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GTO is the story of Eikichi Onizuka, hardened ex biker, on his way to beoming a school teacher. Crude, violent, supposedly virginal, and with a fetish for young school girls, it would be easy to dismiss this young lad as nothing more than a foul mouthed, trigger happy gun-ho. But there’s more to it than that. Beneath the surface of his childish antics and repressed libido, we discover a down-right decent member of society. What you’ll find here is a genuinely funny, at times serious anime, that will leave you gaping (did he REALLY just do that?) as he cleans up the streets and attempts to become The Greatest Teacher In the World!

The series began as a hugely successful manga by Tohru Fujisawa in 1987 and has since spawned a live TV drama and movie (this I gotta see!). However the anime stands tall on its own and if you’re like me an haven’t been lucky enough to experience its two previous incarnations, then you’re in for a real treat. This is the first disc containing four episodes (of a total 43 episodes on 10 discs).

GTO - Volume One: Great Teacher Onizuka

Although humorous to the point of belly-achedness, GTO nevertheless finds its subjects in the deepest darkerst corners of a decaying modern society - workaholic parents, rampant bullying, underage sex, a school system incapable of dealing with the current generation of students, and exposes the impact this is having on the younger members of modern society. What we have is a town on the downhill.. perfect pickings for the blunt, in your face acts of social courtesy that we see Onizuka demonstrate like clock work. The way he deals with moral dilemma’s and seemingly complex situations is at the heart of the series.. his unexpected techniques of mediation and compromise will leave you coughing in shock, but certainly smiling.

This situations on this first disc are laced with so many contesting elements that everyone is sure to have some fun - whether it’s the suspense of seeing Onizuka walk in to a student’s house with a sledge hammer and break through the wall between her parents’ adjoining rooms (note the inferred emotional barrier being broken by our social cleaner-uperer Onizuka), the ever-present sexual innuendo-ing that runs rampant on the school campus’s, or the facial expressions of Onizuka himself that you simply won’t want to miss.

Director Noriyuki Abe has imbued the series with enough seriousness, fun, comedy and surprises to please even the most demanding anime watcher. This is what it’s all about. Not to be missed.

GTO - Volume One: Great Teacher Onizuka

Video

A simplistic though very effective presentation style, which avoids the ill-thought out eye-candy that seems to plague many recent anime. Presented in 1.33:1 full screen the visuals consist of pleasant saturated colours and rich blacks throughout, which complement the tone of the series, along with a few less contrasted indoor scenes. Very little abnormalities and an overall great looking transfer.


Audio

Mostly dialogue, with some audio effects thrown into this Dolby 2.0 mix for good measure. The opening song by L'Arc-En-Ciel gets you into the mood from the get-go. The Japanese dialogue is great (Onizuka in particular.. so much emotion!) and although the English dub is fairly standard (the translation process always seems to alter the meaning of some of the scenes) it’s also worth a listen.

Extras

I thought the quasi-blackboard menu system, reminiscent of a high school classroom, was a nice touch - something interesting when you start looking for some extras. What we have here is the inclusion of the original Japanese opening sequence (not so dissimiliar from our own). There is also an Onizuka - Gone Wild feature which is a collection of Onizuka’s more memorable moments from the episodes included on this first disc. Also contained on the disc is a small collection of preliminary artwork for the series too, a nice little extra for all the budding anime artists out there. And finally you’ll find small collection of anime trailers for Spirited Away, FLCL (first disc), Real-Bout High School, and Vampire Princess Miyu.

GTO - Volume One: Great Teacher Onizuka

Overall

Look out as Great Teacher Onizuka takes to the streets with his crude, violent, though always noble tendencies and manages to clean like no one else can. What we have here is a genuinely funny, at times endearing, look at the life of an ex-biker who is determined to become the teacher that none of us had. Funny, suspenseful, and full of surprises. A series not be missed.


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