Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ultimate Otaku Teacher (Denpa Kyōshi)

I feel so incredibly lazy today. I don't feel like blogging or doing anything except lying in bed and listening to my Neil Young "Smell the Horse" soundtrack. But I must blog. I must. I've spent too much money to go out and buy shit so I've no choice but to stay home and do things like blog and sleep and stuff. 

So, running on a diet of eggs, Pepsi, and Crazy Horse, it's time for me to commence the first entry of October. 

Kagami Junichirou is a YD, a guy that does only what he "yearns to do." He spends his days blogging, watching anime, reading manga, and buying anime-related goods. So naturally I felt a kinship with him.  He even wore glasses and had red hair. We could be twins. 

However, Junichirou is a genius that doesn't have a job until his sister forces him to get one. He gets a job as a teacher (I guess they just give those out at the unemployment office), but Junichirou refuses to leave his otaku ways behind. So he does his best at every turn to instill his "YD" lifestyle into each and every student. 

The anime takes your basic "problem of the week" approach to the storytelling. A student will be in some sort of trouble and our resident YD solves the problem in his unique way. He's basically like an otaku version of House. Only instead of being addicted to vicodin he's addicted to figurines. 

As with a lot of "problem of the week" material, while some episodes are strong, it often feels like there isn't an underlying plot somewhere. There's not really any suspense. There's no "Man, I can't wait for next week's episode" feeling. It isn't even until the eighth episode that this anime even presents us with a truly fascinating multi-episode story. 

Araki Koutaro's arc not only contains shades of just about every video game-related anime out there, but it also touches rather seriously on a topic that is taboo. That topic being boys and men that crossdress. Yeah, I don't remember this stuff happening in anime when I was a kid, either. 

In the anime world, there are what are known as "trap" or "otokonoko" characters because there are males that are deliberately drawn as looking closer to females and this happens often enough for some reason. Especially lately. In most anime trap characters are just accepted like normal. And since it's anime and anime has no rules no one bats an eye. 
But in Ultimate Otaku Teacher the "trap" character is more or less given a life in a more realistic scenario. 

What if a long-time truant, after getting to know his classmates through a video game, decides to show up to school one day while dressed in girl's clothing? Would those that befriended him virtually still accept him in real life? 

I didn't see that scenario coming from this silly and relatively harmless anime. The ending of the arc is highly optimistic as far as the plight of the "otokonoko" is concerned, though. It was done so the arc could end cleanly and so that the anime could move on, but I felt that the discrimination factor was underplayed and that his acceptance was a bit too universal too quickly.

This arc was the best part of Ultimate Otaku Teacher because it was so unlike just about anything I'd seen before in anime. It was pretty ballsy stuff. I'm kind of shocked that it got an English dub, but times are a-changin', I suppose. 

Yet once the arc was over Araki Koutaro was basically forgotten about just like the other previous students that had problems solved by Junichirou. It was on to the next problem. This sort of approach, while it can work for a period of time, can't sustain a series for very long. Unless you're Case Closed (which is close 800 episodes now), that is. 

But Ultimate Otaku Teacher isn't as good as Case Closed and there's no way I could have watched this anime if it had been more than 24 episodes. It just wasn't as compelling as it could have been. The nod to Super Sentai (the originators of the Power Rangers) and Doraemon toward the end was neat, but the concluding episode was ultimately a bit lackluster. 

So Ultimate Otaku Teacher gets an average rating from me. Probably won't watch it again, but might if there isn't shit else on. 

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