Note 1: This is a review that will take a lot of words. If you are too lazy to read, then read the tl;dr section which can be found somewhere in this post.
Note 2: This post contains spoilers, albeit not heavy. If you do not wish to be spoiled, don’t read this. However, if you wish to have a knowledge on what is this manga about, then read this. I will try to lessen the amount of spoilers there can possibly be.
Note 3: This post will be as objective as it can possibly be.
- What is Great Teacher Onizuka?
- Who is Onizuka?
- Onizuka and his relations with his students
- Great Teacher Onizuka and Slice-of-life
- Great Teacher Onizuka and morality
- Great Teacher Onizuka as a great story
- Great Teacher Onizuka and art
- Great Teacher Onizuka and humor
What is Great Teacher Onizuka?
Great Teacher Onizuka is a manga which covers the life of Onizuka Eikichi as a teacher and how he tries to reform the demonic 3-4 class which is known for their ability in harassing teachers. That’s the basic premise of the manga. However, the whole story not only focuses on Onizuka’s mission but also focuses on the students, educators, and even to the student’s family.
Whilst the story can get a whole lot serious at times, it tries to give people the entertainment they need. People would still laugh very much with this manga because this one gives people the feeling of enjoyment in seeing through Onizuka’s crazy antics.
Who is Onizuka?
Onizuka is a 22 year old virgin male who wanted to be a teacher after witnessing an event. That event is is portrayed like this: Onizuka meet up with a girl who saw her peeking at her panties. Then the girl invited him to go on a date with her. His plan on having sex with her then fails after her ‘current’ boyfriend, a stupid-looking teacher, shows up outside the love hotel soaked in the rain. Rejected, he found a new light. That is, to become a teacher.
Despite being an idiot, a pervert, or anything negative that you can call him, he is still a very great character because of his moral views. He is also somehow a superhuman that can’t be killed no matter how many times you kill him.
Onizuka and his relations with his students
In his first days at the Holy Forest Academy, he was despised by his class just as much as they despised the other teachers. However, he tries so hard that he succeeded in reforming them one by one. The methods used can be from simple lecture to the very dangerous ones. As time progresses, he was truly beloved by his students that they even see Onizuka as a friend and a teacher and respects him from the bottom of their heart. The students are sometimes involved in his crazy antics that all you have to do is laugh as they attract more trouble. Kanzaki Urumi has been shown to be romantically in love with Onizuka that she feels like she will be alone again if he dies. She even tried to slash her wrist because of a certain event.
Great Teacher Onizuka and Slice-of-life
Despite Onizuka’s superhuman strength and many impossible events that had happened in this manga, this manga can be considered as a slice of life (even if wiki-pedo did not include it). The reason is that the story looks like a representation on what is happening today from family to government. Bullies. Family problems. Rape. Betrayal. Greed. Pressure. All of the negative ingredients and more mixed in this manga perfectly gives the manga a dark color. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Trust. Friendship. Love. Loyalty. All of this positive ingredients and more mixed in this manga perfectly gives the manga a light color. One of the manga’s true strength is that this manga perfectly blends all elements (dark or not) while being truly realistic and still enjoyable. Teenagers is the main focus of this manga seems they look more on the rebellious phase. Further explanation will be given in the next chapter.
Great Teacher Onizuka and morality
Just to remind the readers, I am not good in this kind of thing. However, I do feel the need of this one so let me be.
Just like I said on the previous chapter, I will give further explanation on teenagers. I will try to combine the said explanation on what is this manga about. Teenagers have been pretty known for their rebellious phase. At least, most of us have been in this phase. It is normal since this can be called as adolescence. Middle schools have been a great sample in this one since adolescence usually happens at this age group.
So what is the relation to the manga? In a normal logic, this is a manga which depicts the rebellious phase of these kids. The manga has pretty much covered some of the usual behaviour exhibited by teens like wrist-slitting, bullying, blackmail. It also, despite negativity, shows elements of love and how it develops in teens.
What is the relation to morality? Growing up and reaching adolescence is usually the time when they wander on who they really are. It is through their self-assertion that they have their own sense of morality. If you will look closely, the manga deals also with morality. Jose Rizal said, “the children are our hope in this country”. This has been shown in this manga. The future of this kids are the future of this country. The manga shows, however, how stupid the future of the country will become if this kids act like that. It does not, however, follow that they are to blame. It can be learned that the author implies that the teachers and parents are one to blame for their child’s shortcomings. Urumi’s pitiful state is the cause of her mother’s greed for money. That even pushed her into killing herself. Sho’s state of mind is the cause of her mother’s irresponsible attitude. There are even parents who never trust their kids. There are even parents who forced their kids into doing what the parents want. There are even parents who are too busy with work that they do not even have the time to talk to their kids. GTO showcases them all. The manga is like an eye-opener on what is the problem with the rotten world that we live in.
But of course, what makes this manga shine is Onizuka’s perception on what morality is. He is the type that is strong and unwavering (though fear and anger does get him sometimes). He is a guy who never lets past bind him. His power makes people around him feel like they want to reform and become good kids and adults. He is ready to risk his life for his student’s well-being. As such, he is a responsible man. Minus his perversion and idiocy, he is a man that fits to be a role model of the teens and adults today. One of his lessons is to live the way you want to be and never let anyone binds you. If school blocks you, then you can just quit. His lessons are actually life lessons and it is much more important than the useless math (or whatever subject you hate) stucked in your brain. Existentialism.
This manga also focuses on camaraderie. And it also places importance on it.
Great Teacher Onizuka as a great story
It was said that a story must have this three phases to be considered great.
- A good start that interest the readers. The start must explain what is going on. Therefore, it is recommended for a story to begin from the very beginning.
- A straight middle that is fluid and never tries to shock everyone with deus ex machina. Deus ex machina is heavily criticize in literature in any form so it is not recommended. Everything must not go too fast then go too slow. It must have harmony. One reason for this is that it gives confusion to readers and it might lose their interest.
- A great end that never leaves anything dangling. If there is an intention of a sequel or prequel, everything must at least be reduced to minimum. Deus ex machina is not allowed. The characters must at least build a resolution and must not be left out. Of course, the ending must at least be lively.
This manga passes all of them with NO SWEAT. First one is that the start never leaves you wondering on what the hell is happening. This is not Pokemon wherein you will have to wonder where did Pokemons come from. It is necessary for the readers to be aware of what is happening or else they might lose interest. Second is that this manga does not surprise you on events. Everything is carefully plan out well and everything keeps its harmony. Its story does not move and does not change. Third one is that every single plot hole has been covered. If any remains, there is a sequel that might answer you. The characters either made a new resolution (Sho is an example) or sticked with his resolution (Onizuka).
In addition, this manga offers a great deal about character development. The characters are never dead leaves. They are never Akiyama Mio.
One more thing is the originality. I am not quite sure if this is still original up to now. But hey, it is still one of the most unique manga that ever existed.
Great Teacher Onizuka and art
First off, I have nothing much to say here. I am not good with these kinds of things.
Okay. The art was one of the simplest I’ve seen. But hey, it is a lot more better than the art made by some moe-philic ones like K-ON! I feel the great need of a change of view and this one made me have what I was demanding for. The manga was made in the late 90’s so it is obvious that it is a lot different than the manga today. But it is one of the most tolerable art that I’ve seen.
Great Teacher Onizuka and humor
Admittedly, this manga is the best when it comes to showcasing humor. The manga never tries to overdo or underdo humor. This manga does not need Akiyama Mio to have a humor. The humor perfectly blends the air so that you’ll never feel discomfort when reading. While this one shows some erotic comedy, I never considered it to be ‘crossing the line’ since everything is all according to the atmosphere so there was no pointless fun unlike Akiyama Mio’s panty controversy that made a lot of people laugh for no good reason at all. Moe-garbage fails to compare to this show’s humor.
This manga is one of the best that existed since the start of mankind. It emphasizes at the relation of teenagers as part of the society and morality. It tries to tell us that the main problem of this society is because the adults fails to be responsible for their sons/daughters which is the main reason for their rebellious state. And yet, all they blame is their own child. It also offers a lot with its unique story which follows the three requirements that I’ve said a while and it showcases an amazing humor. It is one of the most unforgettable manga despite being old already. Its art is one of the most tolerable ones that existed today. It is a whole lot more tolerable than moe-garbage like K-ON today. Everything in this show blends well that it just flows naturally with not much disruption. That’s why this is one of the best that ever existed.
Basically I think that I should stop now. I am not a good thinker so most of my thoughts just immediately end up being useless. Too bad that the anime and drama can’t compare to this.
2000+ words. Seems like I’ve complied to what I’ve said yesterday.