Please Teacher Vol. #4: Hello Again (of 4) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, October 18, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, November 04, 2003
What They Say
Distraught over his feelings for Mizuho, Kei has slipped into another "standstill." In the depths of his mind, Kei meets a phantom from his past with whom he discusses the joys and sorrows of life. Back aboard her spaceship, Mizuho must decide whether or not to break Galaxy Federation rules in order to revive Kei or risk losing him forever! The choice is made. How can Kei move forward with his normal high school life when he's missing a piece of his heart?
The final three episodes to Please Teacher bring to conclusion one of the more surprising and enjoyable series of the year.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The show has a good stereo mix to it with a solid use of dialogue across the forward soundstage. There’s a bit of nice depth to it and some well-placed directionality. The music comes across very good as well with no noticeable dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in early 2001 on satellite, Please Teacher features yet another one of the many pristine and simply gorgeous looking transfers that have been coming over lately. The colors are very rich looking, particularly when it comes to the sky blues or Mizuho’s hair coloring. Cross coloration is completely absent during regular playback here as well as aliasing during panning sequences. This was an extremely pleasant transfer to watch.
Using the character artwork from the sixth Japanese DVD release and applying a background to it that makes the image flow better; Mizuho in her official observer uniform looks great here. Volume numbering appears on both the front cover and the spine, and Bandai goes the additional distance of listing the episode numbers and titles on the back cover. The back cover is nicely laid out as part of a school notebook with a smattering of images in different layouts. There’s a decent summary of the premise and a good listing of the discs features and extras as well as the basic production staff. The cover for this release is also reversible. The reverse side has the seventh Japanese cover character art of Mizuho and her sister from the last episode, once again set to a bright good looking background. The back cover is the same, but the front and the spine both have the original Japanese logo on it, a really nice plus. The insert replicates the art from the English front cover and opens up to a two panel fold-out mini poster of the entire gang together, while one of the reverse side panels lists the full production and cast lists.
The menus here are nice and simple with the image of Mizuho set against a chalkboard and the chalky text selections to do the usual bits and pieces. The end song plays throughout the main menu here while submenus are typically quiet. Access times are nice and fast and the basic layout is pretty standard.
Rounding out the extras for this final release, we get some neat material. The really fun one for me is the Marie Love Theater, a two and a half minute piece done in old style film with no audio other than music that has Marie and Miriru exploring their physical selves in the quest for love. The third music clip runs just under seven minutes and does an extended piece that turns out a rather nice music video. The thirteenth episode gets some props here by showing the preview for it and a promotional clip. And last but not least is the final design gallery section.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
If there’s one thing that Please Teacher has done to me, it’s made a Mizuho fanboy. For some reason, this character just really clicks with me, visually especially, and I find myself picking up all sorts of little items and toys that I come across from the series. Between the anime and the manga, it’s been one of the more surprising series of this year that I’ve seen and enjoyed. A good part of that comes from the way it avoids some of the usual traps, such as instead of simply making their romantic relationship a secret, the two of them confess their love early and get married and keep that secret while trying to work on a relationship.
The fact that the bulk of the show is about the actual relationships and not the chasing/running away from of relationships is a huge plus. A great many series would be much better if they’d avoid the fight & flight formula and move it on to something more. The best romantic comedy series are the ones that actually have the romance in them. Please Teacher’s romance is a heart rending one at times, watching each of the two principals struggle with their feelings and trying to find ways to voice them.
Kei’s struggle is more difficult in general due to his standstills. The fact that this volume opens with him deep inside one, one of the worst he’s had yet, brings quite a bit of grief to those around him. His internal struggle with the mysterious girl who tries to keep him inside this world where there’s no pain, no being wronged or anything else is something that most people try to deal with, but his is so much stronger and overpowering. While we do get a good sense of revelation and conclusion with his internal standstills, I was disappointed that they didn’t go into the why of it as they did in the manga. A touch mystery works for the better maybe?
Mizuho’s troubles don’t end with just Kei being in a standstill. Her use of equipment and databanks has caused a ripple up above and she finds herself recalled home and basically court-martialed for her performance on Earth. Fearing that she may have caused them more trouble than it’s worth, they cancel the entire on-site observation plan and install hidden satellites instead to continue the job. But in a real blow to Mizuho who is now confined is that they wipe the memories of all those who knew Mizuho of her existence. Watching the lives of the group we’ve gotten to know without Mizuho proves to be interesting. While there’s an obvious problem for Kei, the rest of the group is fairly unaffected and their loves move forward in interesting ways.
One of the best moments on this disc deals with the love hotel in the special last episode that serves as a light comical epilogue to the series. Watching the one couple come down after doing the deed while the other has just arrived is priceless. In fact, watching the difference in relationships after everything is said and done is great, particularly with Herikawa being egged on by Ichigo. The return of Mizuho’s mother is also well played; I simply like the woman and her forward nature. And the fact that she wears such dead sexy lingerie. There ought to be an official line of the clothes from this series.
The final episodes of this series really run the emotional gamut and there are a great couple of moments where you wonder how it will all turn out. This series hasn’t fully played by the rules in a lot of areas, from letting the kids actually get it on with each other to having the leads confess their love early, that you can’t be sure how it will all turn out. The show’s conclusion is solid though and is one of those that ends just right. The epilogue OVA will likely cause some stir depending on how you view it, but I thought it was a great way to get back a bit of the needed comedy and sexual tension after such an emotional ending.
Please Teacher was a real surprise from start to finish. The visuals are stunning, the character designs are great and the score infectious at times. This is the kind of series where the script is written well enough that the leads can back off and let the secondary characters carry an episode without it feel like you’re just trying to give them some time to be fleshed out. They already felt fleshed out but were able to provide a parallel relationship that’s believable to run counter to Kei and Mizuho’s, thereby bringing in some new elements to the group dynamic.
With plenty of Pochy, Please Teacher quickly became a priority to watch as each volume came in. Very recommended for those looking for a good romantic comedy with real emotions to it.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Marie Love Theater, Music Clip 3, Episode 13 preview, Episode 13 promo clip,Design Gallery
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Please Teacher