Anime of Tomorrow
Please Teacher! (review)
Winter 2002 (12 episodes)
Kei Kusanagi is a high school student who was affected by a strange disorder that literally stopped his time a few years ago. Falling into a coma-like state, he didn’t even age as the rest of the world passed him by. Mizuho Kazami is an alien who is on a mission to conduct field research by posing as a teacher at his rural high school. When Kei inadvertently discovers the truth about her, he is forced to marry her to cover up the misleading circumstances that lead to her mistake and to ensure that he keeps her secret from the rest of the world. What follows is the tenuous relationship between the two of them that slowly evolves into an awkward romance.
I’ve heard people call this anime a classic—a throwback to an older time when anime was younger and simpler. I think these people have some pretty big nostalgia blinders on because not only has Please Teacher aged very poorly by every metric you could think of, it doesn’t even compare very favorably to other anime of its own era. This is a romance anime that makes Love Hina look like it was written by Shakespeare.
Most anime that are bad come right out and own up to their awfulness in a way that lets you know it was created with the intention of just having fun and providing something brainless for you to kill segments of your life in twenty-three minute packets. But I’m having trouble thinking of another anime that is bad in the same way as Please Teacher because it has a tone of seriousness that gives the impression that its creators actually believed they were making something deep and worthwhile. It throws around stereotypical tropes such as the alien girlfriend, unexplained supernatural tragedies affecting the lives of the main characters, a romantic rivalry with a childhood friend and a spineless male protagonist that manages to barely grow a little cartilage by the end of the series. Traps bad romance anime still fall into even to this day.
If that wasn’t bad enough the voice actors sound less enthusiastic than the intentional bad-acting in Adventures of Mikuru Asahina (the purposefully amateurish first episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) and Mizuho and her mother and sister have this overused one-liner that wears you out like you’re reading a glossy cardboard-paged picturebook to a one-year-old. The only good I can possibly think coming out of this anime was the result of popularizing Pocky in America, but that’s no reason to give this series the venerated status of a genre-defining work.
Personally, I’d very much like to get back the time I wasted watching and rewatching this series in order to recall all the references Ano Natsu makes to Please Teacher (as it turns out, not that many). My recommendation? Only watch this series if you’re really, REALLY interested in the small amount of trivia that ties it together with the vastly superior Ano Natsu or if you want to experience a piece of anime history that is probably worth forgetting.