Ultimate Teacher, The
One of the important things with a review site is learning the bias and limitations of the reviewer. Several people who don't get this have e-mailed me wondering how I can fail to get the humor and cheerful sense of excess in certain shows. Well, those people can just live with it, because here's another low brow piece of rubbish that I could easily have done without.
I would like to thank Louis Patterson for locating this material and the University of Melbourne for owning it and providing viewing facilities. Although it was probably the Melbourne Teachers College (my old school) that actually bought the material. This anime was on Laser-disc, a mysterious and archaic (not to mention chunky) medium.
It all began in a government funded top secret laboratory hidden under a reception center. Here smart people with silly ideas labored away to make their visions into reality. Needless to say, and as always seems to be the case, their creation proved to be greater than they expected and seized his freedom.
Step forward in time a bit to the worst high school in Japan. The buildings look post apocalyptic and every student a gangster in training. The principal tearfully admits that the only people willing to teach here are criminals or cult recruiters. But his new teacher, a huge guy with some strange behaviours, loves the environment and the opportunity to show his stuff. He's the ultimate teacher after all and fears nothing.
And, in part, he's motivated by the vision of an innocent young maiden he saw on the way to the school. An obviously intelligent and virtuous young girl with a great future, going to school herself. He dreams of a school full of such people. And thus it comes as quite a shock to discover that this attractive young girl is in fact a tough and strong fighter who holds sway over all the gangs and punks of the school. However, once he recovers, he knows that to dominate the school he must not only defeat but humble this girl...and so the fight is on.
It's not a great story, but the story's not really a large part of this anime anyway. What it really boils to is this. If you take your anime seriously, prize subtlety, story and character you will find this to be one of the most idiotic, ugly and staggeringly un-funny anime ever made. I fall into this category and must say I was seriously considering destroying this disk to protect others. It was a waste of 60 minutes of my life and I'd be horrified to find others getting introduced to anime through this title.
However I do understand that there exists a shadowy underground. A group of people for whom no idea is too stupid, no scene too excessive and the sheer lack of restraint and taste a positive virtue. The sort of people who like `junk' film and one long, fairly simplistic, joke made into a movie. I simply cannot acquire this mindset, not even sure I want to try that hard, but these are the only people who might enjoy this title.
However for normal anime fans I recommend giving this title a wide berth. The basic premise is stupid, the visual and verbal jokes are embarrassingly simplistic and the lack of taste is awe-inspiring. The plot boils down to a fight between the super powered `ultimate teacher', who's basically just an insane thug, and the super powered student. There's a major sub-plot about hello kitty gym shorts which is both stupid, tasteless and must have the creators of hello kitty products feeling very ill indeed. The fights themselves are chaotic, somewhere between slapstick and truly violent. As if the cheerfully excessive violence is just another long and drawn out joke.
Effectively the authors aren't taking it seriously and don't really expect you to either. On the other hand they seem to be under the severe delusion that they are being `clever' and `amusing'. The belief that the lack of any discernible taste translates into `energy' and `rough charm'. It may work for some, but it's a specialist taste (schlock?) that I don't share.
Adding to this cheap and nasty feeling is the animation, it's really ugly. The reasonable but over the top background paintings completely fail to merge with the simple and flat animation. The character designs are intentionally ugly, apart from the female lead (got to have fan service somewhere) and most feel very `stock'. The motion animation would like to be clever and manic but is poorly animated with a very clunky sense of movement. The visual jokes, and super deformed moments, serve only to prove that even `gag' anime needs a firm sense of control...something completely lacking here. The voices are quite weak and I certainly didn't notice any music of interest.