Great Teacher Onizuka episodes 02 and 03 – The Teacher of Twenty (Plus) Faces

After moving on from his student teaching and missing the national standardized exam, Ryuuji manages to find Eikichi a private school that doesn’t use the national qualifying exams in their consideration of applicants. Things are looking up after he recovers from his despair induced night of boozing the day before, and he even has a “fated encounter” on the bus with an attractive woman who’s also interviewing at the school. But he also can’t help himself from tossing an old pervert off the bus who keeps ‘accidentally’ bumping up against her. Only it turns out later that said old pervert is the vice principal of the school he’s applying to. But a sincere devotion to students, and a little violence, is never a bad thing.

There’s lechery and then there’s lechery, vice principal.

Cue daydream fantasy. Meet Fuyutsuki Azusa, Eikichi’s new crush. That’s quite an elegant name, isn’t it?

Time to get serious > it’s that guy from the bus > FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUU

Eikichi talks it over with the school store manager after chugging down some coffee milk. I guess they didn’t have any strawberry milk. Eikichi’s talk about how he hated it when teachers called him trash and how he wouldn’t do the same really makes him an endearing character. It was also within earshot of Fuyutsuki-sensei.

Some delinquents show up to get back at the vice principal for calling them trash and marginalizing them, and Eikichi’s self-introduction grows.

GERMAN SUPLEX! Eikichi isn’t swayed by the job offer if he defends the vice principal, and even leads the expelled students out of the building like he’s their leader.

His dreams of working at the private school seemingly shot, Eikichi decides to become Great Driver Onizuka and is most of the way to Aomori when he gets a call from Ryuuji telling him that he’ll be given an interview if he can get back by 6pm. Fuyutsuki came to tell Ryuuji, but unfortunately Eikichi is nearly eight hours away and the interview time is in three. Not that that stops him from slamming through the highway barrier, nearly destroying the tractor trailer, running from the police, and jumping (!) the multi-ton vehicle over a police roadblock in an attempt to get back. When he jumps over the school gate hours after the deadline, he finds the school store manager waiting for him. She’s the head of the school and want him to bring his unique brand of German Suplex education to the school. She even meets his condition of providing housing now that he’s been kicked out of his apartment by letting him move into a rooftop storage room. Being assigned to teach a middle school class isn’t exactly the lusty high school girls fantasy he imagined (thanks god, I might’ve had to drop this if he was that perverted) but at least he makes a quick friend in Yoshikawa Noboru over their mutual love of video games.

I wish all interviews were as lively.

Awesome chairwoman is awesome. Education GAR!!!

Ah, the Playstation 1. The first system that I got into gaming with.

Hell, I’d love to live up there! You’ve got your own huge rooftop porch/living space up there!

Never did play that one. Xenogears is the One True RPG for me.

The start of a great friendship!

Class 3-4 has a terrible reputation, so Onizuka heads in with a show of force expecting to meet a bunch of delinquents and punks. But they all act like model students, throwing him off with a more insidious way of getting teachers to breakdown and quit. Fuyutsuki and another friendly teacher, Sannomaru, warn him about the class, but it’s still a bit hard for him to believe the stories compared with what he saw. That night is his first living in the school storage room and all manner of ghost stories are coming to mind when he hears noises. Heading around campus covered in seals, garlic, candles, and holding a crucifix he finds and quickly defenestrates a panty thief raiding the girls’ athletic supplies, a couple getting naughty in the locker room, and then finds Yoshikawa up on the roof. His face is covered in marker drawings and he’s about to try and kill himself because he’s been bullied so much. Eikichi’s methods of talking him down are a bit awkward, as well as his movements, but he manages to grab him before tripping and falling onto the vice principal’s beloved new car, smashing it but shielding Yoshikawa. Apparently a girl has been bullying the kid, and a mastermind that looks like a purely evil version of Maho from Kare Kano is hinted at in several shots. Eikichi sneaks the boy home and they talk games for a bit, and he promises to make school better and “interesting” for his student. But class 3-4 sets up their first smear attack on Eikichi at the very end of the episode, photoshopping his face into a huge mural on the school wall.

Part of a proud tradition of perverted monks.

Hope he didn’t buy those surplus Soviet NVGs.

The first, but very minor, attempt to mess with his head.

Not quite as smooth as Yugo the Negotiator.

Yoshikawa’s room: a full dose of 1990’s otaku style.

There is no better motorcycle helmet than a flight helmet.

What the hell kind of resources do these students have to photoshop, print, and post all this in one night?!

Final Thoughts: – Eikichi expounding on why he wants to be a teacher was probably my favorite part of these two episodes, alongside the German Suplex and Sakurai’s undercover people watching. For as fun and funny as the show is, it’s nice, and I think important, to have that core motivation for the character. Without it the show could just devolve into slapstick or the drama could fail to come together into a coherent story. Which was kind of the problem I had with Golden Boy.

- Sakurai is a subtle badass. I really enjoyed her undercover work, and how she saw the potential in Eikichi but also wasn’t so sentimental that she couldn’t deploy him to deal with the worst class in the school right off the bat. Truly a wise and capable leader. And Eikichi could really use someone with that sort of strategic vision to back him up while he deals with the day to day issues in his usual head-on manner.

- Assigning Eikichi to a middle school class was a good move. Constant oggling of high school girls by him would’ve probably gotten old if it was a continuous element of the show. (Yeah I know age of consent in Japan is lower than in most of the US, but legal =/= not creepy.) Plus Fuyutsuki is now on the scene.


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21 Comments

  1. Kherubim
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    HELL YEAH GERMAN SUPLEX!!!

    Some of the kids in Onizuka’s class are genius-tier, even if they are seriously messed up, photoshopping his face would be child’s play, and in 1999, shop-spotting is still in it’s infant stages…

    Here’s to more wild and crazy antics from the Great Teacher and destroyed Toyota Crestas…

    • Posted September 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Given that it’s a private, supposedly elite school, perhaps they do have the smarts and resources for it. They’re definitely taking a more thinking approach to bullying their teachers, though why they’d want to do so (other than just sadism) is as yet unknown.

      • Kherubim
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Oh, god… you’ll realize how formidable the likes of Urumi, Kikuchi and Miyabi are…

  2. Posted September 9, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    The faces are awesome, the suplex is awesome… so much awesome that gives this show the comedic teeth to bite the actual crust of adolescent issues in the educational system.

    • Posted September 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Proximity in time may be making me link the two together, but I almost see something in Eikichi’s motivation to become a teacher and the main lesson of Kawashima-sensei’s redemption in Kare Kano as being similar. Eikichi had teachers like early Kawashima, who were more focused on metrics, reputation, and superficial things, and then later on in Kare Kano we see Kawashima going back to a focus on the lives of students like Eikichi is concerned about. It’s interesting seeing two series back to back from the same period in time that both discuss education and social topics from the time. (Not that they’ve changed fundamentally, but the 1990’s was a pretty distinct time in Japanese society.)

      • Posted September 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        It’s a good comparison! The kids that grew up from that time are a very different kind of adult from their parents’ who rode the wave of the Japanese economic bubble.

  3. f0calizer
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I watched this series many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I only remember bits and pieces of it now. Wait till you see him do his ninja cosplay!

  4. KaeBoo
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Those faces are epic. Eikichi’s final panel interviewers, the students themselves, are cunning and sly that feeds on his obvious pitfall. They make him lose his composure and fuel his determination to become the “Great Teacher”.

    • Posted September 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      He’s come up against a group of bad students that work in a fundamentally different way than he’s used to. It’ll be interesting to see how he deals with them, and how it influences the way he thinks about teaching and dealing with problematic students.

  5. theCorpsCommander
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    hahahahaha! I always love it when Onizuka-sensei makes fun of Uchiyamada-kyoto-sensei (Vice-Principal)! I remember that episode when Eikichi destroyed kyoto-sensei’s Toyota Cresta, LOL!

    and yeah, that German Suplex is the BEST! wooo~ :D

    • Posted September 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      I have to wonder why Uchiyamada is even a part of a school with Sakurai in charge. Unless she’s not aware of all his failings or he has some sort of influence or resources that makes him not worth the trouble of ousting.

      • Kherubim
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Uchiyamada is, or was a good teacher from a different generation who got promoted to a level of incompetence, and is now just going through the motions…

  6. Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Eikichi’s reasons for wanting to become a teacher are driven home further if you read the prequels (Shan Junai Gumi and Bad Company). Both Eikichi and Ryuji definitely had it rough in highschool.

    A few interesting points though, while there’ not much deviation here, the manga does ship Eikichi x Asuza harder here. To the point where she does help him move in somewhat. There’s a nice two page spread with both of them “welcoming” each other as teachers with honest blushes on their faces. Other major changes are the downplaying or outright removal of the other administrative figures (the Principal and the Academic Vice Principal. Other then that though, they’re still playing it straight from the animé at this point, it’s not until the next episode that we see some big changes.

    • Posted September 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      The prequels sound interesting, and I wonder how much of his past from those times the show will reveal. Deviation from the manga isn’t something I’m worried about as long as the material is still good. And I’m all for the show shipping Eikichi X Azusa!

      • Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        Well, aside from a few bits, the only major deviation is the finale when they ended up overtaking the manga and had to tack on their own ending.

        Although, there is one change (that I will explain as you get to it) where the change later forces them to import a character from the prequels into the show.

  7. Posted September 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    By comparison to most Japanese animation produced after 2005, GTO is very tame. Well, to be truthful, most any work from the pre-millennial era on broadcast TV was pretty tame. What’s rather nice about GTO is how, like ghostlightning says, is that the disparate elements are wrangled into the service of the story, not the other way around – and the themes the show explores are just timeless. It’s all the more impressive when you think about the pressure to conform, especially in a 1990s Japan where the idea of the corporate cradle to grave salaryman position was still the dominant model.

    • Posted September 10, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      The 1990’s in Japan was a really interesting and probably difficult time. As you mention, the idea of cradle to grave employment was still (only just) hanging on, but with the crash at the start of the decade people could see the end of it staring them in the face. Whether or not they could face that seemed to cause a lot of problems, and the strain on families often seemed to be passed down to kids in the form of pressuring them to do better in school or by parents being even more absent than even the stereotypical salaryman from the 1980’s. Japan (and the world) were also coming into a new era in a lot of senses too. The end of the Cold War left a lot of things in flux, there was the first boom in computers and information technology, and I believe it was during that decade that Japan’s declining population demographics began to be widely talked about. Like the (repetitive) opening monologue to several episodes of Kare Kano mentioned, it was a very uncertain close to one era.

    • Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      GTO, unlike alot of shows these day, has heart.

      Which is why I hope some studio wises up and decides to animate the spinoff/sequel Shonan 14 Days.

  8. Chen
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Yup. Middle school makes all the difference in the world. So no Kimura-class of perversion thankfully.

    You have to remember he’s still a 22 years old virgin, so be prepared to see some healthy obsession of the opposite sex. Just not towards middle schoolers. Well, sort of. There are some curvy women on this show, including middle schoolers. Thankfully, they’re mostly played up for laughs. Azusa even becomes hilariously jealous in what is arguably the only filler episode of the show.

    And, yes, Eikichi and Azusa are sweet together. =)

  9. Marzan
    Posted September 11, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I have always wondered how a GDO (Great Driver Onizuka!) might have turned out!

    The relationship between Onizuka and Uchiyamada is nothing short of hilarious. And Uchiyamada’s seiyuu does an amazing job of portraying the personality from the manga.

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