Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: A-
- 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 Way Jeng
September 14, 2003
Release Date: July 08, 2003
Heading into the body of the show Please Teacher returns for a round of three highly entertaining episodes. In some ways this disc offers more depth than the previous episodes have had. The disc includes some serious relationship plots that add a great deal of complexity to the show, and while it still doesn't do anything revolutionary this is still one of the funniest and most entertaining series to come along in a long while.
Picking up where the first disc left off the second disc develops the relationships we've already seen and takes them to their logical extensions. This is all set up in the first episode on the disc, the fifth in the series as a whole. Kei and Mizuho go to a tropical island resort to have a honeymoon. As always the powers of fate can't allow him a slow minute, so the gang shows up on the island while helping one of the other teachers. Predictably, they run into Kei and Mizuho almost immediately upon arrival, and hilarity ensues. We also see a few plots set up, such as an encounter between Kaede and Hyosuke, and a more direct attempt by Koishi to express her feelings for Kei.
In the second episode the seeds planted in the first episode are expanded upon, and new plots are started. In the beginning of the episode Mizuho's mother, Hatsuho, and sister, Maho, visit from outer space. Hatsuho seems like a somewhat older and more mature version of Mizuho, but Maho is absolutely hilarious as an angry spitfire who's convinced Kei isn't good enough for Mizuho and wants them to break up at any cost. The effect is only magnified by the fact that she's a little girl dressed in a frilly dress and ribbons.
For all the laughs to be found in this episode, and there are a considerable number, this is possibly the most serious episode in the series so far. Besides the usual angst Kei suffers as a result of constantly trying to figure out his relationship with Mizuho there's a considerable amount of time dedicated to Hyosuke and Kaede figuring out what happens next after their tryst in the first episode.
The third episode basically picks up where the second episode leaves off, and while there's no cliffhanger between the two the third episode is in many ways the logical conclusion of the second. In this episode we see the resolution of the plot with Hatsuho and Maho.
However, much more pivotal to the series is a moment where Koishi confronts Kei with her feelings for him and wants to know if he returns them. It's impossible to say for sure without having seen later episodes, but this had the feeling of a major watershed in the series. It's the sort of moment where Kei is forced to finally make a decision on what he wants, and what he's going to do about it. It's hard to imagine Kei not ending up with Mizuho when everything's said and done, but in some ways it's unfortunate. Koishi is such a likeable and genuine character that it's hard to not root for her too.
Overall the second disc of Please Teacher is an excellent continuation of the series. In addition to the added complexities to the romances in the show many of its potential problems are addressed. In this disc there's less emphasis on the overused jokes of the first disc such as Mizuho declaring everything a priority one. If anything remains it's the fact that Kei can't cut a break for a moment, but that's such an important element of the show that it's hard to imagine the series without it. If this disc has any problem it's that there are only three episodes, and as enjoyable as they are it just doesn't feel like enough.
This turns out to be a complicated issue as they both have different goals in life and aren't sure if being together would be good for either of them. Kei ends up helping the two figure things out because he's afraid if they let it go too long it'll be too late to do anything, and in so doing realizes he needs to accelerate his own relationship or risk that it might not go anywhere, either.
For the audio I'll be commenting on the English language track. Voice acting for the episodes continues to be good. The performance for Hatsuho left nothing to complain about. Maho sounds both young and devilish, making for an excellent performance. Perhaps most surprising was that the acting during the more serious segments of the series were done very well, though Kaede's voice still sounds forced in some occasions. For a character generally relegated to comic relief Hyosuke has a much stronger performance in his serious conversations with Kaede than would be expected from a minor character.
Musically the show continues the same as the previous disc, so viewers who enjoyed the music of the first disc won't be disappointed. The same is true of the sound effects.
Visually this disc is as good as the first, and does well in any league. Adding two minor characters for a couple episodes the second disc of Please Teacher doesn't have a lot of new character designs to show off, but both Hatsuho and Maho are well-detailed characters. We also see Miruru, who looks similar Marie save for coloration and doesn't rate much further attention. The first episode on the disc offers some very attractive scenes at the beach that offer first rate fanservice. Backgrounds are well detailed, and just like the first disc have a serene and natural feel to them.
Packaging for this disc is excellent. The cover shows a picture of Mizuho, this time without glasses, and spine of the case is labeled with the volume number. The back has shots from the episodes, a short synopsis, and includes episode titles as well as the count. The cover is fully reversible, the reverse showing a picture of Kaede. The insert shows the same picture as the cover for the front, and folds out to a mini-poster of Kei and Mizuho. Also on the insert is a full listing of the credits, including those for the English production. This is especially important for this show because the closing credits aren't translated.
Menus for this disc continue the blackboard and grading theme established in the first disc. It's an appropriate enough theme for the show, and doesn't make navigation through the menus any more difficult, so overall it's a good implementation. Access times are fast, and choices are clearly visible. It should also be noted that the main menu and extras menus both have fairly long music looped for them. The extras menu features an instrumental version of the closing music that's a pleasure to listen to.
Extras for this disc are quite plentiful. First there's a musical clip which basically plays the closing song for the show while showing a montage scenes from the show and some of the background artwork. It functions as a decent recap of the show for anybody who's already seen it, and runs about four minutes. Second is a trailer for the show. Much like the long trailer included on the first disc it's not clear how effective a trailer this is. The plot of the show itself isn't explained very well, and the trailer features mostly text and stills of the characters.
Next are clean versions of the opening and closing sequences. Anybody who's seen a clean open should know what to expect, basically just the opening sequence of the show without the obstruction of the credits to allow the viewer to better appreciate the artwork and animation. The clean close is the same, save that it's the closing sequence rather than the opening. Both are solid additions to any extras.
Finally is a design gallery. This time the characters Kaede, Hyosuke, Hatsuho, Maho, Miruru, and Nacchan (a minor character appearing in the first episode on the disc) are shown. The gallery is quite large, and generally shows several images per page. It's especially interesting to see the design sketches for Hatsuho and Maho, as characters as minor as these two aren't generally given this level of attention in a design gallery.
Comments? E-mail me at BitRMann@aol.com
Sharp 13" television, Microsoft Xbox