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volume 3 issue 9

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GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka Vol.4
Right-Left Manga
200 pages
Tohru Fujisawa
Once more, TOKYOPOP delivers a terribly entertaining collection of the latest antics of ex-gang member Onizuka. There's no excuse for you to not be reading this manga right now. Well, I guess you can finish reading this month's issue of Animefringe, but after that, run out and pick this book up today.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka Vol.4
By Patrick King

Again, we encounter Eikichi Onizuka on his quest to become a great teacher. The story thus far? Onizuka is slowly but surely winning over his troubled class, but a few pockets of substantial resistance remain. However, his primary concern is whether or not the school board is going to allow him to stay employed after a vengeful episode in a karaoke club. If he can survive that, our hero must also confront Kunio, a student with a particularly hot mother in a violent game of...bowling. Then, Onizuka's most dangerous female foe begins her most devastating plot yet, as she decides to take advantage of his weakness for young, chesty women. Yes, life is full of interesting challenges for this aspiring young teacher...

As usual, the English edition of GTO reads very well, maintaining the authentic feel of Japan by not screwing with the frequent amount of cultural references. If I have to gripe (and as a reviewer, I do), there is a noticeable amount of typographical mistakes. Perhaps it's due to the fact that TOKYOPOP is pumping these titles out monthly (and hooray for their quick delivery), but it is annoying to become momentarily lost due to a kink in the grammar. I'll admit I'm somewhat of a nitpicker for these things, but they do distract me from the work. Another tiny complaint concerns the text - it can be awfully hard to discern in its smallest font. However, these small surface problems are not enough to lessen my enjoyment of GTO.

Visually, this book maintains the high standard set in previous volumes - which means that the series is still one of the most artistically impressive works I've read. The characters are incredibly realistic, and the hilarious arsenal of facial expressions Fujisawa employs clearly show readers what the subjects are thinking. The cover art is in eye-grabbing purple (with a shot of the ever-cool Onizuka) and the book is presented unflipped, as it should be. It's slightly smaller than I'd prefer, but hey, it keeps the cost down and with 23+ books in this series, I suppose a lower cost helps in the long run.

The plot is extremely engaging, bouncing dexterously from amusing to serious to cute to gritty. Onizuka seems more and more like a snowball crashing down a mountainside as the story progresses; he unwittingly changes everyone he touches though he doesn't seem too aware of his effect. His teaching methods are brilliant, but he acts purely on instinct, not according to some artificial plan. He's a real treat to watch - you'll never know what he'll do next.

So again, I can't help but say to you all; Run out get this manga, NOW! It's entertaining and far more thought provoking than it may seem at first glance...not unlike the hero of the story.

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