He’s back because there are always new delinquents that need a lesson from teacher.
Tohru Fujisawa’s career really took off with Shonan Junai Gumi. (Unless Adesugata Junjou Boy was some sort of critically acclaimed masterwork that no one ever talks about in the US.) In Shonan Junai Gumi we find Eikichi Onizuka and Ryuji Danma as two rough and tumble bikers trying to lose their virginity while fighting the worst delinquents in Japan. The series was popular enough that it got spun off into a sequel series, called GTO, where Onizuka becomes a teacher and Danma makes some guest appearances. While Shonan Junai Gumi was popular it never even dreamed of being the smash hit that GTO was. Since GTO ended Tohru Fujisawa has drawn other manga like Rose Hip Rose and Animal Man, just been the writer on manga like Eyaminokami – The Plague Princess and Shonan Seven, and even tried to spin-off other Shonan Junai Gumi characters into stand alone manga like Danma and Saejima Despite all of that in the end it seems like the character he always come back to is Onizuka.
If you remember GTO Shonan 14 Days was a Manga of the Month on the blog all the was back in 2011 but it was technically not a sequel. It is actually a side story that improbably takes place in two of the weeks between the penultimate and final chapter of the original GTO manga. But this time we get the true continuation of Onizuka’s mythos.
It seems that after all of his antics Onizuka no longer works for Holy Forest Academy. Not because Ryoko Sakurai has lost faith in him. It is because he is needed at Kissho Academy. A sister school that is exclusively for up and coming entertainers and celebrities. Therefore Onizuka is surrounded by high school aged cute girl idols and beautiful actresses (and some dudes who do stuff as well). Because this is a GTO manga he has to get the worst class in the school made up of the most dangerous and self obsessed students in a school that specializes in that. He’s normal antics won’t fly when each of his students in constantly in the public eye. In fact the story starts with him in prison recounting how this year got him thrown in the clink.
Despite the provocative new opening GTO – Paradise Lost is pretty much a return to form for Tohru Fujisawa. Onizuka has a new class of troubled teens who are raising hell while running away from whatever is scarring their hearts. So it is up to Onizuka to get to the root of their trauma while watching his step around parents, his fellow teachers, and now paparazzi. If you have enjoyed the formula in the past it is nice to see what a new class bring to the mix with usually some cameos from returning cast members (expect to see Urumi Kanzaki again). If you are burnt out on the formula (because there is a distinct GTO formula) things have not changed that much. If anything Kissho Academy is just hard mode as compared to easier playing fields of the Holy Forest Academy and White Swan orphanage. I for one have never minded a bit of formula s long as it is entertaining and I have not had enough GTO in a while that I am hungry for more.
Other than the new school the major change is that Onizuka has a new love interest in the form of Nana Kodama. She is a former model and now a fellow teacher at his school. I’m a little surprised they did not transfer over Azusa Fuyutsuki as well but I suppose they wanted to play with a new heroine for the series. They did bring over Hiroshi Uchiyamada mostly because I think Tohru Fujisawa realized how well he worked as a continually minor menace to Onizuka. Plus you really know all you need to know about Uchiyamada. I am sure that Nana Kodama has a complicated and messy back story for the readers to discover. Uchiyamada does not need anymore than what we have already seen of him. He might get a bit more fleshing out but his main purpose is to shake his fist and Onizuka and his antics.
Overall the heart of GTO is the blend of three things: gross out humor, insanely over the top plans, and earnest drama. The humor is rude and crude filled with dick jokes and cleavage shots. The student’s plans to get Onizuka and his retaliation is always grand. But both of those things are balanced out by the fact that Onizuka always cares to get to the heart of the matter for the students he cares about. The way the story keeps those three things in balance is why the series keeps getting new live action series along with new manga.
If you have never read the series before this is a good place to start but if you are a fan I assume you are already headed to Crunchyroll to start reading.