GTO Paradise Lost Volume 1 Review
GTO Paradise Lost:
Reviewed by: Linny
Synopsis: GTO Paradise Lost is a side story to a popular series named GTO or Great Teacher Onizuka that tells the tale of an ex-delinquent turned school teacher, Eikichi Onizuka. He’s a man with a less than orthodox approach to teaching thanks to his past, and one who believes in teaching life lessons over focussing solely on school curriculum. Paradise Lost starts with him in prison, and the reader gets to find out how and why his latest stint as teacher to Kissho Academy’s celebrity filled Class G landed him in jail.
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
For those unaware, GTO is a companion story to the main series named Great Teacher Onizuka which is all about our main protagonist, EIkichi Onizuka. To avoid spoilers for the main story or for those well familiar with GTO, please skip to the next paragraph but for those who would prefer some enlightenment, here’s a short summary of the main storyline. Eikichi Onizuka used to a 22 year old virgin and member of a bike gang. However, when his attempt to lose his virginity to a school girl is ruined by her love for her unattractive and balding school teacher, Onizuka decides that becoming a teacher himself would lead to him having similar charisma and being able to romance and sleep with pretty school girls. He manages to scrape through and get a teaching degree but once he actually embarks on a teaching career, he finds himself more interested and invested in the general happiness, character development and wellbeing of his student rather than taking advantage of and bedding innocent schoolgirls. GTO Paradise Lost then tells the story of his experience with another batch of students after he is assigned to them as a last resort in hopes that he will fix the issues they have been causing.
First off, GTO Paradise Lost is NOT a series for more pure minds or young eyes. It has a lot of mature content which isn’t explicit but can be considered nonetheless inappropriate for certain audiences. For example, the series has lots of sexual jokes and there’s also the fact that our protagonist is often fantasizing about marrying and having sexual relations with a pretty and willing female student. In Japanese or atleast anime culture, it seems common to have tales of female students falling for and marrying their teacher after graduating but in western culture, such an incident would raise many an eyebrow. It’s made clear that his thoughts of landing a wife fresh out of highschool is but a mere fantasy and it’s also made explicitly clear that he wants one that is of legal age. There’s also a certain amount of talk and depiction of women in compromising positions that should ensure that you do not want to read this manga in public.
The premise itself might be a bit familiar to readers, as we read about this former delinquent and raging pervert who still manages to have a heart of gold in the bigger scheme of things. The story and its protagonist are both somewhat crude and classless, but both display genuine heart as you continue reading. As is the case with stories like this, there is of course a co-worker who is extremely against our golden hearted protagonist and is hellbent on seeing him usurped and fired from his current position while everyone else either turns a blind eye to his immature antics or are loyal to the protagonist after he helps them in their time of trouble.
And as one would assume, being assigned to a troubled class, his new students are extremely against him right from the start thanks to his brash manner and some very inflated egos on some of his students. There’s mention that they’ve driven past teachers and classmates into despair with their antics and this makes the reader curious about exactly what went down in the past. It’s also hilarious to watch the students and Onizuka basically declare war on each other and resort to devious and even childish pranks on each other. While the crude jokes and pranks may help lighten the mood with comedy, there’s also a clear and present dark tone throughout the first volume. From the fact that Onizuka is in prison currently to the fact that the story has young girls threatening older women with box cutter knives.
When it comes to the art, the artist does a great job of drawing some extremely bizarre reaction faces that are both attention grabbing and rib-tickling. There is a certain dated look to the art in general though as male bodies are often drawn rather square and massive while all the ‘pretty’ female students look somewhat similar with their hairstyles being their most distinguishing features. As a comedy, Onizuka’s expressions in reaction to certain situations work really well and help to sell the story as a whole.
As this review is limited to only the first volume of the series, here’s why you should or shouldn’t give this series a try based on that volume alone. GTO Paradise Lost is definitely for those of you who enjoy crude humour and ex delinquents with a heart of gold storyline especially as GTO is one of the series that helped that trope become extremely popular and well known and could thus be considered a classic in that regard. While this is a side story, it is still perfectly approachable for all readers, even if you have never heard of the original. For those of you that enjoy seeing snobby and bratty teenagers brought down a peg or two, Paradise Lost will have you roaring with delight as you watch egotistical teenage idols and celebs embarrassed and receiving retaliation for their mean actions for the first time in their lives. Lastly, for those of you rushing to label this as nothing more than pure lewdness, there is definitely some solid comedy and story to be found here and saves it from ever being labelled as pure exploitive content. However, if you are extremely uncomfortable with sexual content or do not find humour in sexual jokes, I would advise that you stay away.