Otokojuku is a private school for juvenile delinquents that were previously expelled from normal schools. At this school, Japanese chivalry is taught through feudal and military fundamentals. Similar to an action film, the classes are overwhelmed by violence. Only those who survive it become true men.
Sakigake Otokojuku is the world's MANLIEST school where students refine their manhood in the most masculine & over the top way possible! That's the gist of it but it can offer more to those who already acquired MANIME tastes. For example if you're a fan of Fist Of The North Star, then Otokojuku pays a huge tribute to the series in terms of action & character designs.
If you're not a fan of masculine series then there might not be much to offer but I'll offer some insight. The story follows the schools newly appointed 1st
years where our main cast consists of Momotaro, Togashi, J, Toramaru, & the comic relief trio Hidemaro, Tazawa & Matsuo. The theme of the show is to become a better person who bear masculine ideologies such as guts, friendship, & tenacity. The beginning of the manga is gag arc where we get to learn of the outrageous training students have to endure such as marching through buildings, doing push ups to avoid getting blazed by flame throwers, boxing with spiked gloves, fight Moby Dick & even play a death battle of rugby.
Quite early on, the series shifts into shonen battles where our main cast fights a rival school & eventually face their third years in mortal combat. Most of the battles don't contain super powers but deliver bizarre martial arts & intense savagery. School spirit has never been so impressive where even the comic relief characters have badass scenes.
The only real flaw to this series are when characters who died make miraculous returns but still manages to deliver those MANLY TEARS.
I highly recommend watching the 34 ep anime first as it features a Kikuchi score (Dragon Ball, Dr Slump) & being done by Toei heavily resembles Fist Of The North Star. It's a shame that the anime stops right before the best arc of the series.
The GREATEST TOURNAMENT ARC in shonen history is found in this manga! From chapter 70 onwards the manga covers a 16 Man VS 16 Man tournament. 16 people per team definitely sounds outrageous & thrilling for a tourny but guess what? The arc doesn't have 2 teams... it has 32 participants each with a team of 16 characters. @_@ That's a lot of fights.
Sakigake!! Otokojuku was one of the first series in the 80s to ride on the hype that Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star) had at the time. However, unlike JoJo's Bizarre Adventure which did the same in it's initial inception, Otokojuku has become an obscurity for the most part in the common era. Whilst I have a fondness for most older titles and anything about manly men doing manly things, there's clear reasons as to why Otokojuku never rose to the same level of popularity as it's idol or peers.
To start off, the plot can range anywhere from decent to poor in it's
quality. The first arc is primarily a gag arc focused on parodying the hyperbolic nature of the testosterone fuelled series at the time. However, it soon transitions into a more typical battle Shonen with occasional comedy, with it constantly focusing on tournament-esque battles where the scale of fighters increases with each arc. Leaving aside a certain level of hypocrisy in mocking the ridiculousness of most action series before fully becoming one itself, the plot isn't executed that well at all. Plot armour is a trope this series is guilty of to the Nth degree, with characters constantly surviving in improbable situations and usually being given a weak excuse to explain such, to the point it's almost as bad as in Bleach. Despite constantly saying the team the main cast are now facing is in a completely different league from the previous one, even weaker, supporting characters are able to put up decent fights and win against their members without any sort of training to explain such a jump in power, as well as new, contrived abilities being thrown in whenever it suits the plot.
On the subject of it's cast, all it's cast consists of cool, manly characters without any sort of depth to them. Whilst they're entertaining to watch, they have little in terms of originality with most being copies of far more fleshed out characters from Hokuto no Ken, nor are even the most exposed ones well developed.
This essentially makes the series' main merit dumb entertainment, which it at least exceeds at very well. The fights are all entertaining due to the absurdity of the abilities and the choreography and deductions being interesting. If just wanting a series about manly men doing manly things, it's one of the best in it's field with constant celebrations of masculine ideals and manly tears with an art style good enough to serve such a purpose of being the discount Hokuto no Ken. However, that also raises the question of why read it when you could read/reread Hokuto no Ken's pre-timeskip material for a far better experience?
Overall, Otokojuku is a decent read if you don't set your standards too high. It isn't as bad as most modern Shonen due to having at least better self-awareness of it's own quality and the manly aspects of it being an aspect surely missed in modern times, though the lack of good writing for it's plot and characters leaving much to be desired. A good read if you're a fan of Hokuto no Ken or all things GAR like myself, or an average/bad read for anyone looking for something substantial.