by AishwaryaMV & OldAnimeLady, August 11, 2019

Well, we decided to do a comparison article for Great Teacher Onizuka otherwise known as GTO. Based on a manga series written and illustrated by Tooru Fujisawa, it was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Magazine from January 1997 to February 2002. The story focuses on 22-year-old ex-bōsōzoku member Eikichi Onizuka, who becomes a teacher at a private middle school, Holy Forest Academy, in Tokyo, Japan. It is a continuation of Tooru Fujisawa's earlier manga series Shonan Junai Gumi (lit. "Shōnan True Love Group") and Bad Company, both of which focus on the life of Onizuka before becoming a teacher.  (Wikipedia)

So let's go ahead and compare the original and the remake, shall we?!

Male Lead

Sorimachi Takashi (1998)Akira (2012)

AMV: So basically, the male lead is an amazing teacher who gives important life lessons instead of just going by the book, and he does it the hard way. According to me, Sorimachi nailed Onizuka in every way possible. He portrayed Onizuka's expressions, passion for teaching, callousness towards other teachers and his love for Fuyutsuki Sensei perfectly. On the other hand, I felt Akira looked more like a delinquent than a teacher or a respectable person. They just tried too hard to make him fit. 

He was like, "Let me overact and give the audience an absolute bore of a remake! Sounds fun right?" Trust me.               

OAL: I actually liked both but Sorimachi had more balls. Can I say that?... No?... Okay. Umm,  his machismo wasn't just for show. I mean the truck scene was just so great and being super awkward at the whole romance thing like cringe-worthy awkward, that it made it endearing.  He certainly believed his own bullsh*t  hype.  His use of a condom as a romantic token of love is extremely unique. 

 Akira was better with the kids' angle of it.  The tough on the outside but the heart of gold squishiness. There is no squishy in the 1998 version.

Female Lead

Matsushima Nanako (1998)Takimoto Miori (2012)

AMV: I mean seriously! Have you seen Matsushima Nanako's grace!? She's so smooth and her voice is so feminine! No one can do elegance like her! She did an awesome job and will always be known as our dear Fuyutsuki Sensei! Her dialogue "I'll be your homeroom teacher from today, morons!" at the end was hilarious XD.  

I felt they should have taken someone more feminine for the 2012 version. Takimoto is a good actress but she simply doesn't fit here.  Someone like Takeuchi Yuko, Ishihara Satomi or Nanao should've done the job better I think. Version 2012 Fuyutsuki was more boyish. I'm sure OAL agrees right?

OAL:  Honestly I remember nothing of FL in 2012 version. What I do remember is Matsushima trying so hard not to fall in love Sorimachi's Onizuka and failing.  And her learning from him.

Story Opinions

AMV: The story was the same in both the versions.  The teacher tackles one or two students and their parents per episode and teaches them very important stuff. His popularity is not liked by the other teachers. But in the 1998 version, the cast and the acting was more organic and had a real feel to it. It compelled me to reciprocate Onizuka's emotions throughout. I felt that I had known him for a long time after completing the show. 

The 2012 version was like it was created with people who had too much time on their hands with no original script to make a J-drama.  Yeah, yeah, I know I'm being hard on this one (Hard? Too hard I'd hear), but I felt no one was properly cast. Especially, Kawaguchi Haruna cannot be Aizawa Miyabi. She can't be so mean or evil like her. (Original Hanadan J-drama and Hanakimi fans give me a cheer!)

OAL:  I think both told the story well, the 2012 version giving us the lunch lady principal, the 1998 version did not have, and the kids' stories were better fleshed out and merged together.  But, the 1998 version is far superior in storytelling, and a J drama style love story.  If you like High & Low, GTO 2012 has that Mugen gangster feel.

Overall Score and Commentary

AMV : 
1998 version
Overall Rating: 10/10! 
This drama is one of the most epic dramas I've ever seen and probably you'll feel that way too! I've learned a lot from it! Thank you Onizuka Sensei!

2012 version
Overall rating: Should I even give this a 1??
If you've seen the original, don't even bother clicking on the GTO 2012 link. I recommend not to. Watch only if you're a huge fan of someone in the cast.


1998 version...I gave it a 9 it has chutzpah!

2012 version I gave an 8 ... principal lunch lady won my heart.

OAL: Please pardon AMV for her critical stuff :P

We'd love to hear what you thought about this article, and also how would you compare the two! Also which 2 J-dramas would you like to compare next?

gto sorimachi takashi akira matsushima nanako takimoto miori