What They Say:
When tasked to clean out the old dorms, Kagami and his students stumble upon the ghost of a former classmate. All she wants to do is pass on to the next life but is having a little trouble. Are they up for this spiritual lesson? Things heat up when conflict arises between a gang leader and pop idol. Are street smarts more important than school smarts? Once things start to calm down, even Kagami’s most troubled students start settling into better lives.
Realizing that he’s neglected things he used to care about like his blog, figurines, and anime, Kagami begins to question if teaching is where he truly belongs. When the opportunity to work on his Anywhere Door arises, he’ll have to make a tough choice. What does Kagami really yearn to do: teach or research!?
The audio presentation for this series is one that’s pretty appropriate as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo along with the English language dub, which doesn’t get an unnecessary 5.1 upgrade, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The show does have its outlandish moments at times and that’s well handled with the way placement works across the forward soundstage, but a lot of it is just your kind of standard dialogue piece with silly bits and some fantastical elements thrown in from time to time. The show works well with the way it tends to focus on just a few characters at a time for the most part but it shows off just a touch more toward the end with more characters around as the size of the groupings grow. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes for this set are spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by A-1 Pictures, the show has a bright and colorful look to it that adds to the kind of cheery approach it takes. That’s encoded well as the colors are solid and there’s plenty of pop throughout since our lead character is a bright one himself. The backgrounds have a decent look to them as they have a good amount of detail without going for the crazy overdone realism but also not going far in the direction of cartoonishness. The character animation is solid throughout and the few high motion scenes are well handled with no problems. The encoding is essentially free of noticeable problems such as macroblocking or line noise but there are a few areas where gradients are visible, something that’s in the source itself but more noticeable in high definition presentations.
The packaging design for this release brings us a slightly thicker than normal Blu-ray case that has an o-card which mirrors the case artwork itself. The cover is definitely a bright and eye-catching piece as we get the main cast spread out over it, mostly in smaller form so that lots of them can be in it, and it has a good kind of busy about it with the action lines and the bright red background. There’s a lot to take in and it’s fun to notice the individual character details and how much they get in there. The logo is still one of the worst I’ve seen though as it’s just ugly looking. The back cover carries the red background across it sans action lines and it uses some notepaper to bring out the summary of the premise. That takes up a lot of space but works well to convey the basics. We get a small selection of decently sized shots along the right as well as the extras. The bottom is more problematic as the production and technical information is done as small black text on a dark red background, making it hard to see without a lot of light focused on it. While there are no show related inserts with the show we do get artwork on the reverse side where the left panel has a cute image of Kagami alongside the breakdown of the episodes by number and title with the extras while the right side has a look at a lot of the supporting characters in their fantasy costumes.
The menu design for this release is kept simple but busy as we get the static image approach that dominates the real estate here. And they’re fun ones that work similar to the front cover, using some of that artwork in fact, where it’s just a massive cast filled piece with everyone in front of the academy. It’s bright and colorful with all the costumes in play and the sky blue itself. The logo, again, is the main detractor. The navigation strip is nicely in-theme this time around as it uses the notebook paper approach with some nice font design using the blue and pink to give it a little more pop and fun. It looks good when used as the pop-up menu as well during playback.
The extras for this release are what you’d call Funimation standard and that’s a welcome thing to have with any release. We get the inclusion of the clean opening and closing sequences and we also get two newly produced English language dub commentaries from the actors talking about their characters and the show itself.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I had gone into the first half of Ultimate Otaku Teacher with a pretty open mind since I like shows that can manage its otaku-ness well and make fun at itself. There were some decent moments of that early on in the series but it ended up being fairly well sidetracked by things that just took it further and further outside the realm of “normal” in a lot of ways, becoming more of a fantastical show to some degree. Losing that grounded edge and then getting stuck into what felt like half the first cour dealing with the whole virtual video game world removed more of the otakuness of things and made it less and less interesting.
That’s a bit less of a problem this time around but it’s something that the show doesn’t recover from for me. And instead of the gaming side, which does get a few nods here and there, it mostly swaps it out for another problematic all too familiar arc later in this half of the show with the idol side of things that’s tied into some gang material as well. This deals with Taki, a delinquent of sorts that formed up a gang to keep her friends close after the original one was broken up by her sister and fellow member previously. The whole bit with the sister, the idol aspect, and less than interesting “gang” material to it with Junichi essentially brought in to try and keep the peace between everyone simply feels ill-formed. And as it progresses over three or four episodes it just doesn’t do itself any favors as the weak foundation for it just makes the whole thing unsteady and not all that interesting either as the characters are basically designed just for the single arc with nothing else to really define them by.
Unfortunately, in its own weird way, that’s one of the more memorable aspects of the show. Even after basically marathoning this over the course of a single day there’s little that really stands out, even as an episodic work at times. The show brings in the character of Tim Bernards Lynn from CERM in order to try and woo Junichi over to their side for projects, and it’s obvious how that will go because the teacher is in the title, and we even get the competition coming toward the end with KEC looking to bring him on board with unlimited funding to work on alternative transportation through teleportation doorways. That brings in a child/intern type with eiko, who is pretty out of touch with the world and that has Junichi working to try and get her to follow her own path rather than the one that others are putting in front of her. There’s not much to work with on the KEC side of characters, though that doesn’t mean the CERM side is any better as Lynn is a fairly one-not character.
Ultimate Otaku Teacher really does the one thing that a comedy series can’t do in that it ended up becoming boring. A good part of that happened toward the end of the first set and I was hopeful it could course correct here. But it never really found its footing and this half spent so much time away from the school and students that when it does reconnect briefly at the end (and with his sister), it’s hard to remember who any of them are or why you should bother trying. The show really needed a tighter focus with its stories, more single episode pieces and more time at the school, along with a lot more otaku material to really drive it home. There’s a lot of potential with the idea but the execution as it adapts from the manga basically kills any interest in it.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Episode 3 Commentary, Episode 9 Commentary, Textless Opening Song – ”Youthful Dreamer”, Textless Closing Song – ”DREAMIN”’, U.S. Trailer, Trailers
Content Grade: C-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: February 21st, 2017
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.