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Review: Great Teacher Onizuka

Great Teacher Onizuka is a classic example of an iceburg show: there’s not a lot on the surface, but it’s actually incredibly deep. Watch any particular episode, especially near the beginning, and you see an odd morality tale: The students get into or cause trouble somehow, which attracts the attention of Onizuka, the teacher. He solves the problem through the application of violence which appears to be completely uncontrolled, but in retrospect turns out to have been precisely the right amount, to the gram. Similarly, though his demeanor suggests that he has nothing more in mind than getting drunk and getting laid, the title character always somehow ends up doing exactly the right thing for everybody.

The artwork frequently switches styles. The normal style isn’t very difficult from anime standard, but the style applied for ‘drama’, ‘anger’, and other moods in that vein is one that I don’t particularly like. Moreover, the changes are often jarring. The overall effect isn’t particularly bad once you’ve gotten used to it, though.

Overall, this is a pretty good series which makes one think to a surprising extent. The style is a bit harsh for the casual viewer, but it remains a show worth seeing for someone looking for something unusual and good.

Genre: high school drama
Emotion: contemplative
BTFS: .82
(Beyond the Fifth Star ratings are normalized from 0 to 1)

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