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Great Teacher Onizuka (グレート・ティーチャー・オニズカ Gurēto Tīchā Onizuka?), officially abbreviated as GTO, is a Japanese shōnen manga written and illustrated by Tohru Fujisawa. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Magazine from May 1997 to April 2002. The story focuses on 22 year-old ex-bōsōzoku member Eikichi Onizuka, who becomes a teacher at the private high school, Holy Forest Academy, in Tokyo, Japan. It won the 1998 Kodansha Manga Award for shōnen, and is a continuation of Tohru Fujisawa's other manga series Shonan Junai Gumi (lit. "Shōnan True Love Group") and Bad Company, both of which focus on the life of Onizuka before he becomes a teacher in Great Teacher Onizuka. As of 9 June 2009, a sequel to the GTO manga was released in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine under the title GTO - Shonan 14 Days.
Due to the popularity of the manga, several adaptations of GTO were made. These adaptations include a twelve episode Japanese television drama running from July to September 1998; a live action film directed by Masayuki Suzuki and released in 1999; and a 43 episode anime television series, aired in Japan by Fuji Television and Animax from June 1999 to September 2000. Both the anime and manga have been licensed in North America by Tokyopop. The Tokyopop version of the manga is out of print as of August 31, 2009.
Eikichi Onizuka is a 22-year-old ex-gang member and a virgin. While peeping up girls' skirts at a local shopping mall, Onizuka meets a girl who agrees to go out on a date with him. Onizuka's attempt to sleep with her fails when her current "boyfriend", her teacher, shows up at the love hotel they are in and asks her to return to him. The teacher is old and unattractive, but has sufficient influence over her that she leaps from a second story window and lands in his arms.
Onizuka, upon seeing this display of a teacher's power over girls, decides to become a teacher himself. In his quest, he discovers two important things: He has a conscience and a sense of morality. This means taking advantage of impressionable schoolgirls is out, but their unusually attractive mothers are a different matter. He enjoys teaching and, most of the time, he teaches life lessons rather than the routine schoolwork. He hates the systems of traditional education, especially when they have grown ignorant and condescending to students and their needs.
With these realizations, he sets out to become the greatest teacher ever, using his own brand of philosophy and the ability to do nearly anything even when under enough pressure. He is hired as a long-shot teacher by a privately operated school to tame a class that has driven one teacher to a mysterious death, another to nervous breakdown, and one other to joining a cult. He embarks on a mission of self-discovery by breaking through to each student one-by-one, and helping each student to overcome their problems and learn to genuinely enjoy life.
A 12-episode live-action Japanese television drama was aired, based loosely on the manga. Takashi Sorimachi stars as Onizuka, and Nanako Matsushima as Azusa Fuyutsuki. It is directed by Masayuki Suzuki, with music composed by Takayuki Hattori and the opening song, "Poison", sung by Sorimachi himself. There are several drastic changes from the manga to fit the 12-hour format of the live-action series, such as the following:
- Nanako Mizuki also studies at the Holy Forest Academy.
- Uehara Anko does not appear in the live-action; instead, her characteristics are merged into Miyabi Aizawa's character, thus making Miyabi the daughter of the PTA President. Most notably about Miyabi is that she is not nearly as vicious an antagonist to Onizuka as she was in the manga and anime.
- Ryuji Danma does not appear in the live-action, but rather is combined with Onizuka's police friend, Toshiyuki Saejima, and becomes Ryuji Saejima.
- Julia Murai, Kunio's mother, conceived Kunio at age 17, instead of 13.
- Onizuka has his own apartment away from the school, but chooses to sleep at the school during the summer (he states his home has no air conditioning)
- Yoshiko Uchiyamada, the daughter of Vice-Principal Hiroshi Uchiyamada, has a serious love interest in Onizuka (though not reciprocated).
- Many of the events in the live-action appear out of sequence to the manga and anime adaptations
Nevertheless, the changes in the live-action accomplishes to capture the spirit of GTO very well. According to Tokyopop, the final episode was the most watched television program ever in Japan.
Thanks to the series, Matsushima is now married to Sorimachi. They first met on the set of GTO. After a long-term relationship, they married in 2001, and in May 2004, she gave birth to their first daughter.
A two-hour television special followed in August 1999, and a theatrical movie in January 2000. The comic GTO (Grand Teacher Onizuka), about an ex-delinquent who teaches delinquents, became a popular drama series in Hong Kong and Taiwan in 1999.
The anime closely follows the manga plot up to volume 14. However, it ran past the story arc of the manga, resulting in a new ending. The main characters are similar to their manga counterparts, but side characters become underdeveloped; some did not appear in the anime at all. Nudity, violence, and perversion were toned down for the anime.
Two volumes of the original soundtrack were released.
|Opening||"Hitori No Yoru"||Porno Graffitti|
|Closing||"Cherished Memories"||Hong Kong Knife|
- Joel Hahn. "Kodansha Manga Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
- "GTO Volume 1". Tokyopop. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
- "TOKYOPOP Inc. Out of Print Titles." Tokyopop. 1." Retrieved on September 10, 2009.
- Tokyopop, Archived July 1, 2007 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- "Cute Power!". Newsweek. 1999-10-08. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- Tokyopop's GTO section
- Fansite with a big, active GTO forum
- Translated French fansite with information
- Great Teacher Onizuka (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Great Teacher Onizuka (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- GTO Drama Special at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- GTO: The Movie at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Great Teacher Onizuka at the Internet Movie Database
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