Time to meet the in-laws!
One of the newest anime series to hit the street, Please Teacher is cute, sweet, and entertaining, but ends up re-hashing a lot of old material previously examined in better anime series. The show does have good potential, but if you've seen it all before, Please Teacher may seem slightly redundant.
Facts of the Case
Common sense must be abandoned here; have a box of salt standing by as we re-cap the Please Teacher series so far:
Kei is an average, normal, typical, everyday 15-year-old student. At least, that's what he'd like you to believe. Turns out, he's actually an 18-year old who suffers from a rare condition that caused him to "standstill" for three years in a state of suspended animation. When he woke up, three years later, his body was still 15 years old.
His teacher, Ms. Mizuho, is an average, normal, typical, everyday sexy teacher. At least, that's what she'd like you to believe. Turns out, she's actually a half-human, half-alien intergalactic reporter assigned to observe Earth and its inhabitants.
When student and teacher discover each other's secrets, they decide the best way to protect both of them is to get secretly married—you know, to avoid suspicion?
In Please Teacher—Meet the In-Laws (Vol. 2), we find Kei and Mizuho on a summer honeymoon vacation in Okinawa, hoping to get away from everyone that could recognize them. Turns out, in a twist of fate, the whole high school gang is there, too (of course) and the newlywed couple cannot seem to find any time alone together.
And when Mizuho's family drops in to meet her new husband (remember now—she's an alien, and so are her family), things go from bad to worse. Hatsuho, her mother, seems to have more than just maternal desires for her new son-in-law, and Mizuho's sister, Maho, has one thing on her mind—making Kei not live anymore. To say that she does not approve of her sister's new husband is a galactic understatement.
And, to top it all off, though their union was conceived out of some sort of "necessity," it seems that they both have begun to fall into something that approximates a bizarre version of "love." What will Kei and Mizuho do now?
So far, Please Teacher isn't that interesting of a show. It has some cute ideas, for sure, some good character design, and the show is well-drawn, but the show seems insistent on ignoring all the interesting aspects of the show to focus on the snail-slow romantic development of Kei and Mizuho even at the expense of entertainment.
I mean, you've got half-human, half-alien intergalactic reporters with tiny little spacemen dolls that can shoot crazy laser beams out, teleport them all around, and generally cause a lot of fun. Plus, you've got a bizarre teacher who wants to build a human-powered flying machine, spends an episode building the thing, and then, you never get to see fly.
Instead, we watch Mizuho waiting for Kei to come back from a card game. Excitement, she wrote!
Okay, Please Teacher is not so bad, really (in fact, that card-game scene gets fairly interesting and dramatic—at least, for about ten seconds), and the show is fairly cute, once you grapple your unenlightened mind around why a fifteen year old is married to his teacher. I have a friend who is all about the show, in fact, and sings its praises quite strongly.
I suppose that I am waiting for the show to really grab me by the gonads and slap me down on the couch, where I stay riveted to every glorious second of Please Teacher, instead of, say, getting up every three minutes to check for new mail in my mailbox.
Not…that…I, err, did that.
What it may lack in prolific punch and personal preference, however, Please Teacher—Meet the In-Laws (Vol. 2) scores high marks from a technical standpoint. This is a beautiful looking DVD, filled with a pleasing amount of supplementary material (I mean, for a Bandai anime), and the animated menu navigation is clever and unique.
The colors are exceptionally vivid and lush, and look quite fantastic throughout the DVD. The color of the sky practically leaps out of your television and throttles your brain with its blue-y goodness. Pinks and browns and greens are also particularly well represented. The only main problem with the picture is that the visual quality appears overly soft compared to its Bandai brethren. In fact, it almost looks like the entire transfer was smeared with petroleum jelly. There is an odd cloudiness to the picture, an extreme softness that is by no means unpleasant, just bewildering. The animation lines are hazy and indistinct, like a summer day, which would be cool, if that was the intended effect—hard to say, really.
The music is fairly pedantic, consisting of a continuous childish jingle that runs consistently throughout the episodes, and you soon learn to tune it out completely. Both Dolby Digital 2.0 presentations are quite well done, and the level and quality of dialogue is fairly consistent, though the English dub track sounds punchier, and heavier on the bass.
Annoyingly, a lot of the times the subtitles make absolutely no sense. There are a lot of half-jokes, a lot of double entendres, and a lot of sexually suggestive flirting in Please Teacher that, when literally translated from the Japanese, gets absolutely muddled and butchered to the point of incoherency. I have watched a lot of anime, and read a lot of subtitles before, and even I was scratching my head at certain points, trying to figure out if the characters on-screen were flirting, apologizing, trying to sell each other fish, or fighting. Frankly, I have little sympathy for Bandai—normally, the coherencies of their subtitles are excellent. Worse, I have seen fansubs better than this. In fact, with the subtitles being in such a state of disarray, I would actually recommend the English dub as being a slightly more sensible method of enjoying Please Teacher. Like many, I dislike watching anime dubbed into English, but in this particular situation, you may find yourself switching over. The English voice actors are competent, and some of them (Maho, for example) are downright hilarious in English.
A good amount of extras are included with this disc—music clips, trailers, textless openings and endings, and a design gallery are all included, which is a reasonable offering for an anime release. Here's hoping they can keep up this pace with this much fresh content throughout the series.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Mediocre is the word. Seen it, heard it, laughed at it, read it all before. The show borrows elements from much better shows left, right, and center and comes up with few of its own original ideas. The jokes are mild, the sexual humor is worth a chuckle, at best, and the action elements are so few and far between as to be a non-issue.
Not a bad show, really; but compared to likeminded anime series like Tenchi Muyo, Ah! My Goddess, or even Love Hina, Please Teacher has a hard time standing its ground. Hopefully, it will get better.
A great DVD presentation surrounding a mildly interesting show, Please Teacher—Meet the In-Laws (Vol. 2) is a solid sophomore disc for the series, but highlights the main conceptual problem with the show in big yellow letters. With the barrage of interesting ideas, unique concepts, and possible hilarious situations the series could be throwing at us, Please Teacher has great potential.
Why that potential has yet to be shown, I do not know. Hopefully, in the next discs, it will. Worth a rent, if you like cute anime—but hold out on purchase until a final verdict comes in.
This court waves its gavel in vague indifference towards Please Teacher on DVD. Amusing at times, sure, but the plot is steeped in mediocrity and awkward subtitling. The show needs to come together in significant ways to be a success.
While technically not a bad DVD presentation (good sound, nice extras, et cetera), this court hopes its next showing will be of more substantial interest to this court. Therefore, a final verdict shall be held until then.
Case dismissed…for now.
Dah dah daaaaaah!
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