Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Review: Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO)

I’ve read numerous raving reviews of GTO, and that’s why I decided to buy it. But since I’m not a big fan of Japanese series, it took me a long time to finally spare some time and watched it. It didn’t disappoint. It’s simply great. What ever your tastes regarding movies are you’ll like it.

Watching GTO reminds me of the stark differences between Korean, Taiwanese and Japanese series. I don’t think most Korean and Taiwanese series could reach the depth of substance touched by the Japanese series.

Most Japanese series even the light hearted ones have dark and serious side to it, while Korean and Taiwanese series are full of silliness. However, I love the very silliness in Korean movies and series. They bring out a fresh point of view of the sad and unfortunate things in one’s life and enable us to look at them with laughter.

Although Koreans rarely able to reach the depth mostly found in Japanese movies or series, they’re excelled in conveying the depth of love or hurt felt by their characters which is rather lacking in Japanese movies and series.

Back to GTO… based loosely on its manga GTO will capture and open your eyes and heart to the hypocrisy and idiosyncrasy of our world. Takashi Sorimachi plays Eikichi Onizuka to perfection. I’m a little bit surprised when I heard that “Poison” the theme song of this series is sung by Sorimachi himself.

The main character Onizuka loves being a teacher. He has his very own philosophy for teaching. Unconventional though it is, it suits him and his students. His care for their well-being supercede his non-existing concern for school politics.

Besides having an unorthodox philosophy in teaching, Onizuka also has a principal philosophy regarding his personal life which resulted in him not having a girl friend and become the last virgin available in the neighbourhood. They caused him to be at odd with his colleague Azusa Fuyutsuki.

Being female and the youngest in their school had made Fuyutsuki did things which were not included in her job description as a teacher, like, making a cup of coffee for her male colleague or do photocopying for them. She resented it but had no courage to buckle under the hierarchical order which had put her at the bottom simply because she was a female.

She disagrees and dislikes Onizuka’s methods of dealing with students but deep down she also admires his ability to stand up for what he thinks is right. Other teachers not only dislike and disagree with Onizuka’s methods, they were also plotting to kick him out of their school. While on the other hand some of the students also trying their best to humiliate and besmirch his reputation.

Just watch it. It’s worth your time.

Another surprising bit out of this series was the fact that Takashi Sorimachi (Eikichi Onizuka) and Nanako Matsushimi (Azusa Fuyutsuki) were actually become a couple in their real lives as a result of their meeting in this series. And then years latter finally tied the knot and live happily ever after....
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