Tohru Fujisawa's outrageous character Eikichi Onizuka has enjoyed a surprisingly long career: the 25-volume manga Great Teacher Onizuka
has been adapted into a 43-episode anime series and, in live action, a TV drama, a TV special, and the feature GTO
. In the popular anime series, Onizuka is a buff, foul-mouthed, chain-smoking lecher who ogles his students' breasts. Actor Takashi Sorimachi, who played Onizuka in the TV series as well as the feature, is slimmer, older, and a little less hormonal. In both the live action and the animation, Onizuka demonstrates his affection for his students by administering a slapstick brand of tough love. Onizuka makes it his mission to bring together picked-on nerd Raku (Hideyuki Kasahara) and ostracized rich girl Ayano Katsuragi (Rena Tanaka) in GTO
. He defies her big-shot father, outsmarts the local cops, upsets the other teachers, and wins his students' hearts. He also dodges an ambitious journalist who's convinced he's a notorious thief. Director Masayuki Suzuki keeps the story moving and plays the car chases, crashes, pratfalls, and bicycle wrecks like an old Smokey and the Bandit
movie. It's hardly great cinema, but it's a harmless diversion for fans who've exhausted the animated version. (Not rated, suitable for ages 14 and older: risqué humor, mild violence, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
Great Teacher Onizuka has taken the anime and manga market by storm, and now he's taking on his first live action move. GTO is an ex-biker punk who's taken on the formidable job of teaching high school. Lucky for him, street smarts and martial arts are just what the job needs. Like a cross between a thug and a walking, talking after school special, GTO will go to any length to help his kids. However, his career might be in jeopardy when he's mistaken for a serial thief! It's the first of GTO's live action franchises.