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‘Great Teacher Onizuka: 14 Days in Shonan’: What Teachers Do On Vacation [Exclusive]

Tohru Fujisawa’s Great Teacher Onizuka, or GTO, has a great hook. Eikichi Onizuka was once a member of a biker gang, a juvenile delinquent, and a noted virgin/pervert. Now, he’s a teacher. He uses the power of his complete lack of manners, wrestling moves, short temper, and strong belief in right and wrong to mold the impressionable hearts and minds of Japan’s high schoolers. It’s a great setup for comedy, assuming that you’re okay with dirty and/or violent humor, and surprisingly effective at more dramatic elements, too. GTO was a hit on both sides of the Pacific, and now GTO: 14 Days in Shonan is coming to store at the end of the month via Vertical Inc., with anew volume drops every other month until it’s done. After the jump, we’ve got an exclusive 20-page preview, along with some more details.GTO isn’t entirely filthy. Onizuka becomes a teacher for less-than-moral reasons, but he soon realizes that teaching is a big deal and that he has the chance to really make a difference in the lives of his students. Sometimes that means counseling them when they have troubles. Occasionally, he may have to beat up a bully or two. And sometimes, he might just tie up a couple of delinquents and dunk them in water until they agree to behave. You know, nothing but the most cutting edge educational techniques.

If I had to boil it down to a high concept, I’d probably say that GTO is about believing in yourself enough to have a good time in life. Fujisawa does a pretty good job balancing the more saccharine elements of the series with the knock-down, drag-out, somewhat perverted jokes. It’s clearly a comedy, but when it takes a turn into drama, it doesn’t feel unnatural.

A sequel to the original series, GTO: 14 Days in Shonan shows us an Onizuka who is now well-established as a teacher — up to and until the point that he embarrasses his school on live television and goes AWOL for a couple of weeks, heading back to his hometown of Shonan and getting caught up in yet more ridiculous hijinks.

14 Days in Shonan looks like one of those series that can be brutally funny when it wants to be, as evidenced by the bus-jacking that closes out the color pages in this preview. I’ve got high hopes. Look for a full review closer to the book’s release date, but until then, enjoy this exclusive preview.

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