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volume 3 issue 12

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Great Teacher Onizuka Vol.5: Betrayal
Bilingual DVD
4 episodes
125 minutes
Tohru Fujisawa
Weekly Shonen Magazine
SME Visual Works
Studio Pierrot
Fuji Television
Two slower episodes and two that are funny as hell.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Great Teacher Onizuka Vol.5: Betrayal
By Adam Arnold

Onizuka's high-octane problems take momentary breather in the first half of the fifth volume of Great Teacher Onizuka as the story shifts briefly to Murai and Fuyutsuki. In "Love Letters," Murai walks into school and finds a rather mysterious message in his shoe locker marked only with the initial "F." The message turns out to be a confession of love that Onizuka happens to catch wind of. Now with Onizuka on the case, Murai's love life could very well take a nose-dive before it ever gets a chance to get off the ground.

Episode 21 and 22 act as a two-parter that focuses primarily on Fuyutsuki's problems with her class and shifts to a larger problem concerning one of Fuyutsuki's old students. What kind of problem could goodie two-shoes Fuyutsuki possibly have? Let's just say, all the girls in her class hate her guts because all the guys are trying to hit on her and not them. After the students haze Fuyutsuki, she runs off to the countryside to rethink her reason for becoming a teacher.

The fourth episode on the DVD is called "Superstition" and is by far the funniest episode on the disc. The episode is GTO's answer to the horror film Ring (if you watch closely there's a movie screen with that very moving playing). In this lesson, Onizuka finally collects the mail that he's accumulated at the school and it turns out to be a box full of a whopping 230 chain letters!

Murai finds a chain letter addressed to him and instantly starts freaking out, as do his friends. Onizuka grabs Murai's letter and rips it up showing them his box and saying that it's just a load of bull. Little does he know that, there might be some truth to all the bad luck. Trust me, things spiral out of control from there.

One thing that got on my nerves during episode 21 and 22 was the dubs over use of the word "Teacher." Constantly the word is used in the place of calling Onizuka or Fuyutsuki by their name. Instead of hearing an insulting "Hey, Onizuka" or nice "Hey, Mrs. Fuyutsuki," you hear instead a "Hey, Teacher." It's a minor gripe, but very noticeable within these slower, introspective episodes.

Since the cast for this series is so diverse, any repetitive or over-acted voices can be forgiven as long as they don't have more than a few moments of dialogue. In the case of the father in the city of Hakuba, the voice is the single voice that just doesn't flow with the rest of the episode and actually detracts from the story. It's an overacted Texan accent. While I like that better than a bad southern accent, it does go a tad overboard since it's a slow series of dialogue.

The must-watch second part of the interview with GTO's creator, Tohru Fujisawa is the headline extra on this latest volume. By far this interview has turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and insightful interview sessions I've ever seen included with any title anime and non-anime. What makes it special is the interviewer (is that Stuart Levy?) and Fujisawa-sensei really seem to have clicked and are just discussing things at a normal pace. Nothing is rushed or forced. Fujisawa-sensei can be seen lighting up a cigarette and taking a sip of beer all the while talking about going to Universal Studios, seeing some homeless guy try to rob a bus driver in New York, and insightful bits like how Onizuka gets his look or how the manga is plotted.

The rest of the extras are the GTO standard fare of dub outtakes and opening and ending sequences among other things. Though the middle episodes on this volume are a bit slower to get into, the other episodes more than make up for it with their solid stories, overlying messages, and comedic situations. Now, I've got to bide my time until the next volume to see what happens when Onizuka goes out with the Vice-Principal's daughter.

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