Japanese animation usually falls into genre categories. There
are science fiction shows, romance programs, swords and sorcery series,
historical dramas, and comedies. All of these have counterparts in
American TV shows too. But there is one genre that seems to be unique
to Japanese culture, as far as I can determine. That is the "one
guy forced to live with five women" show. You would think being surrounded
by lovely women would be great. Well, not in these shows. One
of the characteristics is that the girls always make the main character's
life miserable. The most famous examples are the various Tenchi series
where one average schoolboy finds himself surrounded by a number of gorgeous
space babes. Love, Hina is another example. I really
like these types of shows, so I was excited when I heard that ADV was going
to be releasing another series in this unique genre, the funny Happy
Chitose is a high school boy who has had a hard time. His parents
both died in an accident, and he was raised in an orphanage until he was
old enough to live in the house he inherited. He gets into fights
in school a lot, and makes horrible grades. His teachers notice that
he is having problems, and it brings out the maternal instinct in them.
One afternoon five of his teachers show up at his house unexpectedly.
They have each decided to adopt him! Since they can't decide who
should be his 'mama' they all move in and take the job. Chitose wants
to keep this a secret, from everyone at school, which is more difficult
than it sounds. What could be worse for a high school student than
having five mothers, and all of them being your teachers? Having
these five oddball teachers as your mother!
There are an ample five episodes on this DVD:
Exciting Teacher Moms: It
is time for parent teacher conferences at school, and the five moms can't
decide who should show up for Chitose's meeting. So they decide to
have a contest to see who can be nicest to him, the winner getting to go
to the conference. Will poor Chitose be able to survive all this
Happy – Let's Study: Chitose
is doing horrible in all his classes, so Mutsuki, the classics teacher,
decides to tutor him in all his subjects. She is a taskmaster, making
him study four hours a day after school. Meanwhile, a pair of sleezy
realtors has set their sights on Chitose's house. They take incriminating
photos of Chitose and Mutsuki and threaten to get his teacher fired if
he doesn't sell.
Bye-bye Adieu Spirit of Misfortune:
The lovely Yayoi, the school nurse and another of Chitose's mothers, is
into mysticism. She decides that a spirit of misfortune is plaguing
Chitose, and decided to exorcise it. But will her cure be eve worse
than the spirit?
Unsteady- Which Place is Big Brother's?:
We find out that Chitose has two sisters who grew up with him at the orphanage.
The younger sister goes to school across town, and lives with his older
sister who is a famous pop star! The two sisters want Chitose to
move into their apartment so they can all be together, but Chitose's five
mothers want to keep him too. So they have a series of contests to
see which group gets to live with Chitose.
Freezing- A Night is a Blizzard:
The whole gang goes off on a family vacation to a ski resort. When
it is discovered that Chitose can't ski, the PE teacher, Satsuki, offers
to give him lessons. The only problem is her idea of teaching him
to ski is to push him down the steepest slope. Chitose is doing well
until he, along with Satsuki who is trailing along, fall off a cliff and
break their skis. To make matters worse, it is starting to snow,
and getting dark.
These five episodes were a lot of fun. I liked it better than
Love, Hina, which is very similar. Like Hina, there
isn't a lot of character development. Everybody has a personality
trait, and that defines his or her role in the series. But that's
what makes the show so much fun. The five teachers all have very
quirky personas that are the source of much of the comedy in the series.
While the plots are simplistic, there are lots of laughs in each show.
There really isn't a bigger plot to this show like there usually is
in anime series. There wasn't any continuity between episodes, with each
chapter being a self-contained story.
This DVD has a Japanese stereo sound track with optional English subtitles
and an English dub in 5.1. Both were very good. While I wish
that the original language track was in 5.1 also, I couldn't complain about
the sound quality. The dialog was clean, and there was no distortion
or other audio problems. The English 5.1 track had a bit more punch
to it, and used the soundstage a bit more. The voice actors were
very good. I was quite impressed. There were not any stupid
accents or phony sounding voices. While I prefer the Japanese track,
I enjoyed the English dub as well.
The picture on this show had a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The colors
were bright and vivid, as one would expect from a recent show. There
was a little more than average amount of digital defects. There was
a fair bit of aliasing and tightly spaced parallel lines would shimmer
as the camera moved over them. It wasn't distracting, but it was
very noticeable. Other than that, it was a great looking DVD.
This disc had the standard extras that we've come to expect on an anime
DVD. There was a section of character sketches; clean opening and
closing animation; and a selection of trailers. There was also a
mini poster insert that included character profiles and voice actress interviews
on the back.
If you enjoyed Love, Hina or the Tenchi series, you owe it to yourself
to check this show out. The episodes are funny, and the teachers
fairly strange. While this is not a deep show, it is fun light
entertainment. Highly Recommended.