An unorthodox teacher attempting to teach children about the value of friendship over studying is a far cry from any original premise, however, Great Teacher Onizuka isn’t attempting to be anything revolutionary. GTO is quite simply, a what-if scenario.
What if your teacher tried to understand your internal struggles? What if he was approachable and relatable? What if he tried his best to ensure your school life was full of happy memories so that when you’re older, you can look back and say, “Those were the happiest moments in my life.”
Eikichi Onizuka, much like the standard shounen protagonist, manages to teach important and valuable lessons about life while also being an idiotic and perverted goofball. He may appear to be quite careless and absent-minded but when it counts, he is the most dependable teacher to have by your side. Students are depicted as real human beings with real problems rather than ungrateful “brats” acting out their selfish desires.
This is only the tip of the iceberg because while GTO is able to craft very real and intricate personalities, it’s also an unadulterated comedic gold. The expectation vs reality parallel between Onizuka’s perverted fantasies and reality make some of the most hilarious moments in the anime. Not to mention his pure stupidity allows troublesome students to play countless pranks on him.