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.
"This prequel to the immensely popular GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) actually came out first in Japan, but is lesser known. There's slapstick galore... There's also plenty of tear-jerking pathos. [GTO: The Early Years] offers lots of rowdy high-school fun, with a pleasant absence of shrinking girls and an abundance of good humor." --Publishers Weekly"I had fallen way behind in my [GTO: The Early Years] reading, but was able to pick up where I left off with minimal confusion, mostly as this is a delinquent manga... I like the girls in GTO, who come in many different types and varieties, and the gang aspect of the plot means we get a lot who can kick any guy's ass... There's also some terrific comedy here--the author likes to break up all the gang fights with one-shot chapters that are hilariously silly." --A Case Suitable for Treatment"How's Onizuka, brawler extraordinaire, supposed to deal with someone who not only doesn't feel pain but positively thrives on it? ... If you start here without any context, you're liable to be a little lost. To compensate for that, though, they've post some notes... Me, I walked in more or less cold, picked up most of what I need to know from context, and laughed myself out of my chair all the same." --Genji Press"Manga of the Month I always had a vague feeling there was a longer story that occurred before GTO when I first read the series... While this part of the story is a bit cruder than later parts of Onizuka's story it also has its own energy... I feel the humor is a bit ruder, the action a bit wilder, and the stakes a bit higher... This is the raw and uncut Onizuka." --Reverse Thieves