Review

by Christopher Macdonald, Oct 31st 2003

Onegai Teacher

Synopsis:
Onegai Teacher
When Kei Kusanagi discovers his new home room teacher is in fact an alien, things start to get a little strange. They get even stranger when an unlikely series of circumstances forces the high school student to marry his alien teacher in order to protect her secret. But then even their marriage has to be kept a secret, and matters are complicated further by Kei's odd illness that causes him to become comatose for long periods of time.
Review:
Male high-school student is forced to marry his beautiful, somewhat naïve homeroom teacher…sound familiar? Everything about the scenario of Onegai Teacher will have you thinking it's another silly, slapstick, fan-service heavy shonen romance; a bit like Love Hina without the harem. But the Onegai Teacher manga is nothing like the old archetype.

While Onegai Teacher is light-hearted, and there are a few funny situations, for the most part it's not really a comedy. At its core, Onegai Teacher is a surprisingly sweet and romantic story about two people who end up together for the wrong reasons but try to make the best of it. Secrecy challenges their love for one another, as no one but KEI's relatives and Mizuho's boss (the school principal) can know about their relationship. Although lighthearted, the story isn't all fluff. Through the course of the two volumes KEI and Mizuho are subject to a number of trials and tribulations, both as a couple and individually. KEI is forced to come to grips with certain aspects of his past, as well as a sticky relationship with someone he cares about; while Mizuho is eventually called to task for breaking a number of the rules that bind her as a Galaxy Reporter. Although the drama is there, due to the story's limited length (only 2 volumes) it doesn't prolong or over-exaggerate the various issues as is common in many other romantic drama manga and shoujo. Rather than being major plot points in themselves, most of the issues brought up are used to guide the development of the relationship that KEI and Mizuho have with each other.

Artistically, Onegai Teacher scores high marks. It's pleasing to read, the character designs are simple yet attractive, and no two characters look alike. Every character's design matches his or her personality. It's easy to believe the characters, would dress themselves and style their hair in the exact way they are designed. KEI is fairly nondescript, there's nothing remarkable about the way he looks, but then he's supposed to be a rather quiet and nondescript high-school student. Mizuho, on the other hand, is the gorgeous girl next door, blessed with a beautiful figure and face but without going overboard as can be so common in anime and manga. Both characters, as well as the supporting characters, receive a lot of attention from the artist, and while some panels feature undetailed images, this is mostly for mood setting reasons, as the majority of the panels are fairly well detailed without being overly “busy”. The same can be said for the backgrounds and the shading; everything is detailed but with an appropriate level of moderation.

ComicsOne has opted to go with an interesting, novel, and very intelligent method of dealing with sound effects. They've left the original Kanji sound effects intact and added English translations in the panel right under the Kanji. The English translations are artistically done to match the art, and its very easy to see which sound effect is which, something that isn't true of footnotes appearing on pages with many sound effects. One interesting challenge with the layout that faced ComicOne was the way vertical writing is presented on several pages. The manga is unflipped, so it reads right-to-left, but the vertical text reads in the opposite direction. Although it can be confusing to have to read right-to-left one moment and left-to-right the next, the alternatives were no better. They could have changed the layout slightly, or they could have had the text read right to left. Vertical text reading right to left would have been as confusing for some readers, and changing the layout is always undesirable, as it affects the whole look and feel of the page.



That... Day I met my new teacher. It completely changed everything.


Readers may be disappointed in the story's poorly explained and all-too-convenient ending. Certain things are expected to happen, but in the end something completely different happens, and while the manga gives a brief explanation as to how the final result occurs, it fails to explain why the expected ending does not. But with the exception of not tying up one item related to the end of the story, every other major plot item and side-item is nicely and satisfactorily wrapped up.

While the weak ending may be the biggest technical fault with the manga, the biggest complaint is that it is, in fact, over. Onegai Teacher is a wonderful little story to read, ComicsOne has handled it very well, and it should please any manga fan as long as they have a single romantic bone in their body. At only two volumes, it's very painless to pick it up. But after reading the two volumes, you may be wishing for more.

Sound Effects
Grade:
Production Info:
Story : B+
Art : A

+ Complete, leaves nothing unfinished. Surprisingly touching
Weak ending

Story:Yousuke Kuroda
Art:Shizuru Hayashiya

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Onegai Teacher (manga)

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