Shonan Junai Gumi: Finally, A Story I Can Relate To

Eikichi Onizuka and Ryuji Danma are the deadly duo, Oni-Baku (Demon Explosion), with the sole mission of losing their virginities. As they turn away from the gang life to accomplish this, old enemies resurface to haunt them, and new ones appear to take their fame. Before taking the women, Oni-Baku must first show their adversaries exactly who is the baddest in Shonan Beach.
Ekichi Onizuka and Ryuji Danma are members of infamous biker gang, Oni Baku. When not out riding around, they can be found in school, trying to pick up young woman. This is the story of the young Onizuka, who would later become the greatest teacher in Japan.

I’m tired of anime about losers who can’t get laid. Quick, name any anime off the top of your head. Chances are it’s about a loser who can’t get laid. Where are all the stories about winners who can’t get laid?

Shonan Junai Gumi is exactly that: a story about two winners—none other than EIKICHI ONIZUKA and RYUJI DANMA—who can’t seem to catch a break in their love lives. Meanwhile, all the losers around them score home. It’s the story of my life.

Onani Master Kurosawa: another story I can relate to

The first manga volume/OVA episode kicks off the series brilliantly: since the ladies of Shonan are no longer going for delinquents, Eikichi and Ryuji try to clean up their act—with hilarious consequences.  Then the series falls into a cyclical routine that’s always fun but nothing to write home about:

  1. Eikichi and Ryuji try to get laid
  2. Some gang shows up to fight them
  3. Eikichi and Ryuji win the fight
  4. Eikichi and Ryuji don’t get laid
  5. Repeat

Other than the first volume manga/OVA episode, I strongly recommend the fourth manga volume/third OVA episode. Everything else can be skipped without missing anything substantial. After reading five volumes, I’ll probably keep reading more, but I’d be shocked if any of you do. I’m well aware that moe-less manga about gang fights, girls who aren’t pure and innocent (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean), and modded dinosaur cars don’t sell in this day and age.

There’s a reason why GTO is a smash hit while Shonan Junai Gumi is largely unheard of. GTO keeps you wanting more. Shonan Junai Gumi is more of the same:

  • Everything is resolved with a fight and/or bike race
  • Eikichi and Ryuji always win when they stick together
  • Eikichi and Ryuji never get laid

Would I have read the manga if it didn’t feature the future Great Teacher Onizuka? I can’t say for sure, but I guarantee this: if it weren’t about Onizuka, I never would’ve heard of it. Although the manga is sold as “GTO: The Early Years” (and in some places “Young GTO”), Shonan Junai Gumi was written before GTO and only got the GTO in its title because it’d be foolish not to leech off its wildly successful sequel. Just keep in mind, you’re not getting another GTO. If that’s what you’re looking for, follow GTO’s new sequel, GTO: Shonan 14 Days.

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