Saturday, July 07, 2012

GTO 2012 ep 1


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.

Sorimachi gives off a much better sukebe look.

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.

The original Miyabe. Anyone who has seen the original definitely remembers the name because she is so memorable.

2) Casting of Nanako replacement Anko

On par with the original.

3) Classi Onizuka pervert scenes

Though this Onizuka seems more passive and lacks the sukebe look.

The original scene in GTO. I could watch this again and again.

4) Moar eyecandy


Hhhmm, buruma......

5) They did the german from the manga.



WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

1) The casting of Fuyutsuki sensei

Whoever the casting director who hired her needs to be fired. Of all the actresses/gravure idorus in Japan and someone thought she was the best person for the job?

Incomparable.

2) The merging of the bullying and wrecking the wall storylines.

In the original, the bullying storyline belonged to Miyabi. In this one, it was Anko's which is a huge difference because Anko suddenly turns into a nice girl after giving her childhood friend hell. Sure they wrote in a built in excuse but there's a difference between you betrayed me and I will have my revenge and I'm going to strip you, take pictures and extort money from you. The reason why the bullying storyline belongs with Miyabi is because she's evil and takes a much longer road to redemption.


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.

Here Onizuka is fighting at least 5 people. He kicks the guy in white trousers down so we'll assume Onizuka knocks him out.

Grabs this guy in on top of crates and we can see at least 3 baddies still alive down there.

Wraps said baddie's neck with a rope/cable. At this point, I'm thinking 'Fuck! He's gonna actually hang this guy?????'.

Somehow the rope magically switches to the guy's waist and Onizuka swings him down onto the padding. The two guys at the bottom managed to get out of the way.

Onizuka then does a running dropkick to another baddie on top of the crates and they both fall to the ground. That's a 4 metre drop? Onizuka gets up unscathed and everyone is magically not moving. Fuji TV better hire me as the their Vice-President of common sense so shit like this never happens in Japanese tv again.

4) Music

No contest but couldn't they have at least tried?


SUMMARY

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?

8 comments:

bframe5 said...

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think that they should have cast Watabe Gota.

He's at least got the pervert look down pat. ;)

Captain Banana said...

wtf? they've remade GTO?

Got a rating of 15.1 for the first episode, Guess we've got a lot of remakes to look forward to......

Sonnaaaaa~ said...

I couldn't believe I watched this, but I did. I think AKIRA *looks* like Onizuka, and I think Miyabi was well cast too, but I didn't particularly like the rest.

WHY did they get Kuroki Hitomi to be the principal? She's so beautiful and perfect and needs to be spending her time on something else.

I guess I need to re-watch the original GTO, but I have a bad feeling that I had it on VHS or something else. I'm glad that Akanishi Jin was NOT cast as Onizuka or else I wouldn't have watched it at all.

Johannes Krauser II said...

i havent had the chance to see the new one ._.
but id really love to see GTO without moustache
(Akira, get proper shave)
(And uh, actually Sorimachi had kept his moustache rather thick in on of the movie.. ah well)

A.C.E said...

agreed with all ur comments but for me the new Fuyutsuki wasnt that bad either.. yes incomparable with the original cast but she was okay

Anonymous said...

can you give links where you found original episode 1 and remade episode 1? cuz 1 of them i got 1st episode but should watch it another day,and that day i didint found it,but another ''GTO'',not sure which one that was remade or original,but i'd like so see both of them,tnx^^

Akiramike said...

There's a batch torrent on d-addicts.

GreGG said...

Agree about GTO as a perfect entry into doramas but definitely not Love Generation. Are you sure you didn't mean Long Vacation? I watched these dramas during my initial stage of overexcitement about Japanese tv shows. Starting with fantastic GTO that got me hooked I moved on consuming one superfamous dorama after another and mostly loving all of them until I stumbled across Love Generation which almost killed my faith in the greatness of Japanese television.

I hated it so much that I swore to myself not to watch another drama with Takako Matsu ever again as I hated her character the most. But it was not only that. The problem was that all the other dramas that I watched and loved before that felt so much uniquely Japanese to me that I started to believe in uniqueness of Japanese small screen but when I watched Love Generation I saw a typical Latin American soap opera (telenovela) just made on Japanese soil and with Japanese actors. All the Japanese stuff felt completely insignificant and it was basically just a telenovela, in Japanese but still a telenovela. And it wasn't something I was looking for in doramas. In the end I considered it the worst drama of all the dramas I watched during that period.

Afterwards I kinda lost interest altogether and didn't watch any doramas for many years (7-8 perhaps) until recently I rediscovered my long forgotten passion again. So I started watching one drama after another, many of them being rewatchings of the dramas I watched before and loved tremendously (which I knew for sure as I always kept logs of the stuff I watch) but didn't remember much about after all these years. Half of these dramas I loved as much as before and another half didn't produce as much excitement in me this time but I still liked them nevertheless.

But there was one drama that I enjoyed tremendously more than during my first viewing many years before. And it was of course Love Generation. I don't know how to explain that change. Maybe I just got older or maybe just more relaxed about all the soap opera stuff (I actually liked several old telenovelas I watched during my childhood and rewatched recently out of nostalgia) but I really liked the drama since the beginning. The funniest thing is that Takako Matsu's character that I hated the most during first viewing, I liked the most during this one. Actually I think Takako Matsu is the best part of Love Generation. She even outshines Kimura in most scenes. All in all I think the drama has a fantastic first half. During that part I even thought it could become one of my favourite dramas. Unfortunately it kinda loses its pace somewhere in the middle and never gets it back. Additionally some really silly soap-operish stuff starts happening in the second half that really spoils the overall impression.

On the whole it's definitely not as bad as I thought it was but also far from a masterpiece as some like to label it. Just one of decent doramas from mid 90s. And it's absolutely in no way on the same level as almost perfect in all the aspects Long Vacation. Plus another thing that also makes it hard to recommend as a possible entry into the world of Japanese dramas is that LG feels terribly aged from start to finish. If Long Vacation feels absolutely fresh even now and it's almost impossible to believe how old it really is, with LG you really feel all its years and even more. I'd even say that Tokyo Love Story feels much fresher in all the aspects despite being 6 years older than LG. So I would never recommend it to anyone starting their journey into the world of doramas with Love Generation. They'd better stay away from it until they take a real liking of the doramas of 90s and decide to get deeper into them. Otherwise they really risk to kill the interest in Jdrama for a very long time if not forever.