The 2nd Dimension

Sunday, April 17, 2005

GTO Live Action TV Series review

So I've been working my way through the GTO Live action series. I've downloaded everything except the movie, which is just as well since the movie is going to be released in the US on July 26 anyway.

I've only actually watched the first 4 episodes (if you expect me to do an episode-by-episode review, keep dreaming) and so far I have to say that I am really impressed with how it is turning out. It's kept enough of the storylines to keep it familiar, and what they did change in terms of plot and characterizations was necessary in order to have a successful transfer over to live action.

Fuyutsuki is a good example of how a character's personality might have changed. In the the anime she was basically just a naive teacher who acted as Onizuka's love interest. But in this series she is still the love interest, but she isn't so much naive as much as repressed. It's like she acts nice and mature around everyone, but in reality she gets a kick out of playing video games and she secretly wants to tell off all the other teachers whenever they start bossing her around.

Speaking of characters, I have to say hats off to Takashi Sorimachi , who plays Onizuka. He does a good job of pulling off that brand of cool and honest personality that makes him likable despite the fact that he kind of a pervert.

Watching this series really helps you to realize the differences between Japanese and US shows in terms of what they can get away with. For instance, there is a scene where the Head Teacher gets so frustrated with his wife and daughter that he imagines that he tells them both to shut the hell up just before giving them a full-palm fact slap. My wife just happened to be in the room for that one and gave a loud gasp after that scene. And then there are all the parts where Onizuka is giving letcherous glances at the grade school girls and other scenes where he is watching porn uncensored. I can only imagine what kind of letters the PTA would be sending US stations if they aired that stuff.

Review: I definitely am enjoying this show and I can see why it was one of the most popular shows aired in Japan. It is not exactly the most believable show in the world because there is no way in hell that any teacher can get away with the kind of stuff that Onizuka gets away with, but it doesn't matter because that's not what makes this show great. The show's truth comes from showing Onizuka do and say the things that everyone in the real world only wishes they could.

The show is probably a lot more relevant for Japanese students since their curiculum and school life is more stressful and demanding than what is is here, but I think US viewers who can get over the "yeah right like that would ever happen" initial relaction can find a lot to relate to here.

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