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“Boring school life just got rose-coloured glasses!”

Movie
Boy has it ever. This tale revolves around Kei Kusanagi, a young school boy who is thrown into a whirl-wind relationship with the series’ leading lady, Mizuho Kazami. Mizuho is a member of the ‘Galaxy Federation’, a race of aliens monitoring the human race to make sure we don’t make any wrong turns. Kei first catches sight of the gorgeous (-ly voluptuous) Mizuho after she descends mysteriously from the sky, causing a fair amount of UFO related controversy in the small country town. Their second rendezvous is at school, where it turns out that one of Kei’s teachers has resigned and Mizuho has taken his place! This of course catches Kei a little off guard; only the day before had he seen this woman flying strangely through the air, now she’s standing right in front of him. As if that weren’t enough, Kei arrives home that afternoon to find out that Mizuho is moving in next door. Just who is this mysterious lady?

Please Teacher, Volume 1: Hot For Teacher

Before Kei has a chance to gather his thoughts, things get messy. Mizuho and Kei manage to get stranded in one of the storage rooms at school (I’ll leave it for you to see how they get there), and its only with some quick thinking by Kei’s uncle that they manage to convince the principal of their innocence. Unfortunately the ‘excuse’ leaves Kei and Mizuho a married couple. Kei has to keep this a secret of course, especially from his school buddies who all think he’s 15 and just a little… odd. Kei is in actual fact 18, however a peculiar condition (with symptoms which he calls ‘standstills’) left him in a coma for 3 years, without ageing a day. Kei’s condition is left relatively unexplored in these first few episodes, though I’m keen to see where it all ties together.

I know there’s quite a few anime already out there which cater to the ‘shy-boy meets pretty alien girl’ scenario, but I’m going to argue that Please Teacher pulls it off particularly well. The series plays with the awkwardness associated with youth and affection exceptionally well, portraying the subtle yet interesting aspects of relationships in an enjoyable, unique way. Although some of the scenes play out fairly predictably, there are still plenty of situations that will have you guessing. And with only 12 episodes in the first series, and another one on the way, the series will no doubt maintain an engaging pace.

Video
What we have here (in the 4:3 presentation) is plenty of detail and a down-right pleasing visual style; certainly one of the better looking series I’ve seen recently. It’s easy to appreciate the effort that has gone into the visual presentation, with a rich colour palette and lovely bold lines. I particularly enjoyed the opening sequence, which contains some fantastic depth work and camera pans. Fans of the Chobits and Love Hina series will be right at home, with lots of cute and cuddly characters to tag along with. No evidence of any abnormalities, just a pristine transfer.

Please Teacher, Volume 1: Hot For Teacher

Audio
The opening theme is appropriately upbeat and nicely in-tune with the series, although not quite as memorable as some other recent releases (Arjuna anyone?). The Japanese 2.0 audio track is entertaining, with plenty of emotive one-liners from Kei to keep you gigglin’. A stock-standard English 2.0 dub, really, and only recommended on a second viewing. No evidence of audio distortion or abnormalities.

Extras
Quite a decent bundle here, although I’m still looking for that special disc that’ll blow me away in this department. There’s a nice extended ‘trailer’ of sorts (‘O-ne-Tea’ promo clip) which offers up a nice mix of music and imagery to introduce the underlying narrative. There’s another, shorter ‘Onegai Teacher!’ promo clip too. Also included is a Lesson 1 preview, a nice bundle of character artwork, some character profiles, and the expected assortment of trailers - Chobits, Spirited Away, Arjuna, Geneshaft, Steel Angel Kurumi, Read or Die, and Love Hina. Almost forgot the handy reversible DVD sleeve; nice for when you get tired of looking at Mizuho in that terribly alluring position.

Please Teacher, Volume 1: Hot For Teacher

Overall
“Boring school life just got rose-coloured glasses!” Indeed. Please Teacher is an entertaining frolic of unexpected relationships and alien encounters. Although it doesn’t break any new ground, it really doesn’t need to. An enjoyable cast of characters, lovely visuals, and enough surprises to keep you on your toes.


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