Welcome to Winter Watch, a series of articles taking a look at some of the shows in the winter anime season. If you like the Please Teacher! (Onegai Teacher) franchise, like I do, then you probably should be watchingWaiting in the Summer (Ano Natsu de Matteru). The creator of both Please Teacher! and Please Twins! (Onegai Twins),Yousuke Kuroda, is also behind this series. Hopefully, this one will live up to its predecessors.
Episode 1: "I Can't, Sempai"
Summary: Kirishima Kaito, currently in his first year of high school, holds an 8 mm camera in one hand and views the scenery around a lake through its viewfinder. But then a strange light from the sky comes down, and a blast of wind plunges him into the lake. The next time Kaito opens his eyes he's lying in bed in his own room, for some reason. The same day a red-haired girl named Takatsuki Ichika transfers into Kaito's school...
Air Date: Jan. 11, 2012 / Available on Crunchy Roll for Free Users: Jan. 18, 2012
Run Time: 24:00
Warning: This article contains spoilers. We recommend watching the episode HERE first.
In the same manner that the other two Onegai series begin, this first episode is very much a character study with introductions. One night, a mysterious light thrusts Kaito Kirishima, the main character, over the bridge where he was testing his new 8mm camera. This wounds him profoundly but as he falls a woman reaches for his hand. The next morning, he wakes up in his room as if nothing had happened with little recollection of the night before. At school, Kaito and his friends, Kanna, Mio and Tetsuro, discuss their plans for the summer and end up deciding to film a movie. At the same time a new, red-head student, Ichika Takatsuki, arrives on the scene and quickly befriends odd, fellow upper-classmate Remon Yamano. Tetsuro catches on Kaito's interest in this new student and asks Ichika for help in making the movie. Ichika and Remon quickly agree to help, making Kanna jealous and more eager to participate. That's when Kaito's friends spot what appears to be a hickey on his neck. Kaito quickly brushes off the topic of the bruise as he begins to recollect his memories about the fall he had the night before.
After school that day Kaito encounters Ichika and discovers she has no place to live. In an attempt to be nonchalant, he lets his imagination get the best of himself and offers housing. Of course, this leads to trouble as Kaito's older sister, unaware of Ichika, and Kanna -the girl who has a blatant crush on Kaito- are on the way back to his home. Kaito's "hickey" begins to affect his cells making him pass out. Running to his aid, Ichika calls out for Rinon, a gelatin-looking creature that appears out of her suitcase, and kisses Kaito. In the climax of this whole situation Kanna and Kaito's sister enter the house; catching Ichika and a passed out Kaito in a very... awkward embrace.
I can't say much about this first episode without wanting to automatically compare it to Please, Teacher!. The characters, situations and pace are very similar which makes me think that this might not be all that original. Although, that is not all true. The plot has been tweaked here and there but there are some mysteries that make me want to continue watching. What is this bruise that is affecting Kaito's cells? Why don't Tetsuro and Remon wear the same school uniform the rest of the students wear? What the heck is a Rinon?!
The set up throughout the episode is fairly predictable. From the moment that Kaito's sister decided to go on an overseas trip, I could easily guess where the story would end up. Even so, the episode was nicely done and established. It didn't seem forced and I do like the Super 8-like plot (2011 J.J. Abrams film where the characters want to make a movie over their summer break). To me, a good plot and a great cliffhanger always makes a good episode but that doesn't make the characters interesting. Kaito's constant day-dreaming about Ichika made his character a bit annoying and somewhat desecrate. In turn some of the comedic aspects that he was trying to achieve fell short.
Don't think that I am saying this was a bad episode, it's just that since I have Onegai Teacher in mind I still prefer that anime to this one. Still, my favorite part was Kaito's opening phrase:
"People say that when someone dies they can go to heaven. But I don't think that's the case. When someone dies, I'm sure that person journeys into people's hearts. They live on as a memory..."
This is definitively covered with Yousuke Kuroda's fingerprints. From the deep narration and character introductions to the "daring" kissing scene that makes others go: "What the--!?". A true "Onegai" series that lives up to the name. Whether this is a good or a bad thing it is up to you.
-- Geo (sora_thekey) 24/7 geek! -- Follow me on Twitter: @sora_thekey