The final DVD in the Please Teacher series, Please Teacher—Hello Again (Vol. 4) is the most enjoyable of the bunch. Thoughtful, engaging, and downright hilarious, it ends the series on an all-time high note and secures the ultimate success of the show.
Facts of the Case
This DVD concludes the Please Teacher series, and picks up from where it left off on the third disc.
Kei, who had slipped into a "standstill" previously, is now on Mizuho's spaceship, where she tries her best to care for him. Kei is trapped within his own subconscious, haunted by memories and joys and sorrows of his life.
Desperate, Mizuho decides to break Galaxy Federation law and enter Kei's mind illegally to try and arouse him from his state of perpetual stasis. She succeeds in rousing Kei, but there are terrible consequences.
When Kei awakens from his standstill, his and everyone else's memories of Mizuho have been eradicated. Everything is exactly the same, as it was, as if Mizuho never was. Things are moving forward now, but Kei cannot shake the growing suspicion that something is missing in his life…
Please Teacher—Hello Again (Vol. 4) spends a lot of time flashing back to previous episodes—you get a compressed, five-minute version of ten episodes worth of development. The storyline shapes up quite nicely, and despite the wasted time flashing back to old animation, these are three of the strongest episodes so far in the show.
The storyline gets fairly metaphysical, even more so than the previous disc. While Kei is in his "standstill," he has flashback conversations with invisible specters and creepy-ass ghosts with no eyes from his subconscious, debating about sadness and happiness, lost potential, giving up, never moving forward, trying to justify his decision to stand still. It reminded me of the much criticized final episodes of the Neon Genesis Evangelion series—a lot of personal reflections, allegorical imagery, and debates about the meaning of existence, and no action to speak of.
But then, Please Teacher throws a splendid curveball. The show, having been reasonably summarized in the twelfth episode, could easily have ended, and gone out as an intriguing and complex anime series.
But, there is one more episode. The thirteenth episode (by far, the funniest yet) discards all previous philosophical notions and complex questions and goes absolutely slapstick. Mizuho's mother and sister return to provide sexual tension and hostility, and when all is said and done, the show goes out with a laugh and a feeling of happiness rather than a feeling of longing and melancholy.
It feels absolutely, utterly, horribly out-of-place—but I laughed myself silly all the same. Turns out, it was exactly what Please Teacher needed. The last minute twist defies all previous expectations, and does a fantastic job of ending the series on a laugh.
The visual quality is identical to the previous discs, of course—vibrant, rich, lush colors that leap off the screen, but an incredible amount of softness in the image. Lines are indistinct and blurred, and the entire transfer appears to be hazy, as if viewed through fog. It isn't unpleasant, per se, merely peculiar, but a sharper image might have been nicer.
There is a slight improvement this time in the Japanese audio track. The previous DVDs had a slight distinction between the Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 track and the English counterpart where the English track was punchier, more defined, and fuller. The Japanese track sounds much stronger this time around, and matches up well with the English track. The music is fairly pleasing as well, a haunting melodic chime tune that feels quite at place with Kei and his psychological ruminations.
The English-dubbed dialogue is fairly coherent, and makes a good amount of sense. Obviously, there is a bit of liberty between the subtitles and the dialogue in the dubbed track, but the dub is quite good. Likewise, the subtitles have been cleared up from their ambiguous ramblings in the second disc, and are very clear and understandable. On this, the final disc, the Please Teacher series has come to a harmonious balance between subtitles and English dubbing. Both have their individual merits, but whichever you prefer, you can rest assured that both are high quality. Very nice.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Bandai really blew it this time around on the supplemental features. I had hoped that the final disc would have something extra, something worth closing the series with—instead, they actually provide less. A preview and a promo clip for Episode 13 are offered, but the preview is redundant—every episode includes a preview for the following episode right after its completion. It feels like a rip-off—and it is.
But I enjoyed the last episode so much, that I don't really care.
By going out with a laugh, the Please Teacher series re-affirms itself as something that is joyous, not something melancholic—it comes right out and says, in a candid, tongue-in-cheek fashion, that life is good, that being happy is what counts, and in the end, nothing else matters.
Works for me! I couldn't be more pleased, personally.
Please Teacher pulled a turn-around on me in the best way. Working my way though the series, I was nonplussed at first, and slightly worried that the show would never get off the ground. To my surprise and delight, my expectations have been met quite nicely—and not in the way I thought they would be. This is a solid, enjoyable series, and well worth your financial investment either renting or purchasing.
Though not perfect, the Please Teacher series is sweet, thoughtful and most importantly, utterly enjoyable. More importantly, this final DVD confirms Please Teacher as a show that is absolutely worth the time invested.
Please Teacher manages to find a unique and distinct identity within the anime universe, while offering a viewing experience that is thought-provoking, reflective, and hilarious at the same time.
Therefore, the Please Teacher series is hereby cleared of all charges, and is free to go with this Judge's blessings.
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