After the first photoshopped poster in the school commons, the Axis of Douche continues its campaign against Onizuka and even expands the conflict to try and take out Yoshikawa. The level of this bullying astounds in both technical sophistication and sheer brutality, with different factions favoring each. New photoshopping weapons have been deployed, driving Onizuka into retreat and almost convincing him that he has some sort of split personality disorder. But soon crucial information is delivered by Yoshikawa that brings a reversal of events, only to begin a continuing ladder of escalation in the War of Holy Forest Academy.
[With apologies for the significant delay due to being busier than usual and then sick this past week.]
Much like phase 4 of Kilcullen’s ‘Accidental Guerrilla Syndrome‘, his irrefutable but heavy-handed approach to disproving the poster ended up creating more believers.
The photoshops have reached new lows.
If that doesn’t put you in despair, I don’t know what would.
Well at least the last one is with an attractive woman…
Still reeling from the continuous attacks, Onizuka even starts thinking that he has a split personality that’s doing all these things while he’s asleep. At one point he thinks to himself that his spirit is leaving his body, but before that train of thought goes too far he’s interrupted by Yoshikawa coming up to the roof and letting him know that a classmate named Kikuchi is the one providing the photoshop ability to the male faction of the Axis of Douche. But Onizuka sends him away, saying he doesn’t want to rely on someone who’d rat out his classmates, a shrewd way of indirectly saying that he doesn’t want Yoshikawa to be the target of retribution for sticking his neck out for the teacher. That day after school Onizuka confronts Kikuchi in a most unorthodox manner: begging him to photoshop together a compilation of his favorite porn magazines and acting really friendly towards him. And it works! Using this information, Onizuka has managed to penetrate the soft underbelly of the Axis, removing Kikuchi and his abilities from the equation and then watching as the rest of the male students fall into line over an intentionally lame horror story.
Kikuchi, also known as ‘ ‘shop and awe’ by his former co-conspirators.
Suddenly this is turning into Ghost Hound.
There’s not a ghost of a chance of that happening.
Psychological judo: Onizuka didn’t fear the pervert label, he owned the pervert label and used it against him.
Going on in the background to all of this is Uchiyamada daydreaming about how getting his Cresta back will make his family appreciate him again, as well as flashbacks to moments at home where his wife and daughter ignore him. It’s a pretty sad and sympathetic picture of a character who is mostly a joke antagonist, so more on this later.
The leader of the female faction of the Axis, Anko, manages to deduce that Yoshikawa told Onizuka about Kikuchi, information that led to the taming of her male classmates. Expanding the Axis analogy, it’s almost like the boys were the Imperial Japanese Navy to the girls’ Army. The boys were generally tough, and sophisticated in their tactics and technology, but generally better disciplined and more honorable. Whereas Anko’s group works like the Imperial Japanese Army: brutal, lacking in discipline, callous, and not very sophisticated in their tactics. Getting back at Yoshikawa for them takes the form of grabbing him, beating him up, and then taking him to a closet where they stripped him and took pictures that they plan to blackmail him with unless he stops talking to Onizuka. It’s by far the most cruel attack yet perpetrated, and it drives Yoshikawa to attempt suicide again, an attempt only stopped by Onizuka’s quick reaction and the vice principal’s newly repaired Cresta. Following this, Onizuka Eikichi, 22 years old declares in no uncertain terms that “it” is “on.” Following them to their post-attack karaoke session and catching them completely off-guard, Onizuka proceeds to half strip them, return the favor of writing mocking words on them, and then takes pictures that he leaves for Yoshikawa to use as he wishes. And although Yoshikawa leaves the disposable camera behind, there is another step in the escalation crisis as the next day one of the girls’ mothers comes in to confront Onizuka.
Now things are getting back to ‘normal’ with Fuyutsuki.
Looks like he set the game *sunglasses* to hard mode. YYYEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!
The car’s sacrifice was not in vain.
Questionable as it may be, it certainly is effective.
Cry some more!!!
A new challenger appears!
Final Thoughts: – GTO has a lot of comedy to facilitate its serious content thus far, but even given the realistic issues it gets into, I was surprised by just how brutal Anko’s gang’s attack was. Granted, you do you have to wonder what kind of high school boy couldn’t defend himself against the girls, even outnumbered as he was. But moving past that, it had both physical violence and psychological humiliation in it, probably some of the worst bullying I’ve seen in anime so far. The girls got their comeuppance, but with one of their mothers now intervening things look set to just keep escalation. You have to wonder where it will end.
- In the background of all this, and continuing on the social commentary, are all the scenes with Uchiyamada and his Cresta fantasies. He’s not really a likable character, but he does become sympathetic given how crappy of a homelife he has. His wife and daughter barely acknowledge his existence except when he promises to buy them expensive pieces of disposable consumer culture. He’s channeled all his self-worth into his car because he’s got nothing at home and probably doesn’t get much fulfillment out of his job either. It is sad to see him in that situation, unlikable as he is, and it’s a fairly common theme in a lot of fiction from 1980′s-1990′s Japan as the economic good times grew and then receded in the real world.
- Speaking of sympathy for Uchiyamada, and incorporating much of Onizuka’s approaches to reforming students in the show, I refer to the below screenshot from Gintama:
While I’d say the sentiment expressed in the saying that Kagura was parodying is pretty common across Japanese culture for centuries, it seems to hold a particularly central place in GTO and its lead character’s mindset. Even when Onizuka dunked the blackmailers into the lake, it ended up leading them to become better. When he broke up the delinquents on his first day at Holy Forest Academy, it wasn’t because they were just ‘bad people’, but that they had been looked down upon and humiliated by the faculty and that made them turn to their antisocial behavior. There’s still a long way to go with this series, but even at this point I thought the saying seemed to fit the show’s outlook to a T.