14 Days in Shonan, Volume 1
By Tohru Fujisawa
(Vertical, Paperback, 9781932234886, 200pp.)
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
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After guiding the infamous Tokyo Kissho Academy through a crash-course of his unique brand of life-lessons, a battered and bruised Eikichi Onizuka takes a well-deserved trip to his hometown of sorts, a typically quiet surfers paradise called Shonan. Unfortunately, with child neglect and abuse becoming a global phenomenon the self-proclaimed GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) quickly finds himself back in the saddle for what he hopes is a painless two-week long field trip with some teens in need. And while Onizuka's curriculum may not rely on the reading, writing and arithmetic that is common in most classrooms, he has more than a few good lessons in personal development, fisticuffs and fun to teach a new generation of trouble teens.
Born in 1967, Tohru Fujisawa is a veteran Japanese comic artist and multimillion unit seller. Best known globally for his international sensation Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO), Fujisawa was awarded the 22nd Kodansha Comic Award in 1998 for his work on the hit series. The GTO property would go on to inspire two animated TV series and an internationally distributed live action TV series by the same name. Since GTO, Fujisawa has gone on to thirteen more comic series, with four of those properties (TOKKO, Rose Hip Rose, Rose Hip Zero and Shonan Junai-gumi) landing on American shores. At 44 the Hokkaido native continues to be one of the most beloved manga artists of this generation.
"Cracking open Vertical Inc.'s release of GTO: 14 Days in Shonan brought back a lot of manga memories... Most importantly, it reminded me why I used to love GTO so much." - Otaku USA Magazine
“If I had to boil it down to a high concept, I’d probably say that GTO is about believing in yourself enough to have a good time in life. Fujisawa does a pretty good job balancing the more saccharine elements of the series with the knock-down, drag-out, somewhat perverted jokes. It’s clearly a comedy, but when it takes a turn into drama, it doesn’t feel unnatural. 14 Days in Shonan looks like one of those series that can be brutally funny when it wants to be…I’ve got high hopes.”
“While I’ve largely fallen out of manga for a number of reasons, there are certain things that will always draw me back. Discovering that the man behind Great Teacher Onizuka decided to do another series focusing on the character is definitely one of them… The opening volume makes things well connected to the original and adjusts to the new situation with ease in a way that doesn’t detract or impact what has come before… This is a ride I am completely enthused about.”
“I thought I was done with Great Teacher Onizuka. All throughout college, I plowed my way through the series… All was well and good, until just the other day, when Vertical dropped the first volume of Great Teacher Onizuka: 14 Days in Shonan in my mailbox… Suffice to say, the first chapter grabbed me almost immediately. It was the same Great Teacher Onizuka humor I remember, and most importantly, I reacted the same to it as I had when I was stuck in my college dorm on those long Syracuse winter nights.”
“As a character explicitly points out, it’s painfully evident that parental selfishness has given [these teens] severe reason to distrust adults and that they’re not about to give Onizuka a second chance if he lets them down. As a result, the manga is dealing with the same Onizuka, but watching him walk a much narrower tight rope… It’s intriguing to consider how the manga might react to the new twist in its careful balance act and how 14 Days might consequently develop in subtly different ways than the original.”
—Ain’t it Cool News
“I have never read a GTO comic before this, so the prospect of reading what amounts to a spin-off was a bit intimidating. Luckily the premise is pretty simple… I liken this book to Columbo. Anyone who has ever watched a Columbo episode knows that Columbo is going to solve the case. The real pleasure comes from seeing how the bumbling detective puts it all together… The figures are strong and confident, and the backgrounds are stunning.”
—Stumptown Trade Review
“If one were to travel into the universe of GTO: 14 Days in Shonan and look up Badass on Wikipedia, I would find the article deficient if a picture of Eikichi Onizuka didn’t appear as the illustration of choice on that page… I walked into GTO:14DiS with admittedly hazy memories of the original story—no plot specifics, just a general understanding of the overall storyline. It took only a few pages to get everything straight.”
“I loved it… The most surprising thing about 14 Days in Shonan is its ability to address serious social problems without devolving into an Afterschool Special. The hand-to-hand combat and barrage of condom jokes helps mitigate against didacticism, to be sure, but Fujisawa is skillful enough to make the students’ personal troubles a meaningful—and sometimes moving—part of the story, inspiring Onizuka to new heights of creativity (and silliness) in his efforts to reach them. Highly recommended.”
—The Manga Critic