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The third volume of Toru Fujisawa’s Great Teacher Onizuka: 14 Days in Shonan is far from a letdown for fans of the original manga or anime series. Although the manga’s humor would fare far better in animation form, the manga does a decent job of incorporating various drawing techniques to show the comic movement and a variety of fonts to convey different emotions and tone of voice.
In the beginning, this volume of GTO seems to be one that is all about the sentimental side of Onizuka and how he has helped a young lady get in touch with her father, but then it takes quite a turn. The manga panels quickly change from a daughter tearfully hugging her long absent father to the rough and tough middle school teacher, Onizuka, trying to lose his virginity at the age of 22.
After a while, it seems that sexual comedy will be the basis of the rest of the novel, but when a few of the children that Onizuka is helping to look after in a group home appear, drama ensues that is more than bleeding noses, perverted older men, and innuendo. Thankfully, the excursions of troublesome middle school kids are something Onizuka has a great deal of experience handling. While many of the characters in the manga at first appear to doubt the reality of someone of Onizuka’s yakuza-like appearance being a legitimate teacher, his thuggish past is what makes him great at protecting the people he comes into contact with.
The one thing that always seems to get in Onizuka’s way are the ladies. While trying to keep one of his youngsters in line he is easily tricked by the boy yelling out that a rather buxom lady is near and loses track of the kid. Beautiful ladies not only hinder his performance while he is trying to be responsible, they also cause difficulties in his attempt to get in a relationship with other women.
Although single and trying to work his way into the life of the adorable Ayame that he helps run the group home known as the White Swan, Onizuka starts to remember Ayame talking about another female worker that was more well-endowed then herself. The fact that he remembers this when Ayame is drunk and fallen asleep may just be a coincidence, but it conveniently places her out of sight when the other woman comes back to the home. Adding further to Onizuka’s problems is the realization that this new woman seems rather familiar and when she realizes who he is she does not give him an easy time.
The women in this novel present obstacles to Onizuka, but they also present some to the reader, too. The names are rather easy to differentiate and remember, but the character design is far too similar. If this manga were an anime than it would be easy to tell the difference because of the coloring of the hair, as well as the different voices. In the manga the main difference is hair length and clothing, but these are not easily differentiated unless readers are playing close attention. Aside from this, volume 3 is an enjoyable read that will leave readers wondering how Onizuka in the next installment will solve his women problems and help the troubled children that live with him.