Onegai Teacher #4 Memories Special -

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Japan
  • Released By: Bandai Visual
  • MSRP: ¥7500
  • Running time: 52
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Please Teacher

Onegai Teacher #4 Memories Special

By Paul Grisham     August 03, 2002
Release Date: July 25, 2002

Onegai Teacher #4 Memories Special
© Bandai Visual

What They Say

The Review!
The show hits its stride as two characters discover the empowering beauty of love, two characters learn of the pain of love?s disappointment, one character remembers the love of her past, one glimpses the love of her future, and one finds that love is perhaps not as important as being honest with oneself.

Audio & Video:
The show continues to look and sound great. This is a brand-spanking new show, and even though it was originally a TV series, the technical production values are quite nice. The show settles into a much more dialogue-driven show than the hijinks the previous volume, so a slightly under-performing stereo mix doesn?t detract from the show.

Volume 4 is available in two different formats, one a standard keepcase edition, the other another Memories Special edition complete with a second soundtrack album and box to house the seven DVDs in this series. The box is very nice, featuring a wraparound image of Kei, Mizuho and the rest of the cast on front and spine, and a cute picture of Mizuho in her teacher?s outfit on the back. The set comes with a soundtrack album similar to the one included with the first memories special. This CD isn?t quite as entertaining as the first, which you might remember I found to be a bit bland and inessential. There are three very nice vocal tracks included here from members of I?ve, done in the style of the opening song, though not quite as memorable. The postcard this time is taken from one of the series? more poignant scenes, and features Mizuho in a short blue dress and pink sweater.

Menus are identical to the previous volume, and share all the strengths and weaknesses with that release. Although R2 releases seem to have excellent audio and video technical quality, I haven?t been able to figure out why they always seem to come up short with regard to menus.

The Onegai Teacher ~ A Prelude clip is really little more than a short version of the promotional video included with the first volume. If you watched that one, you won?t really find anything new here. The non-credit opening is a nice inclusion here. We?re far enough in the series now that little details from the opening have context now. Scenes in the opening that foreshadowed plot developments later have come to pass, and much of the opening, taken without credits, will be familiar. There are also two versions of the ending. These are very similar, but the differences were hard to make out behind the credits.

(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Onegai Teacher set some pretty low expectations in its early episodes, and then proceeded to exceed them. Whether or not you think that?s a noble accomplishment is pretty much up to you. But what I find continually surprising is how the two episodes on this disc keep taking the story forward with large confident strides. There isn?t anything terribly groundbreaking or eye opening here, but the way that the key relationships in the series are developing is mining a deeper understanding towards the complexity of life and love than most anime are willing to explore.

Kei is still having to share his home with his mother and sister in law, and the stress is really starting to put a strain on his relationship with Mizuho. Eager to get some breathing room, he runs away from home for a little while and bumps into Koishi at school, who is insistent in getting a straight answer from Kei regarding his feelings for her. Koishi is practically throwing herself at Kei. Kei, again not exactly sure how to let her down gently, is leaving subtle hints that he isn?t interested. In one of those tiny moments of truth, the kind that pass over you in a moment, but stick around hours and days later, Koishi wonders to herself if Kei even notices her feelings, not at all realizing that she is the one being oblivious to his feelings. These episodes seem to be made up of dozens of moments like this.

The situation gets worse, when Mizuho, searching desperately for the wandering Kei, finally finds Kei and Koishi together, misunderstands the situation, and suspects the worst. She scolds her two students professionally for behaving in a possibly inappropriate manner on school grounds, but secretly, she is dying a little inside to discover the man she has grown to love as her husband could betray her so easily. Mizuho?s sister has decided that no man who truly loves her would hurt her so badly. Of course, the awful truth of love is that only the people we really love can hurt us. For Mizuho, a stranger in a strange land, with only one person who knows her darkest secrets, only one person with whom she can be totally open and intimate, and only one person she really cares about, it is only Kei who can hurt her so much.

In the next episode, the climax of the series to this point, Kei and Mizuho must come to terms with the deeper pain and jealousy that their love brings into their lives. Things take a turn for the worse, when the two of them start taking their frustrations out on each other in public. Then, in one long night, the two of them finally separate, each to pursue their options with other potential suitors. They are given one last chance to break free from the cycle of jealousy and fear that have damaged their relationship up until this point. Even though their marriage was one of convenience, it has become more, a joyful and dangerous thing that can destroy them both, or save them. I think that just about anyone can find some part of the roller coaster of emotions that they will find familiar, from Koishi?s desperation and catharsis, to Kei?s fear of the future, to Mizuho?s suspiciousness.

In an utterly surprising twist, the final moments of the episodes here are free of the cheap and gratuitous sexuality from the early episodes. The story suddenly shows a restraint and maturity that I would not have thought possible given what has come before. With only a few regular series episodes remaining, and an OAV special episode, there will be a lot of things to work out, from Kei?s ongoing illness, to Mizuho?s mysterious mission to Earth, but no matter how the rest of the story works out, I think that I have been privileged to have gotten to watch a story about a relationship, the stuff that happens after two people get together. All too often, anime just focuses on the early stuff ? will they or won?t they get together ? turning away from what is certainly the more interesting phase of the romance, the path through trust and passion to real, adult intimacy.

What started as a cheap knockoff of a hundred other male-oriented romantic fantasies has rapidly become a wonderful and honest exploration of young love. I am still trying to figure out what all of the alien and science-fiction elements have to do with the rest of the story, but if you don?t think about that part too much, there is really a lot to enjoy about the story up to now.

Even as I am writing this review, I have received word that Bandai Entertainment has licensed the series for release in North America. Though some will write off the series as cheap male fantasies or a knock off of better series (such as Oh My Goddess, perhaps), those willing to take a chance on the series will probably be pleasantly surprised. Either version of the series, this more expensive R2 release, or the forthcoming R1 release, is an easy recommendation, qualified only by the need for a little patience at the beginning.

Japanese Language,Onegai Teacher ~ A Prelude Promotional Video (Short Version), No-Credit Opening,No-Credit Ending (ver. 1), No-Credit Ending (ver. 2),Production Booklet,Memories Special Bonus Features:,Onegai Teacher - Sound Collection 2,Series Box,Memories Diary Postcard

Review Equipment
Panasonic Panablack TV, Codefree Panasonic RP56 DVD player, Sony ProLogic receiver, Yamaha and Pioneer speakers, Monster cable. (Secondary equipment, Pioneer 105s DVD-ROM, ATi Rage Fury Pro, ViewSonic A90f, PowerDVD 3.0)


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