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The Life and Times of Eikichi Onizuka

edited March 2011 in Manga/Comics
Eikichi Onizuka is a delinquent. Not really an ordinary one, because as far as delinquents go, he may just be the worst. He and his best friend Ryuji Danma are the so called Oni-Baku duo and feared all over their hometown of of Shonan, and if they don't stir up trouble in school or on the street, it quickly finds them. And of course, the only thing in the minds of teenage boys besides fighting and motorcycles is sex. And so we can see for ourselves the tale of two young boys trying to lose their virginity and reach maturity in "Shonan Junai Gumi", while the tale of how the two met in the one volume side story entitled "Bad Company".

Some time later, we find Onizuka in Tokyo. While his best friend Ryuji has his own business, a sexy girlfriend and overall stability, Eikichi's a loser who hangs on with low paying part time jobs and spends the rest of his time goofing around and peeking up girls skirts at the mall elevators. That is until he meets a high school girl. After she goes through a breakup he cooks up a ruse trying to impress her they land at a hotel. But before Onizuka can finally lose his virginity at the tender age of 22, they're interrupted by the boyfriend: A middle-aged, balding man and she jumps out of the window into his arms screaming "SENSEIIIII". Of course Onizuka, dumb as he is, thinks being a teacher is just the job for him. But with his tenacity, Onizuka actually bites the bullet and becomes a teacher (eventually) and just like the rule of cool, and apparently the japanese school system, prescribe, he's put in charge of a class that absolutely loves tormenting teachers. And so it is up to Eikichi to teach these young boys and girls a few valuable lessons of life. After all, he is the Great Teacher Onizuka.

More recently, we are being told a story of two weeks Eikichi spent during summer vacation in his old stomping grounds of Shonan. There Eikichi becomes part of a home for troubled youth and does what he does best: Help them find their way in life. Of course, Shonan being Shonan there are still people around who aren't quite happy with Onizuka either.

I doubt there's anybody here who hasn't heard about GTO, but I'm not sure how many have read the other works of Tohru Fujisawa. Truthfully, they aren't always very good and he spent a lot of time after the success of GTO with rather mediocre to bad action manga with voluptuous women like Tokko and the Rose Hip series. What these manga lacked, though they still had the outrageous plots and a ton of action, was what made GTO truly shine: The Humor. Sure, a lot of it is rather juvenile but the grimaces and faces Fujisawa can put on people are just hilarious. Unfortunately, this also makes Shonan 14 Days seem like a bit of a money grab trying to bank off of the tremendous success that GTO was.

Through his works, we can however also see Fujisawa grow as an artist. Of course this is the way it should be. Still, the juvenile humor and somewhat crappy drawings at the beginning of Shonan Junai Gumi might turn off the unprepared reader. Yet, it is a very interesting work. Unfortunately, Tokyopop has no clue what it's doing and only released the first 10 of 15 volumes of the deluxe edition that combined two of the original volumes into one. At least they're relatively cheap. GTO should be handily available in english, the success it has seen, though I had my fair difficulty completing my collection of the german volumes. I don't think Bad Company has been licensed and I don't think Shonan 14 Days has been licensed yet. But hey, what are scanlations for?

So, has anybody else here followed the Life of Eikichi Onizuka?


  • I watched a whole bunch of episodes of the GTO anime back in the day, but I never finished it. I remember liking what I watched. Maybe I'll revisit.
  • I've watched it start to finish. It's a solid B+ anime.
  • edited June 2012
    Just a heads up because of what I just saw: After Tokyopop lost the license (and later went out of business), Vertical has picked up the license for Shonan Junai Gumi. They also release it in the double-volume format.
    Post edited by chaosof99 on
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