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Should You Be Hot For "Please Teacher?"

So, you’ve essentially been in a coma for three years. That’s a bummer. You have to move into a new town, go to a new school, fake that you’re fifteen… and imagine all the television you missed. But when a hot alien babe is your teacher, can you get past your unique physical disability of “Standstill?” Kei Kusanagi’s forced to deal with this when he meets Ms. Mizuho Kazami, an observer from the Galactic Federation. Married to her within days of meeting her, Kei has to move forward without letting his friends know he’s hot for teacher.

Episodes included in The Complete Collection:
Episodes 1-13 (The Complete Series)

With the recent release of the spin-off series Please Twins, Bandai has decided to go back and put out Please Teacher in a complete collection. Containing all thirteen episodes of this lighthearted romp, does this series set and make the grade, or will it, like Kei, have to go back a few years and take some remedial classes?

Kei Kusanagi is a regular, everyday 18 year old living with his uncle and aunt. Well, he’d be regular if it weren’t for the fact he was pretending to be 15, still in High School, and had a crippling physical disorder. It turns out that when he is under extreme stress, or just can’t cope with what’s going on, his body goes into “Standstill,” a coma-like state. When an emotionally scarring event sends him into shock, all his cells slow down, bodily functions minimize, and he goes unconscious. Now, if it’s something minor, he’ll be out for a day. A while back though, he went into a standstill for three years. Upon waking up, he finds all of his former friends have either moved on or become jerks. To start anew (he never DID finish High School), he moves in with his uncle at his medical practice, enrolls at the local High School, and gets a rather sizable social circle.

Ladies first, so we’ll start off with Koishi, a girl with a major crush on Kei. For a dry, humorous high schooler, Ichigo is rather tiny, but wise beyond her years. Lastly is Kaede, a shy and insecure girl. For the guys, Kaede ends up falling in love with Hyosuke, a brash and idiotic man looking for love. If Hyosuke’s looking for some action on Earth, Matagu’s looking at the sky for aliens, as well as for love.

But the one day he’s not looking, Kei is. Outside of the lake, Kei is surprised to see an alien spaceship land and a woman appear outside of it. Rather normal for animé, right? Kei goes to bed, since school starts up the next day. When he gets to school, he finds out they have a new teacher: Mizuho Kazami, the same woman he saw last night. Though she’s something of a ditz and a crybaby at times, even occasionally juvenile and naive, you’d better learn to like her because she’s the female lead. Going home, he even finds that she’s his new neighbor! Helping her move in, he finds some alien technology. Agreeing to keep her immigration to Earth a secret, they end up being found together. The only way for her to keep her job is to come clean to the Principal: Kei’s really 18, and they are actually married.

Well, they’ll have to be now. Almost Three’s Company-like in its origin, within three episodes, the main characters meet and are married. They had to get to the plot soon enough. Mainly, this series focuses on the love story between the two characters. Will they end up finding love when thrown together to save both of their butts, but keep appearances as a standard student and teacher? The other characters try their best to find love, with Hyosuke and Kaede dealing with a relationship they doubt will work out and Koishi dealing with her own crushes. Even little Ichigo has a rather important plot near the end with her own secrets and desire for love.

Heavy on the comedy and romance, the series is definitely a fun ride if you’ve ever been a high schooler in love, or wanting to be in love, or just find alien anime babes hot. That’s not to say it’s perfect. Kei does some stupid things (you begin to yell at him for taking so long to hook up with Mizuho) and Mizuho gets a little whiney. You hate Hyosuke for actually finding love if you connect with the luckless Matagu, and generally you realize these guys live much more interesting lives than you do. Kei’s backstory isn’t completely fleshed out either. Though we get a flashback scene explaining what happened to put him in his standstill, it comes off partly as some existential metaphysical “can you accept reality” question. If Kei can learn to move forward, it must be possible.

Despite its lighthearted fun at times, the plot even brings up some philosophical questions. Would you sacrifice your enjoyment of life to better someone else’s? Should you pursue a relationship that is bound not to work out? And how does that Marie floating robot thing mate exactly?

Animation, direction, and acting are all solid, and considering how recent the series is (2002), that’s not really a surprise. The final episode definitely employs more slapstick and/or “Japanese humor,” but the majority of the series is pretty down-to-Earth and free of big heads yelling at each other. Content-wise the series only occasionally goes past what you could see on The WB; there’s nudity, but you never see anything graphic, and even then the nudity is kept to a minimum.

Extras are a mixed bag. While there is a good amount, and they are lengthy, some of them are just way too long. You get two trailers for the series, three music videos, multiple commercials, promos, previews, design galleries, textless openings and endings, Bandai Previews, and a special “Marie Love Theatre” that has to be seen to be believed. While that seems plentiful, none of it is really informative (outside of the design galleries), and some of the trailers and promos seem to be variations of one another.

The packaging could have been better. The case is kind of overkill for a four-disc set when thin packs or another style of case (two two-disc Amarays?) would have been slimmer. While there are tabs for an insert, you don’t get anything included in the packaging.

While the series could be better, and the actual box could definitely use an improvement, I can easily recommend Please Teacher as a solid romantic comedy. If you want something less crazy than Love Hina and less action-oriented than Tenchi Muyo! but with a good love story and some drama mixed in, grab it. It may not be a Priority One, but it should definitely be closer to the top of the list than the bottom.

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