ? they?re Gundam nerds. They go on and on about all the details about the entire universe (including amusing slams about various alternate universes) but for Urumi, she doesn?t understand a lick of it and it drives her mad. There?s just such a beauty to it.

One of the other focal points of these episodes is taking things back to Yoshikawa. Anko is picking him on pretty heavily since Miyabi isn?t here to do it, abused to the point where Onizuka ends up putting him in their room. There?s a lot of back and forth between Anko and Yoshikawa, but it comes to a head when she and her two cohorts try to lose him on one of the smaller islands, not caring if he?d die or not since he?s such a wimp. Things end up getting out of control like they usually do and there are a lot of solid moments here between Anko and Yoshikawa.

In fact, one of the best things about this series is the fact that the characters do grow. With a lot of shows, there?s very little growth with the cast outside of maybe a primary relationship that becomes the running joke of the series. But for storytelling purposes, it?s much easier to show quick and visible growth when it comes to the teenager, especially compared to older characters. GTO really uses this nicely as the bulk of Onizuka?s class has grown nicely as we?ve learn what?s made them tick. This batch of episodes provides a great focus on Anko and Yoshikawa and really changes things in an interesting way ? even though you can see it coming.

GTO is going to be sorely missed when this series ends. These episodes were a lot of fun and have a lot of replay value in my mind. While changing the setting could be considered cheap, it works out great here. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Outtakes,Original Japanese Opening/Closing,Schools In Session Promo

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD Recorder, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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