Great Teacher Onizuka/Reviews
Review by Iceberri
Perhaps one of the most inspirational dramas I've ever seen, Great Teacher Onizuka is truly a classic that few will ever forget. Although Onizuka's methods of teaching are certainly not conventional and rather extreme, he conveys his true and genuine passion for "teaching," which touches even the most stone-cold of viewers. Sorimachi Takashi's acting was excellent throughout the series - there was hardly a moment when I was not enraptured by his charming personality and goofy grins.
Besides Sorimachi who, with little exaggeration, stole the show, the supporting cast also provided an excellent backdrop and played convincing parts. In particular, I liked Kubozuka Yousuke's and Nanako Matsushima's - one as an intelligent and witty student, the latter as a righteous teacher who, after misjudging the rough appearance of Onizuka, begins to fall for him.
Because Great Teacher Onizuka is based off an anime/manga, there are certain aspects of the drama that reflects its origins. Certainly, Onizuka's exaggerated facial expressions and poses are characteristics of any anime, which makes GTO a great transition series from anime to drama. As I've observed, many anime watchers converted to drama because of the live-action, including myself! Frankly, I have not looked back on anime since.
As for the musical soundtrack, even after months having gone by without listening to it, I still remember that Poison, sung by Sorimachi Takashi (the opening song), is incredible, as well as Fuyutsuki Azusa's ballad. There are several version of Poison, but my favorite is the piano version.
There were only a few very minimal complaints I had about this live-action, as I loved nearly every aspect of it. The series was a bit too episodic, where in each episode, the viewer could expect to see yet another student who Onizuka wins over. The plot never really thickens until the last few episodes, where it truly picks up and ends with a grand flourish, which was satisfying. Even with the typical episodic plot though, I enjoyed every episode watching Sorimachi use his peculiar methods and observing the eventual acceptance and respect he garners from his students and fellow teachers. I love this series, and remains one of my favorite Japanese doramas to date.
Rating: Life-Altering (5/5)
Review by geoffropuff
geoffropuff says: Life-altering
I would have to agree with ice on this one. This drama is one memorable ride. Takashi Sorimachi's character, Onizuka, absolutely captures the hearts of viewers with his effective, yet unconventional, style of teaching. There were so many times I found myself cracking up to the point where my roommates thought i was having some kind of seizure or something. He does a fantastic job at exaggerating his facial features, so as similar to the manga and the anime.
The other characters did a good job of supporting the character of Onizuka. While his character is good enough to carry a show on its own, it's nice to see that the other characters were much better than forgettable. In particular, I liked the characters of Fuyutsuki, Tomoko, and Murai. Fuyutsuki was the teacher who, while she looked pretty and nice, actually had a "second face". Tomoko was a student who wasn't particularly good at anything, but was a really good friend. Murai was a student with internal conflicts regarding his father and authority figures, but really wanted to trust Onizuka.
Again I agree with ice. The music is very memorable. Even though many of the songs are different renditions of Poison by Takashi Sorimachi, I enjoy every single one. The piano version is also my favorite, with the regular vocal version coming in a close second.
Of course, this drama isn't perfect. It was very episodic, but most shows with this type of theme are very episodic. I feel that it was pulled off very well. For me, though, the biggest flaw was in a couple characters. I could not stand the head teacher's daughter and wife. They were supposed to be very annoying and demanding and such, but they did it so well, they made me angry on more than one occasion. Other from this fact. I really loved all the characters. Even though this was only the second drama I ever watched, it remains my favorite drama to date. I've seen it 3 times and counting............