Tokyopop has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Showtime Networks Inc. to bring the 43-episode anime series, Great Teacher Onizuka, to the Network's SHO Next channel starting on November 3 with new episodes airing nightly Monday through Friday. This marks Tokyopop's third TV deal -- Reign the Conqueror aired on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block earlier this year, and Rave Master will debut on the Cartoon Network's Toonami Block in 2004. SHO Next is Showtime's most youth-oriented channel, targeting Gen Y adults (19-24) with more than 50 feature films a month plus short films and animation, which should make the GTO anime series a good fit. Showtime is a pay channel available on most cable and satellite systems for a monthly fee.
Great Teacher Onizuka, based on the manga series by Tohru Fujisawa, is the story of a 22 year-old ex-juvenile delinquent, Eikichi Onizuka, who uses his street smarts to relate to his troublesome pupils. Fujisawa's manga, which has sold extremely well here in the States, also inspired both the anime and an extremely popular live action series in Japan, the finale of which was the most watched program in the history of Japanese TV. The recently released fourteenth volume of the 25-volume GTO manga series, which is published in the U.S. by Tokyopop, ranked as number 17 on the September 7 BookScan list of graphic novels sold in American bookstores. Tokyopop has also released all ten DVDs of the GTO anime series -- and a box set edition of all 10 volumes is slated for release on December 2 at a suggested retail price of $99.99. With both manga collections and anime DVDs available, the appearance of GTO on Showtime is good news for pop culture retailers.