If you’re not busy living, you’re busy dying #TwelveMoments #5

The 12 Days of Anime project is CCY’s brainchild and the only way to celebrate the twelve chibis of Christmas!

Great Teacher Onizuka – home of the psycho females.


I don’t know if the original creator, Tohru Fujisawa, had issues with women growing up, but GTO is home to some of the most cruel and psychotic women I’ve ever seen. Sure, some of the guys give Great Teacher Onizuka issues, but they’re more in the vein of hijinks and pranks, whereas the girls are guilty of mental and physical torture. Chief among them is Urumi Kanzaki, who no doubt would be a stunner, if GTO didn’t look like it was drawn back in the 70s.

Combine sociopathic tendencies with a genius intellect, and an extreme hatred of teachers and authority figures, and you wonder how Onizuka would eventually turn her. Actually, that’s half the fun in the show, trying to see how Onizuka uses his street smarts to flip the script against these miniature criminals to turn them away from a life of cartoonish villainy. Whether it’s stripping girls down to their underwear and spanking them or leaving them to face the wrath from a band of thugs, somehow he finds a way to get one step ahead.

But flipping the script on Kanzaki was probably his most daring and exciting event, with him deciding to play chicken with his bike and a half bridge built to nowhere. Kanzaki dares him to drive straight off the bridge, absolutely damn sure that he wouldn’t. But this is Onizuka, the Evil Knievil of schoolteachers. So when he goes off and the two start falling to their death, Kanzaki finally realizes that if you’re not busy living, you’re busy dying. And actually what’s most striking about this scene is the difference between the Japanese and English voiceover. Kotono Mitsuishi gives a tremendous performance and her blood curdling scream just sends shivers down your spine. But Michelle Ruff makes it sound like Kanzaki is slowly falling down the stairs. It’s just so underwhelming that I can’t imagine what direction she was given, because I’ve heard her in other roles, and I think she’s not bad. But if you were watching the dubbed vs. subbed version, I think the impact of this scene would’ve been dramatically different on you. And that’s the most disappointing part about it all. A lot of times, the dub voices don’t seem to fit the characters well, but I can live with it sounding different than what I picture in my head. But the performance? The performance has to be there. It has to hit the mark. It’s when it doesn’t that you lose so much in translation.

But still, Kanzaki falling off a bridge, in Japanese. Spine tingling stuff.

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