Ima, kore ga hoshiin da! - Onegai Teacher and Jungle Wa Itsumo Hale Nochi GuuJun 21st 2002
I want it now!
by: Allen Divers (boxie at animenewsnetwork.com)
There are certainly quite a few advantages to writing a weekly column as opposed to a standard Anime review. Mostly it revolves around the fact that I can break away from a formatted opening and write in a much more casual tone. It also gives me the opportunity to cover a variety of different topics related to Anime; well, as long as I keep it centered on the idea of "I want it now!"
Last week saw the first special edition of Ima, kore ga hoshiin da! I got an interesting reaction to my opinion ranging from agreement to bewilderment that a person could be so anal when it comes to a DVD release. Well, as a weird tie-in to last week's column, I'll continue with a bit of Animeigo news. This week, Animeigo announced their tentative schedule for the better part of this year and next. Most of their titles fall into the category of "I want it now": On DVD. Except for You're Under Arrest, all of these titles have seen previous VHS and/or Laser Disc releases in the last few years. With DVD being the format of choice, these titles have a ready-made audience with the hands outstretched. With the box sets, expect them to be pre-order only (Urusei Yatsura's box sets definitely are). You can read the actual releases in a previous news article here!
Anime Expo is two weeks away. This convention is viewed as the major event for the summer. Seen more as an industry trade show than actual convention, this one is where the big boys come to announce who is king of the hill. There should be quite a lot of acquisition announcements as well as teasers to what shows the various companies are planning to grab up.
News from Akon reported that a Bandai Japan official was trying to hock out Galaxy Angels and Onegai Teacher. The former was covered here a few columns back, so check out the synopsis there.
The second series, Onegai Teacher (Please, Teacher) is a bittersweet romantic comedy. The basic premise is about a High School student named Kei who sees a mysterious woman arrive from space. The next day, she shows up as his teacher. Recognizing each other from the night before, Mizuho confronts Kei and ends up in a compromising situation. To save face, Kei's uncle makes up a story that the two of them are married. Most of the early episodes center around Kei and Mizuho adjusting to each other and trying to keep things a secret from his friends. The rest of the series centers around Kei's rare disease which makes him "stop" when he is distressed.
Onegai Teacher is a short series, having only 12 episodes. Punctuated with comic moments, the series has a very romantic core of destined love. The series did well enough in Japan that a special OVA episode is scheduled for release later this year. With the news that representatives from Japan are actively pushing it for the North American audience, we could expect a release as early as the end of this year. The show is a bit heavy in drama, focusing more on story and character development than action sequences. It has its moments of action, but again it's more about the drama. This is a solid series, which can do quite well in North America.
Another series I'm hoping to hear something about at AnimeExpo is Jungle Wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu. A loose translation of that title is, The Jungle was always nice, then came Guu. Jungle centers around a young boy named Hale who lives alone with his mother in a small Jungle village. With his mother being a bit lazy, Hale is left to do the cleaning and cooking, as well as be the adult in that relationship. One night, while returning home from school, Hale runs into something very strange. He awakes to find himself back at home and his Mom waiting to introduce him to a young girl named Guu. Hale learns quickly that there is more to Guu than meets the eye, as she is able to change her appearance from a cute little girl to a more stern looking character.
This show is all about comedy. From Hale's relationship with his mother, and the truth behind Guu: all is played for laughs. The art and animation are bright and colorful, with almost cartoonish character designs. The writing and pacing of the show stay pretty frantic with poor Hale being the center of it all. The series premiered on TV with 26 episodes and a special OVA is planned for this summer. This is a very strange title, but should appeal well to North American audiences. The humor is pretty universal in nature, and doesn't need a Japanese pun/pop culture reference guide to get the big jokes. With its high quality animation and universal appeal, its actually amazing no one has picked this up yet.
It always seems to be the big action drama type Anime that get the big news since North American animation tends to focus towards kids, but occasionally these more niche titles manage to make their way here. At times, there seems like there's so much being produced in Japan that there aren't enough companies in North America to handle every title. Here's hoping that many of my favorite niche titles make an appearance at AnimeExpo!