Please Teacher Vol. #2: Meet the In-Laws - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Please Teacher

Please Teacher Vol. #2: Meet the In-Laws

By Chris Beveridge     July 11, 2003
Release Date: July 08, 2003


Please Teacher Vol. #2: Meet the In-Laws
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
Kei and Mizuho’s honeymoon summer vacation in Okinawa is interrupted when they discover that Hyosuke and the gang are vacationing there too! Though the honeymooners can’t seem to get any time alone, the buds of love begin to blossom for another unlikely couple. Things don’t get any easier when they get home. Mizuho’s sister, Maho and her mother, Hatsuho, visit Earth respectively and both express their protest and delight to the newlyweds. Now Kei has to dodge the death threats of his sister-in-law and the romantic advances of his mother-in-law, as well as play cupid for his friend! Will Kei ever have the chance to say those three simple words to his teacher?

The Review!
Please Teacher manages to mostly captivate me again with its pacing and designs, but almost loses me with the introduction of the much dreaded Younger Sister.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
Using the cover artwork from the second Japanese DVD release (without the mail aspect to it, as each DVD was treated as a letter”), we have a nice close-up of Mizuho with her hair down set against the trees by the school. Mizuho’s definitely a draw for this series, but this particular piece of artwork leaves a bit to be desired. 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 third Japanese cover with Kaede holding her pillow close, which means I’m using that as my primary cover. 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 three panel fold-out mini poster of Mizuho and Kei that looks like the first Japanese DVD cover artwork, while one of the reverse side panels lists the full production and cast lists.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
There’s a good selection of extras with this release. The music clip is essentially the opening song in full length but set to animation from throughout the series and is quite enjoyable to watch. A short trailer advertising the shows original airing in Japan is here, with the text thankfully translated. The opening and endings also get another shot at the textless form here. The last bit is the design gallery, which has twenty-two pieces of artwork that’s both in color as well as the conceptual black and white stages. There’s some really nice pieces in there.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Since it had been a few month since I saw the first volume and I’ve seen a ton of other shows in-between, I had sort of forgotten a bit about Please Teacher. But as soon as that opening sequence kicked in, I found myself falling in love with it all over again and all the good feelings flooded back in.

I’ll make no bones about the three episodes here all being pretty basic plots for shows like these. What makes it work for me, or at least works enough that I’ll ignore some of the more basic elements of the storylines, is that I really just like the characters a lot. Both the design and the portrayal of Mizuho really works for me.

The opening episode is the typical confusing one that starts off oh so well. Since it’s summer break, Kei and Mizuho have headed down to Okinawa to spend some time together, surprisingly paid for by Kei’s aunt and uncle. This is time meant for the two of them to really be themselves around each other and to hopefully really get to know each other well. The opening few minutes with them at the beach playing in the surf and then chatting while driving along is great.

Then, of course, they come across someone working on a human powered plane along the side of the road. Naturally, it’s one of the other teachers from school and he’s brought down a small group of students to help him with his project. So instead of the quiet getaway, now we’ve got Hyouske and friends here. So Kei sneaks out of the car and everyone comes to meet Mizuho. And it can’t go only that far! They’re all also staying at the same hotel! So instead of some really romantic time there, once Kei is caught up with, the kids all end up together late into the night while the teachers talk away.

This episode is really good even with the obvious areas. While Kei gets distracted by Herikawa after playing cards till one in the morning, Mizuho spends her evening getting all cleaned up and sexy while waiting for Kei to come back to the room. What’s really surprising is that Kaede ends up through circumstances getting Hyouske into her room at the end of the night. This brings about a new set of circumstances that later on affects our primary relationship couple in an interesting way. The entire vacation episode is a lot of fun and just beautifully designed and animated.

The next two episodes bring into play some new elements, elements that I really should have expected but didn’t. While things have been chaotic enough and Kei and Mizuho haven’t even really kissed yet, never mind really confessed their feelings, Mizuho’s mother and younger sister arrive from their planet to come see how things are, having heard about the marriage. Hatsuho, her mother, looks only a few years older than Mizuho and has more purplish hair. And she is lovingly stacked at that. With the two of them side by side, it’s darn hard to tell who you should flirt with first. This of course causes problems for Minoru, especially since Hatsuho doesn’t look like she could have someone as old as Mizuho.

Hatsuho is pretty much in favor of the marriage, but she’s also fairly interested in Kei herself, but mostly just to tease her daughter. With her commenting on how much Kei looks like her own Earth husband, it gets to be too much for Mizuho at times. The real trouble here comes from Maho, the spunky black haired younger sister who doesn’t think Kei is good enough for Mizuho. Maho ends up trying all kinds of things to express her displeasure with Kei, going too far at one point even. Maho’s pretty much the kind of character you expect and see in a number of series, and she plays out the role pretty much to form here.

What helps is that when she’s not on screen, we either get some really good moments between Kei and Mizuho as they deal with the in-laws being there or we’re dealing more with the Kaede and Hyouske relationship. All of these moments are good and work well, helping the episodes to rise above the mediocre base plots themselves. Both of these relationships manage to move on nicely here and provide some good teen angst and emotions. For me, it all comes down to just enjoying watching Mizuho. Mmmm, Mizuho.

Please Teacher continues to be a very enjoyable show, from its pacing to its animation and design. It’s mired at times in the basic plots of most romantic series, but manages to rise above it at enough times to allow it to grow nicely. This is one of those good heartwarming series.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Music Clip #1 Trailer,Textless Opening,Textless Ending,Design Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD Recorder, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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