The original GTO dorama is one of the greatest doramas ever. If you want to introduce anyone to jdoramas, GTO would be a good entry point along with Love Generation. GTO is a dorama where all the right elements just somehow got into place: Sorimachi Takashi's cool aura and chemistry with the lovely Matsushima Nanako, a bevy of young actors playing the students who are really good, very funny comedy and great music. It was one show where not adhering too much to the source material turned out to be a good thing but the dorama special and movie proved that the dorama series was truly lightning in a bottle.
14 years on, someone decided it would be a great idea to remake/reboot a perfect dorama series. To me, if you want to remake something, it better have a damn good story that you can reinterpret. GTO doesn't. Its straight forward and has been copied over and over and over again. It is the archetype former yakuza/biker/violent past becoming a teacher with in a school where everyone is useless and the teacher changes things with unconventional teaching, usually involving fighting.
So first off, this is not even going to touch the original GTO. I'd be happy if it could but let's be realistic here. I cleared my mind of all expectations and thought to myself that as long as it doesn't suck and is watchable I will be happy.
WHAT I LIKED:
1) The casting of Miyabi
Very important character in series because she's the main bitch villain and has to be entertaining. She has the potential to be as good as the original Miyabi.
2) Casting of Nanako replacement Anko
3) Classi Onizuka pervert scenes
4) Moar eyecandy
5) They did the german from the manga.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
1) The casting of Fuyutsuki sensei
2) The merging of the bullying and wrecking the wall storylines.
The second problem with merging storylines is that we end up having a stupid monologue she's bloody making excuses for 5 minutes for bullying. Woe is me. In the original, Nanako is makes dinner for Onizuka and starts talking about her family. Rule no.1 of scriptwriting: Show not tell. If you have to tell, tell it in context. In the original, Onizuka extablishes a relationship with Nanako before helping her out. In this one, the Onizuka's relationship is with the kid in the Oguri Shun role. In the original, what Nanako did was more mischievous. In this one, she paid Yakuza to help her and engaged in extreme bullying.
Sure, there are plenty of stories from the manga to tell but that also means there's no need to pack so much into one episode when it doesn't make sense. In the original dorama, the wall wrecking scene is so lame and stupid but somehow so cool. In this remake, this new GTO fellow just doesn't make it work. I blame the director for full camera view which was his right foot kicking up everytime he swings the hammer. Onizuka is suppose to be super cool and the above just looks so lame.....
I don't see Sorimachi kicking his leg up. Another huge difference from the original is that in the original, Onizuka doesn't give a stupid sermon while destroying the wall. Its just the piano version of Poison running in the background and the reaction shots. In the end, Onizuka tells Nanako, "Next is up to you". Simple and powerful.
3) Onizuka having two supporting guys who are getting too much screentime.
This screams to me of the producers thinking this GTO needs help cause he can't carry this dorama by himself. I'd rather watch this Onizuka fail by himself rather than a GTO and friends dorama.
4) Stupid generic warehouse fight scene.
No contest but couldn't they have at least tried?
Its watchable but the shadow of the original looms so large over this. I've seen original maybe 5 or 6 times, and taking screencaps of the original just makes me want to rewatch it. I'm not going to critisize Akira cause he's not Sorimachi. Comparing both makes me realise that the original GTO was great not just because of Sorimachi's screen presence. Every other element of it was flawless. Why waste your time watching a pale imitation of perfection?