Ever since Alexei talked this up on the Vice Pit, I’ve been dying to watch it for myself. The prospect of a show absurdly cranking up the familiar Tough Teacher formula of TO SIR WITH LOVE, DANGEROUS MINDS, et al, is impossible to resist. The scenes just write themselves. All you have to do is close your eyes and picture this ex-biker karate champion showing the punks in his classroom who the real tough guy is...
Well, that gratification of that desire was a little delayed. For some reason, the show hasn’t been available on any legal streaming services. Only the live-action show -- and who wants to watch that?
Needless to say, I hopped into action as soon as I saw GTO listed on CrunchyRoll and… then got an immediate possible answer for why the series hasn't been available. I suppose it should’ve been obvious, but I definitely wasn’t expecting the first episode to revolve around GTO creeping on his students, and constantly calculating how old he can be and still get away with dating 16-year-olds. Yes yes yes… I’m aware that the age of consent is lower in Japan. It’s still weird to open the show with GTO getting an eyeful of some upskirt at the mall while he’s making the most lemon-squeezy O-Face ever animated.
I suppose the cultural comedy differences extend beyond that. Once our boy gets around to throwing some street justice on the punks in his classroom, it isn’t well-timed slapstick, like him just backhanding some chud down into his desk. It’s a really obfuscating gag where he calls his biker buddies in to… tie them up? It also stretches credulity a little that this big badass would just let a bunch of kids get away with photos of him in a compromising position while they’re still in his living room.
I'm sure GTO goes through a hilarious character arc after this. Maybe I just had too much time to plot my own version of this premise. I’m not so stoked to check out the rest of the series, now, though.
Watch this pilot and decide for yourself.