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Please Teacher (Onegai Teacher) Review

Genres: Drama Romance Comedy All
Series' Year of Release: 2002
Number of Episodes: 13
Review Date: 16-9-2009
Review Language: Dub
Review DVD Region: R4 Available in Australia
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Review By: Bradley Beeck

Kei Kusanagi is really 18 years old but heís still in high school due to an illness that put him in a standstill for 3 years (coma). Mizuho Kazami is really an alien sent to observe earth and her cover is a high school teacher. Everything goes wrong for her when Kei stumbles across her arrival. A series of events lead to them getting married in order to keep both their secrets safe.

please_teacher016Please Teacher or Onegai Teacher is one of the first shows I watched back when I was getting into anime. A lot of the shows I watched then are still my favourites, like Mezzo DSA and El Hazard. Unfortunately Please Teacher hasnít stood the test of time in the same way. It wasnít as bad as my recent viewing of Tenchi Muyo Ryo-Ohki but thatís a review for another day.

please_teacher005The central premise of Please Teacher is a bit dubious and itís certainly male fantasy wish fulfillment. However it somehow manages to avoid raising major red flags like its spin off/sequel Please Twins (Onegai Twins). I think itís because the male protagonist Ė Kei Ė is actually 18 and they donít go overboard with the fanservice moments. The setup of Kei and Mizuho living together and getting married uses that mainstay of anime Ė the misunderstanding. Except this time it works for the most part, as the characters have a reason to let things get out of hand. With Mizuho being an alien and Kei trying to keep his standstill disease a secret. It also works because itís Keiís aunt and uncle that push things. The first episode is my favourite from the series; itís just a lot of fun and barrels along at a fast pace.

please_teacher047As far as the main characters go Kei is the typical weedy, pale nerdy and indecisive type while Mizho is light and hard working but still gets jealous. The supporting cast plays an important role in this series. Ichigo and Koishi in particular but Hyosuke and Kaede also have a separate romantic storyline. Ichigo is straight talking, perceptive and pint sized and the best character in the show. She has some great lines. Koichi on the other hand is the love rival and source of some angst and drama in the plot. This is where the show really fell down; when the dramatic events far out weighed the comedic moments, when the word standstill got bandied around far too much. The thing that really annoyed me at this point was when Kei agreed with what Mizuho was saying in one episode and then turned around in the next episode and did the exact opposite. Hurting people more than they already were.

please_teacher058These drama filled episodes take up a third to a half of the series and really dampened my enjoyment. Episodes previous to this had been mixing in the problems with living with someone you donít know, Keiís reluctance to do anything with Mizuho, with the comedy of Mizuhoís mother and sister turning up for instance. Any red blooded male is bound to be irritated by Kei at some point, heís living with one of the hottest anime characters in history with a great personality and he does nothing for an eon. Despite my complaints I think heís ahead of a lot of harem leads. The showís romantic moments are good, especially the scenes at the beginning of the series like when Kei and Mizuho are stuck in the sports locker. Going to the other side of the spectrum the ending is very emo due to Keiís standstills and the reason behind them. Itís also not entirely clear what happened but itís passable. The series ending is improved by the presence of the OVA on the DVD release. It ties a few things up and piles on the fanservice, as every OVA does.

please_teacher025Animation wise Please Teacher holds up but it isnít at the same level as Twelve Kingdoms which was produced in the same year. Being set in the country side gives the series a fresh/interesting appearance over other school based shows; lakes and mountains beat concrete buildings. Also worth mentioning is Mizuhoís character design, itís probably what youíll remember most about this show for reasons already stated. The show has great synthy music with tracks like Mizuho and Demo Suki accentuating the romantic and dramatic moment respectively. The OP Shooting Star is by Kotoko and is very high energy synth. The ED, Sora no Mori De by Mami Kawada, is completely the opposite and is quite touching.

Please Teacher has a dubious concept that despite first appearances manages to avoid major red flags. The fanservice is kept to a minimum and the ecchi level is low. Kei, the main character, is the typical indecisive lead thatís guaranteed to annoy at some point but heís better than a lot of harem leads. Mizuho is not just there for fanserivce, she has feelings, emotions and reasons for coming to earth. The supporting cast also have their own storylines and are the source of much of the angst and drama. This is where the show fails, it just grinds along at these moments as most of the drama could have been avoided. Please Teacher is a series that features too much unnecessary drama and angst but the comedy and romance keep the show enjoyable for the most part.