GTO: 14 Days in Shonan, Vol. 7

By Toru Fujisawa. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialized in the magazine Weekly Shonen Magazine. Released in North America by Vertical.

Another volume of 14 Days, and the lessons remain the same. Don’t let your past define you, don’t become a bad person just because society thinks you are, there are other people who really do care about you, etc. The telling of this can be somewhat melodramatic, but that works in the story’s favor, to be honest. Onizuka and his story is larger than life. Moreover, to every teenager who thinks their problems are the ABSOLUTE WORST EVER, every decision they make and conflict they have is this dramatic. Indeed, it’s telling that Kikuchi and Urumi’s solution on how to break Miko is simply to ramp *up* the drama.

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That said, my favorite part of the volume came in between crises, as Shinomi gets back to the White Swan and runs into Urumi, who’s hanging out after assisting Onizuka with Miko. Seeing the most popular girl in Shonan Jun’ai Gumi meet the most popular girl in GTO is sort of a fan dream, and at the start it goes exactly as we’d expect: Urumi instantly identifies Shinomi as a threat and starts to systematically make her feel small and cornered, with the help of money and a typically oblivious Onizuka.

The best comes in the bath, however, when Urumi learns that Shinomi hasn’t actually gotten anywhere with Onizuka, and realizes that they’re not rivals but the same – doomed to be the ‘little sister’ who can’t be seen romantically. And the tension in Urumi *instantly* dissolves, as she suddenly regards Shinomi as someone to confide in (I don’t think she ever did that in GTO, so it’s impressive). They’re both probably correct, by the way – I suspect if Onizuka ever does end up with anyone in the future of GTO, it’ll be Fuyutsuki, simply as he actually sees her as a possible romance. In any case, Urumi’s juvenile solution to their frustration, and Shinomi going along with it, is a pitch-perfect ending to the scene.

Unfortunately, the real world is due to come crashing into the series. Despite a chapter that pushes the bounds of ridiculousness by having Onizuka literally fly for over a mile. The mayor of Shonan proves to be the sort who wants anything that might be a problem to simply go away till he’s re-elected, and his slimeball assistant appears to want to take advantage of that by having some of the ‘White Swan’ kids returned to the loving arms of their parents – even if those parents are abusive scum. Which means that, with only two volumes of the series to go after this, we may end up right back where we started, with Sakurako being in danger.

For all that Miko and Riko were a credible threat to Onizuka in the past couple of volumes, there was no doubt that they wouldn’t be won over (kicking their deadbeat dad into the harbor likely helped out a lot there). These guys, though, are far less likely to simply be misunderstood or uncaring. Yes, GTO may tell you that you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and move forward, but it never diminishes what you’ve been through. Which makes this new threat all the more scary. That said, this is Onizuka, and I look forward to seeing how he takes it out.

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