The Ultimate Teacher
Having recently pulled this classic VHS out of a dusty box, I thought it would be a sin not to review such an excellent example of Japanese animation. Ultimate Teacher was one of my first introductions to anime back in the mid 90’s, alongside classic’s such as Akira, The Guyver and Ghost in the Shell. However, unlike the other films listed, UT fell out of circulation when it never appeared on DVD, dooming it to an eternity of obscurity. This doesn’t mean that’s it’s a bad film, far from it, it just means that very few people will get to see without a m
Despite its age, made way back in 1988 (but dubbed in English), its surprising how good and refreshing it was to re-watch this short but violent 60 minute anime. I’ll be the first to admit that you do need to have a certain type of humor to appreciate some of the films gags, which consist mostly of bizarre tongue in cheek moments, but its these little layers that make the film so enjoyable.
The Films premise is simple enough. A genetic experiment breaks free from a lab and decides to become a teacher at a run down school. But the local gang has other plans in mind, led by the beautiful but deadly Hinako. There’s more, but trying to give any real depth or feel to this movie in a few short paragraphs is difficult, as there is so much that goes on in it’s short run time. The film is a mix of colorful characters, wacky dialogue and bizarre set ups. Its like a crazy cocktail of random ingredients that just really work well together.
It’s fun and over the top, filled with undertones of prepubescent sexuality and crazed machismo . With it’s strange obsession with panties, it always teeters on the edge of being perverted but never really crosses that line. It’s undertones of young sexuality are usually overshadowed by the burst of violent clashes or buried under copious amounts of hilarious dialogue. Seriously, some of the background character chatter is laugh out loud funny, with peoples comments on the situation taking center stage to the action. I love the unapologetic randomness about the whole film, men appearing from within microwaves, skeletons and goblins spilling out of walls (with little reaction from the characters) and heads growing and shrinking in size as they scream dialogue, its so mad and crazy that I can’t help but love it!
The music is beautiful and ghastly at the same time. The beginning and ending theme is a beautifully haunting piece but is sadly short lived. It feels like a small part of a much bigger piece, but as soon as it starts to play, it’s instantly blotted out by loud forgettable action music. There is even a song thrown in half way through which has stuck with me as an earbug for many years.
As for the dubbing, you may be surprised to hear that their are actually two different English langue versions. Interestingly, the UK dubbed version is vastly superior to the US. The UK version tried its best to translate from its native Japanese, and didn’t really care to much if the dialogue was gabbled and nonsensical, it’s all part of the fun. In the US version, the parts that didn’t translate very well were re-written, resulting in less quirky conversations. To sum up, the US version was less fun and the voice actors seemingly phoned-in their performances. The UK dubb was more loud, proud and ridiculously over acted, especially from Marc Smith, whose hilarious performance as Ganbachi makes the movie.
The Ultimate Teacher was one of my first Anime’s, and I guess it will always hold a special place in my twisted black heart. I’m glad that it has not lost any of its charm and that I still enjoy it’s quirky humour and mad cap violence many years later. This black comedy is odd, violent and thoroughly entertaining.. With a great sound track and humorous voice cast, depending on which version you watch of course!. Sadly, there was never any transfer to DVD or Blu-ray and so this film is destined, for now at least, to forever be a VHS dropout.
Here’s to hoping for a DVD/Blu-Ray transfer in the near future. Until then, grab your velvet pussy panties handy, learn your lessons well and keep you dreams dry.
Reviewed by Luke
- Story 46% 46%
- Scares 15% 15%
- Gore 11% 11%
- Music 51% 51%