Eikichi Onizuka and Ryuji Danma are members of infamous biker duo, the Oni Baku. When not out riding around, they can be found in school, trying to pick up young women. This is the story of the young Onizuka, who would later become the greatest teacher in Japan, and his partner Ryuji in their quest to lose their virginity and reach maturity.
They are widely feared bosozoku, and are known for their tenacity and viciousness in a fight. However, this lifestyle does not exactly endear them to the opposite gender, so they decide to change their ways. However, this is easier said than done.
I am a huge fan of the Great Teacher Onizuka manga and anime, so I knew I had to check this show out. Shonan Junai Gumi is actually a prequel to the popular GTO, but not nearly as well known. It is a look into the life of Onizuka and his friend Ryuji back in high school, when they were known as the feared biker duo, Oni-Baku. Filled with action, fighting, and humor, this show is a great way for GTO fans to get a bit more Onizuka, and give those new to the series their first taste of this great character.
Story – 6 –
The story starts out somewhat promising. Two former delinquents try to turn their lives around and give up their old ways … in order to get laid. Ok well, maybe it wasn’t that promising, but I thought seeing two former gang members try to shed that image, regardless of the reason, could be pretty interesting. Unfortunately, this story line lasts about 15 minutes and then the show devolves into a “bad guy of the week” style action show. This plot, while simple, does seem to work out pretty well as long as they stick to the action and comedy. However, SJG occasionally takes a shot at injecting some drama into the plot, but it usually wasn’t very believable. The pacing throughout this show is pretty strange. At times it feels like they accidentally left something out, which causes the show to get a bit confusing at times.
Animation – 7 – SJG is about 14 years old now, which is why I will try not judge it too harshly. Comparing it to the anime we watch now it looks terrible, but I assume at the time it was actually pretty good. For the most part the character designs are pretty nice, but some characters look very similar and are hard to tell apart. Also a few characters look drastically different from the first episode to later ones, which is a little strange. There are a lot of exaggerated facial expressions that sometimes add to the humor, but by the end kind of got annoying. As to be expected from an old anime the fluidity of motion is pretty poor. This is kind of annoying since this is an action show, and a lot of the fights were littered with stills and looped animation.
Sound – 6 – This was a pretty disappointing showing for most of the sound aspects. One of the biggest problems was that there was no opening song. A good opening can really get you pumped up for the episode, so to not ever see one felt very strange. I don’t care too much about ending themes, but for the people that do, this one was pretty bad. The background music was also pretty weak and most of it sounded like it had been taken right out of an NES game. The voice actors actually did a pretty good job, but did not live up to their counterparts from GTO. Unfortunately there is no dub of this show, so those hoping to see more of Steve Blum’s great portrayal of Onizuka will be disappointed.
Character – 7 – SJG revolves around two characters, Eikichi Onizuka and Ryuji Danma. Both of these characters are very similar. Like most shounen action characters, they value friendship and helping out those in need. They love to fight and are great at it. The only thing they are more interested in than fighting, is sex. Throughout most of this series they are always looking for opportunities to score. For those of you that have seen the sequel, you might be a little disappointed in Onizuka’s younger self. He isn’t as funny, and the depth he showed in GTO when dealing with his students, just isn’t there in SJG. He does make up for this a bit though, because he is even more of a badass in this show. Since we got very little development of Onizuka’s character in GTO, I figured we would get to see it here in the prequel. Once again though, there is very little change in Onizuka from beginning to end. Ryuji, on the other hand, actually takes a step in the right direction and starts to get some development. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last too long though, and by the end of the show he is right back where he started.
Entertainment – 8 – Since I watched and loved GTO before I saw this, I came into it with very high expectations. While it did not live up to the standards set in GTO, it was still an entertaining show to watch. The humor was not quite as good as I was expecting, but the action and fights were very good. It was a lot of fun seeing Onizuka and Danma together kicking some ass. These five episodes went by very quickly, and I’m certainly glad that I gave this show a try.
Overall – 7 – This show is certainly lacking in some technical aspects, but it does make up for it with entertainment. Any big GTO fan should definitely check this out as it delivers more of the over the top action and humor that make Onizuka so great. If you aren’t familiar with this series, but enjoy a good action show, then I would suggest you give this a try.
[b]Shonan Junai Gumi![/b]
The similarities between Shonan Junai Gumi! and Kyou Kara Ore Wa are high, they start in the same way but with different goals from eachother while in KKOW we have our protagonist changing their hair style to start off as delinquents in their new high school, the main leads from Shonan J.G. start the same way but they want to leave the delinquent life behind and start to date girls and loose their virginity but that's not the only similarity, the characters looks identical and have the same personalities, maybe not that much Ryuji but people can say Shonan is a copy of
KKOW but copy or not i don't like to compare, so this was very good to my eyes.
This is a comedy with a story, a good one but incomplete, so i liked the way the comedy was brought and how their past came back to ruin their plans to hit on girls and having a girlfriend, although Ryuji finds love, he will lose it and that will change him a little but he always will hit on girls with Eikichi, they will face problems against other schools delinquents or even against the Yakuza or street thugs, their old gang past and even against one beautiful teacher named Nao Kadena and she uses her curves to make the students study hard so she can make money for personal reasons; The ending was incomplete, what happened after Eikichi made Nao feel well by having a race with her the second time? i wanna know, what will happen? why Ryuji wasn't at the end? why was this short? who knows (manga readers do).
[b][u]Art & Animation[/u][/b]
The art style was very good, the animation too, the characters design is very good despite having a similar feel to KKOW, the background art style is good.
The sound was good, the music was fine not as enjoyable as i thought it would be and maybe at times weird, the VA was very good, no OP or ED so it was good in general for the VA.
Very good characters, Eikichi was really well made, Ryuji too, well i like delinquent characters so maybe that's a big reason for me to like them and because they are funny.
-Eikichi Onizuka is a goofter that only cares about getting a girlfriend no matter what the consequences are, even if he didn't knew the consequences beforehand but there's a side of him that will bring the best of him, he cares about his friends and even more for Ryuji.
-Ryuji Danma is like Eikichi but sometimes he's the more serious from the two and is more lucky with women and at the same time not, because he will loose it and will be more serious but at the same time a goof that still wants to find somebody for himself.
Then we have more interesting characters like the other gang members like Saejima even his partner Kamata who was an idiot in every aspect and Makoto always having something to say about how to get girls even Ryuji's love interests Ayumi and Nagisa, tho Nagisa's character was really flawed, somehow with art of magic a tatto appeared in her back when her other personality takes over, it was dumb, this is one of the reasons i didn't gave it a 9, because that was unexplainable, made no sense but this is a comedy and didn't let the that bother me that much but it was stupid, and Nao Kadena was a good characters with reasonable behaviour for what she does.
At the end i had a very good enjoyment from this, it was short and i think the ending is incomplete and i wish it had a continuation from that ending scene and to know what happens to that story.
Based on the manga by Fujisawa Tooru, Shounan Junai Gumi, also known as GTO The Early Years in America tells the high school days of Onizuka Eikichi and Danma Ryuji when they were the infamous and (the nearly) invincible duo known as the Onibaku. Initially, the Onibaku leave their school to transfer to a new one in hopes of starting fresh and abandoning their delinquent ways in the ultimate hope of teenage conquest, to get laid. To help in their attempt at reformation, they get part-time jobs at the beach and there they meet two young ladies.
Unfortunately, circumstances make them revert back to their
brawling habits and to make things worse, those two young lades happen to be teachers at their new school. So after the initial events in the first episode, the Onibaku figure fuck it, stay as delinquents, but still try to get laid and make it through high school.
In addition, the series also introduces Saejima Toshiyuki, who would later become a corrupt beat cop in GTO as well as a small number of characters who will be re-introduced in GTO later on.
As for the story itself, this came out during a period when stories of delinquency such as Bebop High School and Slam Dunk were also big. Like those respective titles, Shounan Junai Gumi has comedy, action, and shares life lessons. Like in GTO, a teenage Onizuka also demonstrates that he can be a psycho but he still has principles. Ryuji is also the more serious of the two as usual. Saejima is still a psycho but more of a violent one as opposed to a perverted one. Most of the focus is the bond and friendship between Onizuka and Ryuji. Their friendship will be tested here and there but they are always there for each other. The show also demonstrates how they compare and contrast and despite that, Onizuka and Ryuji respect each other’s differences. The cast slowly expands beyond Saejima and you also learn about some other friends and other incidents that were also revisited in the Shounan Junai Gumi prequel, Bad Company.
The episodes are mostly episodic but all bring something different. You also get to see Onizuka’s mother and you learn about his past. Unfortunately, this series ended sometime the manga was ending so the anime does feel incomplete like the GTO one so reading the manga will give you a more full circle story. Maybe it will show how him and Ryuji ended up in Tokyo since by the beginning of GTO, it takes place six years after Shounan Junai Gumi. But it is nice to see how GTO was like in his teenage years. In some ways, he has grown up and has gotten wiser by the events of GTO, but many of his silly qualities are still there. As well as Ryuji being the more serious one. And I felt Saejima since Shounan Junai Gumi shows a different side of crazy. In the end, they still don’t get laid as you know in GTO but the cast just expands and all characters do serve a distinct function. It is mostly story driven but some of the stories here and there are formulaic and repetitive but are still diverse.
The character design is pretty much faithful to the manga and the hairstyle Onizuka has is what he had in the beginning of the GTO manga anyway. If your familiarity with GTO is just the anime, then I guess his hairstyle in this one is a fresh change though I believe in flash backs and old pictures in the show, it does show his old hair style anyway. The character design is diverse. Fujisawa knows how to draw beauty and ugliness and Onizuka’s strange faces are in this anime but only a small number of times in comparison to GTO.
The motorcycle scenes work and the action is both violent and comedic. Even though Onizuka is supposed to have a karate background, he is very wild with his fighting but his karate background is not mentioned in this anime. Maybe it was in the manga but I haven’t read it in a long time. But Onizuka in this anime is a teenager and he is more “human” in terms of his tolerance to pain to how he is in GTO, but in the GTO manga, they at least gave him a limit to his pain tolerance.
The series mostly deals with real life esque issues so CG or whatever isn’t expected or necessary. As pure animation, it just works. Granted the age makes it feel more rough compared to today’s anime but because it is about juvenile delinquency, I think it reflects the mood more.
A soundtrack is virtually non-existant in this series. No opening or ending theme songs. Nothing as energetic as Driver’s High or Hitori no you which makes up a great fraction of the reason why I loved GTO. There is background music, but it is rather generic to the series and mood. But I always love anime because sometimes they get awesome bands like L’arc~en~ciel to do opening songs.
As for the voice acting, unfortunately, Takagi Wataru does not voice Onizuka in the prequel. I really loved his performance in GTO and perfectly nailed the character. Onizuka is played by Futamata Issei, the voice of Godai Yusuke in Maison Ikkoku, Urabe Kosetsu in Code Geass, Higuchi Kyosuke in Death Note, and Urauashima in Yuu Yuu Hakusho. He shows he can play lecherous characters and have a comedic role. He does the tough guy act in his own way as well. But I can see how this performance did have an influence on Takagi Wataru’s approach. He enunciates his words and his tone and pace are still consistent.
Ryuji is played by Hori Hideyuki, to me, THE voice of Ikki in Saint Seiya, my favorite character in that series. He is a good contrast to Onizuka who has a softer voice and more calm. But other famous seiyuus will later take roles in this anime such as Hayashibara Megumi, as the voice of Nagisa, Ryuji’s girlfriend and still girlfriend in GTO. And she is also famous as the voice of Rei in Evangelion and female Ranma. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. But anyway, the voice cast is pretty good but the nonexistent music is not that much of a hindrance to the show.
To me, Shounan Junai Gumi is something that could have been better like a good percentage of many anime out there if it followed the manga to a T. Fujisawa makes excellent manga, but unfortunately, the animes in comparison are rather feel incomplete but not necessarily empty. Voice acting and music does bring a distinct life to it. The voice actors bring more punch to the comedy and the drama and the cast alone makes it worth watching. And just seeing a young Onizuka even at a limited capacity does have its charms. I say this anime is more for hardcore fans of the GTO franchise.
The prequel to Great teacher Onizuka a truly amazing series to precead. I watched GTO first and i know many people will do the same since this title is lesser known. Hopefully i can give you a few reasons to pick up this exciting prequel.
When i picked up Shonan Junai Gumi i was not sure what to expect considering the structure of GTO i had wondered if it would follow a similar pattern or would it be totally original in itself. It turned out to follow a similar yet different structure. Following Onizuka on his various journeys riding motorcycles and beaten up punks.
keeps in the same sense as the parent series with lots of innuendo and erotic themes. I actually say this series has more of a risky atmosphere and adult themes. It also has slightly more violence debatably but watching a couple guys beat down 4 dozen gangsters is pretty rough.The humor tho crude as it may be is just so Onizuka in essence i don't think anyone would be dissapointed.
The show focuses only on Onizuka and Ryuugi the rest of the cast is all secondary and supporting cast and none of them really continue into GTO. The most part the characters are nearly the exact same except Ryuugi is actually a hands on and important character. After watching this i always wondered why he wasn't a more important character in the sequel. With a few unqiue cast members to support the small plot involved in this short OVA you dont really gain much attachment till the very last episode when you meet a memorable character.
Honestly i always wanted more GTO and this gave me a bit more. Even though this anime tends to act like a immature version of GTO thats exactly what its supposed to be. Its Exciting,humerous and entertaining and though its not its succesor it will always be noteworthy in the franchise so i suggest watching it.