Saturday, August 21, 2010

Drama Review- GTO

GTO was a very popular seinen manga in Japan. It tells the story of Onizuka Eikichi, a biker in a motorcycle gang who wants to become a teacher. He got a degree from a third rate university and ever since has joined the motorcycle gang. But he has only one dream- to become a great teacher.

The drama starts when his co-wroker tells him about a school that is hiring teachers. Onizuka hurriedly rushes to the interview. He fails in the interview and later goes to the school cafeteria where he meets the lunch lady who is the director.
While going back, he spots some students fighting with the interview pannel. They tell him to save them from these wild students and say that they'll grant him the job in return. They tell him that these students are 'trash' which infuriates Onizuka who believes that every child is special. Instead of the students, he hits the interview pannel and tells them about his beiefs.

The director, who is watching all this is impressed by Onizuka and to his surprise, gives him the job.

However, he is the homeroom teacher of the infamous 3-D that is filled with reckless, wild students who have no faith in teachers due to one of their teachers betraying one of their classmates.
Their previous teacher landed up in the hospital ICU and the one before that joined a cult. The director believes that somebody like Onizuka can make these troublemakers see light.

Onizuka meets Fuyutsuki sensei (Nanako Matsushima) with whom he falls in love. In real life, they fell in love during the shooting and married later. They have two daughters and are still married.
However, Fuyutsuki sensei has no interest in teaching. She wanted to become an air stewardess but failed the entrance. She just tolerates the kids for the sake of her pay. She finds Onizuka very easygoing and immature. She finds him disgusting in the beginning because of his lack of seriousness and his graduation degree from a third rate university. In the school, there are teachers who have graduated from Todai and other elite universities.

However, the students are not happy with him and from the very first episode start making trouble to get him out of the school. But, he in turn scares them off with his motorcycle gang.
One girl however, has a very troubled life at home with the relations between her parents breaking down. Onizuka goes to her house and helps her out. Fuyutsuki sensei also witnesses this heart warming event of Onizuka breaking down the wall between the girl's parents' rooms and her impression of him goes up.

The next day, the students create more trouble and her impression of him comes back to square one.

Onizuka's class boycotts him and he tries to get them back by winning the trust of each student. Fuyutsuki sensei is inspired by Onizuka's passion for teaching and starts taking her career seriously.

Their love life progreses quite well with hate turning to love. Fuyutsuki starts to see talents in Onizuka and is inspired by his dedication. There are some hurdles but these are cleared.

Story- 4/5
Characters- 4.5/5
Acting- 4.5/5
Overall- 4.2/5

One problem with the series was lack of seriousness. In Gokusen, the children are seen studying while here, they are never seen studying. That paints a rather hopeless picture of Onizuka's teaching abilities. Children don't come to school to fool around.

There was also too much focus on romance which is hardly required in a teaching, inspirational drama. This drama was much better in the manga form but the drama was good as well. A lot of rubbish has been cut down.

Takahashi Sorimachi's acting was the saving grace of this drama. His goofy expressions and serious acting in serious scenes was pretty well done. I can't believe that he has never received an acting award in his life when most of his dramas were super hit and he acts quite well. In additon to acting, he sings the theme Poison for the drama.

The best thing about this drama was the sentimental scenes. The ending of every episode is sentimental and heart warming.

The movie was quite good as well. I'll review it some other time. The special focuses more on Onizuka's relationship with Fuyutsuki sensei.

Overall, a good teaching/inspirational drama to watch. Gokusen and Dragon Zakura fans might like it although I liked both more than this. However, in manga form, GTO was better than both.
The drama is good but I'll recommend the manga over it. The drama is good for those who don't have the time to read the long GTO manga.
The movie is pretty good and I'll recommend it to anyone. The special was nothing spectacular.

If you're looking for inspiration, GTO is the thing for you. I'll recommend this and Gokusen and Dragon Zakura to anyone wanting to enter the teaching profession.


Takahashi Sorimachi
Emotional scenes
Complete with special and movie


Lack of seriousness in some parts where it is expected

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