After becoming reformed from his rough and tumble past as a bike gang leader, Onizuka is looking for a new ambition in life. After witnessing a hot girl falling for her ugly teacher, he decides to become a teacher himself. However, instead of hot girls draping themselves all over him, he just has a group of problem students that the school administration had all but given up on.
The only thing you can fault in Great Teacher Onizuka is its aging animation that wasn’t that great in the first place. However, it has a great story to tell and one of the biggest badasses in all of anime for a main character. If you want more anime series similar to Great Teacher Onizuka, then look no further.
For Fans of Hardcore Teachers
Kumiko Yamaguchi is smart, energetic, and starting her dream job as a teacher at Shirokiun Academy. Unfortunately, she soon learns that her class in this all-boys school is a cesspool of the worst delinquents in school. However, young Kumiko has a secret weapon, she is the heir apparent of a yakuza clan and knows how to handle rough men. Capable of both overpowering these thugs and getting them to listen, she is ready to change the lives of her students.
Gokusen is pretty much Great Teacher Onizuka, but with the gender of the main character reversed. Both main characters are silly, but come from a criminal background that makes them easier to relate to their trouble-making, misunderstood students. Solving student problems is also the plot in both anime series. Finally, the quality of animation makes these shows hard to watch, but there is a fun show if you can look past it. However, while comedic, GTO trumps Gokusen in quality of comedy.
After the moon is mysteriously turned into a permanent crescent by an unknown calamity, the students of class 3-E at Kunogigaoka Middle School are presented with a daunting task: assassinate the creature that blew up half the moon before the year’s end or die when the world is destroyed. The creature in question, dubbed Koro-sensei by his class is super fast, super strong, and by all respects, indestructible. However, while the students try and learn how to destroy him, they also learn that he is the best teacher that they have ever had.
A lot of fans of Great Teacher Onizuka find Assassination Classroom a great show to follow up with. It has superior animation, but has those core values we came to enjoy in GTO. Both shows feature a teacher with seemingly super-human abilities, though this is actually true in AssClass, and those teachers use their abilities for the sake of their students. While their criminal backgrounds suggest they should be a detriment to students, they actually end up helping them more than any normal teacher would. Furthermore, the comedy in both series makes them very enjoyable.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Nozomu Itoshiki is a high school teacher that is so pessimistic that even small misfortunes can send him spiraling into a pit of despair. Surrounded by increasingly insane students, Nozomu’s unique brand of despair has its own way of affecting them, often in a positive manner.
Although Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei differs a lot from GTO, the core remains the same. Both shows are about teachers that actively try and help their students, but go about it in very different ways with very different life philosophies. While GTO is an all-around comedy, Zetsubou Sensei has some darker, more serious aspects to it.
For Fans of Life-Meddling Main Characters
Kintarou Ooe is a specialist in part-time work. On his handy bicycle, he travels around the country looking for work and trying to hold onto those jobs, no matter how strange they may be. From these jobs, he learns education that can’t be taught in a classroom, including how to get to a woman’s heart.
If you enjoyed Onizuka’s hard-working, but distinctly perverted personality, then Golden Boy is a show for you. Essentially the main characters act very similar to each other. They are lechers, to be sure, but they both bend over backwards to help people.
Ryou Saeba works as a City Hunter, a profession that helps keep the city streets clean by taking out any criminals. Whether it is working a case or working the ladies, he is good at what he does.
Not only is the animation style in City Hunter similar to GTO, but it has a lot similarities in its main characters. Both are tough guys that are pretty good at wooing women, but for one reason or another, never quite seal the deal. When they aren’t trying to feed their perverted side, both main characters are out there actively helping people by any means necessary.
Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor
Sistine is a dedicated student at the magical academy where she hones her skills. She eventually hopes to solve the great mystery of the Sky Castle, but when he teacher retires, the replacement, Glenn, turns out to be a lazy bastard. How is it this incompetent man was hand-picked as the best magician in the academy?
While the settings and stories are vastly different, Akashic Records shares its similarities through the main characters. In both series, the main characters are both teachers that don’t seem to have much going for them. They are lazy or perverted, but when it comes down to it, they are both secret badasses that prioritize their students over anything else.
For Fans of Thugs With A Heart of Gold
Yu Yu Hakusho
Yusuke Urameshi is your average thug, but one day, he sees a kid about to get hit by a car and saves him. Unfortunately, the car kills him instead. Impressed by his heroic deed, the afterlife gives him a second shot at life, but only if he becomes a Spirit Detective and keeps all the demons and other supernatural beings from destroying the human world.
Although there is an age difference between them, both Yusuke and Onizuka have that same thug attitude. Both are good at acting tough, but they are also good at helping people, both at notable points sacrificing their own personal safety for their friends or students. While Yu Yu Hakusho takes a supernatural route, those hearts of gold shine through in both shows.
Cromartie High School
Takashi Kamiyama is your typical mild-mannered high school student. However, instead of living a boring normal life, he enrolls at infamous Cromartie High School, a school known for breeding thugs. It is this decision that sees the end of his normal high school days.
If you were more interested in the manly comedy of Great Teacher Onizuka, then Cromartie High School provides it in spades. While significantly more random in its humor than GTO and without much of a plot to speak of, the characters in Cromartie mirror the manly and rebellious spirit of anime thugs similar to the way Onizuka does.
Ishiyama High is a school full of delinquents, but they have one rule: Don’t cross Tatsumi Oga, the strongest fighter in school. One day, Oga is sitting by a riverbank when he encounters a floating man that splits down the middle to reveal a baby inside. This baby turns out to be Kaiser de Emperana Beelzebub IV, the son of the Demon Lord. It turns out raising the future lord of the underworld is more trouble than you’d think.
While distinctly a shounen anime, Beelzebub is all about thug culture and many of the characters may remind you of those presented in Great Teacher Onizuka. While it also has more action and significantly more demons, like GTO, there are some lessons to be learned from Beelzebub and its character struggles too.
If you have any more anime recommendations like Great Teacher Onizuka, let us know in the comments section below.