The Ulitmate Teacher Anime Review
Kyoufu no Baio-Ningen - Saishuu Kyoushi
The Dread Bio-Human - The Final Teacher
US Release By
Street Fighting High School Action Parody
What's In It
- Badass School Girls
- Coolest Coin-Based Weapon Ever
- Weirdness of the Highest Order
- Violence: 2 (moderate)
- Nudity: 2 (moderate)
- Sex: 2 (moderate)
- Language: 1 (mild)
In the year 1991, at Emperor High, the most wretched high school in the Kanto region, gangs run rampant and the teachers live in fear of their students. Enter Ganpachi Chibane, the self proclaimed "Ultimate Teacher." No ordinary teacher would be up to the task, but Ganpachi isn't just any Ultimate Teacher--he is also known as the Fearsome Bioreconstructed Man. Having escaped from a secret government experiment years earlier, Ganpachi has been gifted with strength and fighting abilities far beyond those of any ordinary human, and he's determined to bring discipline to Emperor High, whatever the cost.
But his adversary is the head of all the gangs at Emperor--Shiratori Hinako. She's no ordinary opponent, and isn't about to let him mess up her perfectly good (by her standards, anyway) school, either. But, to complicate matters more, you don't get to the top without making some enemies, and they're bound to side with the new power on campus. Then there's that scientist who has devoted his life to tracking down his escaped experiment. Oh, yes... there's also a little thing that has to do with Lucky Kitty Gym Shorts...
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A forgotten gem of anime insanity, The Ultimate Teacher is utterly bizarre and absolutely tasteless in all the right ways for those with an appropriately warped sense of humor. A parody of anime cliches from street fighting, to youth gangs, to those escaped government experiments that always seem to run amok, it also takes quick pot shots at costumed superheroes (Spider Man fans take note... and be afraid), cool superpowered ninja teams, and a few other categories. Impressively, it manages a surprisingly coherent storyline and sympathetic characters even while lampooning so many genres. It's decent looking for an OAV of its age, and the action even includes a couple mildly cool touches. Also look for a fittingly raucous end theme by popular Japanese rock group Kome Kome Club.
The Ultimate Teacher definitely won't appeal to many people--most will find it too weird for its own good. But for those with the right sense of humor and an affinity for the truly bizarre, it is inspired hilarity that shouldn't be missed, if you can dig it up.
Full ReviewSwitch to Quick Review
A forgotten gem of anime insanity, The Ultimate Teacher is utterly bizarre and absolutely tasteless in all the right ways for those with an appropriately warped sense of humor. For everybody else, it's the sort of weird better left alone.
At first, The Ultimate Teacher looks like just another off-kilter brawling-action-comedy, but things keep getting stranger and stranger until you have to ask yourself just who thought up this madness. If you happen to be blessed (or cursed) with just the right sense of humor (which is to say mine), you may well also find yourself rolling on the floor gasping for breath.
Being one of those people who finds a sort of beauty in the type of calculated randomness that shows like The Tick embody, I consider The Ultimate Teacher inspired. If nothing else, I promise that you'll never look at gym shorts the same way again. (I'm being intentionally vague about the underwear thing--to describe much about the plot would rob it of some of the humor.)
The story is a decent parody of a bunch of anime cliches: Street fighting, the youth gangs that (according to anime) plague Japanese schools, and of course those escaped government experiments that always seem to run amok. It also takes quick potshots at costumed superheroes (Spider Man fans take note... and be afraid), cool superpowered ninja teams, and a few other categories. It's impressive that it lampoons so many genres and still manages a surprisingly coherent storyline (heck, it probably flows better than most serious action movies).
Of course, that's a big part of what makes a really good parody in my eyes: Reasonably sympathetic characters put in preposterous situations in a world that sticks to its warped internal logic. The Ultimate Teacher has all of the above--it's crazed, but it (sort of) makes sense. Hinako and even Ganpachi, for all his malicious tenacity, are both characters you can be bothered to care about, and the rest of the whacked-out crew have personality as well.
Top all that off with surprisingly decent action and a couple of flat-out disturbing situations, then cram it into one short video, and you've got an impressive parody-plus for those who can appreciate it.
Technically, The Ultimate Teacher isn't great, but is a generally solid production, particularly for an older one-shot OAV. The art is classically styled and of fair quality, and the animation isn't bad at all--there's plenty of nice-looking action, and even a couple of creative abilities (including the coolest use of coins as a weapon I've ever seen). The fun character designs are certainly distinctive, running the gamut from classic anime to outright cartoony. On the down side, although this isn't at all unusual for anime of the era, the foley is poorly-timed, resulting in some gags getting tripped up by not-quite-in-synch sound effects.
Apart from minor timing issues, though, the original Japanese audio is lots of fun. The Ultimate Teacher himself, voiced by relative unknown Naoto Takenaka, is quite a character, and the rest of the small cast has all the classic overblown cheese of any good anime action movie. USM did produce a little-known English dub, but I haven't seen it.
The music during the movie is fittingly over-the-top, although it gets a little quiet toward the end. The end theme, however, is worth particular note: By the popular rock group Kome Kome Club, the irreverent humor they're known for is a perfect match for The Ultimate Teacher, and indeed they serve up an appropriately raucous and silly song.
I honestly can't say that The Ultimate Teacher will appeal to many people--most will probably find it too weird for its own good. But for those with the right sense of humor and an affinity for the truly bizarre, it is an inspired gem and one that shouldn't be missed, if you can dig it up.
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Something like a cross between Project A-ko, Battle Royal High School, and Street Fighter II, but even stranger than that sounds. The more recent and majorly fanserivce-heavy Ikki Tousen is also vaguely similar, and Excel Saga, while drastically more hyperactive and random, is certainly as scary-weird.
Notes and Trivia
The Ultimate Teacher is based on a little-known two-volume manga series by Atsuji Yamamoto that originally ran from 1981 through 1983; it lacked the extensive subtitle, being called simply "The Ultimate Teacher" ("最終教師" = "Saishuu Kyoushi").
As for that title, "Saishuu Kyoushi" (literally meaning "Final Teacher") is a play on the phrase "saishuu heiki," meaning "ultimate weapon" (literally, "final weapon"). As such, "The Ultimate Teacher" is an accurate translation in spirit.
Hinako Shiratori also makes an appearance as the title character of Yamamoto's early-'90s manga, HINAKO!!!
The end theme song of the anime, GAYU, is by the popular Japanese rock group Kome Kome Club; they've been around since the '80s, and are known for fun music, much of which has less-than-serious lyrics, as well as extremely elaborate and wacky stage shows (which is entirely appropriate for the Ultimate Teacher). They also happen to be one of Akemi's favorite groups.
The instrumental background music is one of the first scores by Kow Otani, who went on to become a well-known anime composer, with credits ranging from Zatch Bell! to Gunslinger Girl.
US DVD Review
None exists as of this writing, in any country.
A few objectionable scenes, and lots of gross humor; about a 13-up.
Violence: 2 - Lots of fighting, but mostly pretty silly stuff.
Nudity: 2 - One brief scene, and more scenes with briefs (and gym shorts) than you can shake a stick at.
Sex/Mature Themes: 2 - Nothing terribly objectionable, but some off-color jokes and a total lack of taste.
Language: 1 - Scattered expletives.
Staff & Cast
Original Japanese Cast
Ganpachi Chabane: Naoto Takenaka
Hinako Shiratori: Hiroko Kasahara
Burei Karima: Yusaku Yara
Principal Suzuki: Ichiro Nagai
Ryuichi Watanabe: Shinya Otaki
Kansuke Matsuri: Keiichi Naniwa
Umekichi: Naoki Kakita
Pine Homeroom Boss: Shozo Iizuka
Director: Toyoo Ashida
Screenplay: Monta Ibu
Art Director: Setsuko Ishizu
Music: Kou Otani
End Theme: "Gayu"
Performed by Komekome Club
Available in the US on a very early (1993) release by US Manga Corps on subtitled VHS and LaserDisc, it was later re-released it on subtitled and dubbed VHS in the mid-'90s. All versions are long out of print and very difficult to find. Amazon, does periodically have a few used copies listed: Ultimate Teacher [VHS] .