Fri, 18 July 2008
Manga Review of GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka Volume 6 by Tohru Fujisawa. Translated by Dan Papia. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha. Published in US by Tokyopop, $9.99, Rated Older Teen 16+.
Things were not going very good for GTO at the end of Volume 5. Representatives from "The Mother and Child Victim's Support Group" showed up at school demanding to observe Onizuka's classroom. It seems they have gotten word of inappropriate behavior in his class and they want to check it out for themselves. Wouldn't you know it that GTO is on one of his slightly crazy kicks and is walking the halls wearing nothing but suspenders, a bizarre elephant head tutu around his crotch area, and some boots! In a hard to miss Freudian metaphor, Onizuka sprays some sort of substance, which I can only hope was water, out of his trunk onto the face of the leader of the support group. He's on the verge of losing his position, but Teshigawara, the evil math teacher, wants to make sure Onizuka never gets another teaching job for the rest of his life. He wants to expose him for the unqualified joke that he really is. He proposes a plan to Ms. Oda, the support group leader, in which Onizuka will take the National Scholastic Achievement Test. This is an academic test that students take three times a year. If GTO is able to make the top score in the country, then he will be able to keep his job. If he can't do this then he will have to give up being a teacher forever. Of course, we all know Onizuka is a complete moron so there is little hope he will even pass it, much less ace it. Since he only has a week to prepare, Azusa invites him to stay over at her place so she can coach. You can imagine the fantasies that start going through our hero's head when he hears this proposition.
The main thing that this volume and the series as a whole has going for it is its humor. Tohru Fujisawa is a great master of the common joke. He can make you laugh. When Onizuka starts daydreaming about all the fun he's going to have staying over at Azusa's (He actually visualizes the info he has to study being written on her naked body), he is rudely awakened when he finds out the dictatorial study regimen she has laid out for him. And some incredibly horrifying dishes to eat as well. He goes to an almost exclusive diet of grilled tuna head. She even supplies extra tuna eyeballs for him to eat that supposedly increase brain activity. Besides that she has electric head bands, pyramid triangles, wave generators, memoryman headphones, alpha wave music, and computer software to aid him. It doesn't really bode too well for his confidence that she's willing to go to such extreme lengths. The art is great as usual and is drawn very realistically. While there are moments of visual morphing during moments of humor or high emotion, there aren't any chibi figures to be seen in this series. So while the humor can be very funny, it never achieves this through drawing characters in wacky styles. It is done more by having the characters react to certain situations or to each other. Fujisawa also handles the action sequences very well. A great read. A great series.
My Grade: A