Ultimate Teacher holds a special place in my heart. It was among the first anime I was introduced to. Unlike now, anime was shocking and amazing and totally bodacious back in the day. It wasn't just cartoons from Japan - it was hardcore cartoons from Japan! Blood, guts, violence, nudity, titillation, vomiting, loud rock music! It was extreeeeeeme.
Sure, my brother had a Robotech video tape, but it was kids stuff in comparison to the lot we were given by a friend of my dad's. Rated 15 for violence and adult situations, and it was in no way subtle about it. I mean, look at the box! Saucy excitement. We had a very entertaining hour watching it - absurd antics, low-brow genitalia humour, comic violence, and more. It was stupid, but we were stupid, so it was a wonderful combination. My view of animation had been turned upside down. Thanks, Ultimate Teacher. You corrupted me, and I'm very thankful for it.
Ultimate Teacher, originally known as The Fearsome Bioreconstructed Man - The Ultimate Teacher (恐怖のバイオ人間 最終教師) in Japan, is pretty hard to summarise. It doesn't have much of a coherent narrative and is more just some stupid idea somebody had and then they stretched it out for fifty minutes and threw in as much stupid humour they could find. So, there's this guy, right? And he wants to go to a corrupt high school and make it all better, but really he just wants to dictate over the students. But really he's half-man half-cockroach, because he was part of a gene placement scientific project, and he escaped! And he's doing a fine job of taking over the school, but there's one girl who stands in his way, and she's got crazy strength! Because she gets her power from her childhood underpants, or something! And there's this guy who shits webs!
The whole OVA just seems to be a mish-mash of genres they thought was good. Delinquent high schools are the subject of a lot of anime and manga, so, hey, why not throw in a monster created by science into the mix too, as well as a pastiche of American superheroes? Anything goes, man!
Stupid anime is a dime a dozen; it's just a matter of whether or not the stupidity was intentional. But what makes Ultimate Teacher interesting is that there was some serious talent behind it. Can you guess who directed the onslaught of idiocy? Come on, take a guess. Okay, shut up, answer time.
The man who directed not only the Fist of the North Star animated film, but also both animated series, from start to finish. He also directed Vampire Hunter D and the 2008 Batman: Gotham Knight film, among other works. And Setsuko Ishida, the art director? He worked on the 1980s Astro Boy show.
And then they did some OVA about a high school girl fighting an insect man.
The OVA was adapted from a manga of the same name by Atsuji Yamamoto, a man who... okay, there's like, barely any other info on this guy on the internet; in English, at least. The Anime News Network lists only one other credit for him, which is Elf 17, an OVA that never left Eastern shores also based off one of his manga. He does have a Japanese Wikipedia article though, which states that he likes cats, writes a lot of stories about martial arts (what else is new), and focuses a lot on stories about women who fight, presumably in kinky manners. He did design work on the Metal Max video games and has a website available, but it appears to focus a lot on tentacle rape and gore porn. Pleasant stuff. Apparently the Ultimate Teacher manga had at least a few story arcs, one involving a motorcycle gang, but you can hardly learn a lot from sloppily translated plot summaries. Atsuji's works will remain a mystery to us all. Probably for the best, though. Gore porn, man, jeez.
The OVA was released in 1988, but it wasn't until 1993 that it reached English shores thanks to Manga Entertainment, a unique dub made for the United States and United Kingdom separately. The UK dub uses the typical Manga Entertainment crew - British people from television dramas putting on American accents, or Americans who happen to live in Britain. As expected with a Manga Entertainment dub, it's got the typical additions - more low-brow humour (though given the subject matter it's hardly noticeable from the jokes that were originally there), more swearing (though definitely not to the extent of, say, Cyber City Oedo 808) and some wacky mangling of certain dialogue for no reason other than to just mangle things. But as in most cases for me, the dub adds a lot of charm - the accents are ridiculous and the voices completely exaggerated, and some of their attempts at additional low-brow humour are just so random that it sparks more laughter.
The US dub, meanwhile, features the voice talents of the Ocean Group; anime fans are likely to recall their work on Gundam Wing, Project A-Ko, Black Lagoon and other stuff I just looked up very quickly, while American animation fans will be familiar with them from the various Capcom cartoons, Beast Wars and X-Men Evolution. Yes, you better believe that it has Scott mo-truckin' McNeil voicing Ganbachi. How could it not be incredible?
Well, the dub seems to actually take itself seriously. The dialogue is much more accurate to the original Japanese (at least, as far as I can tell, since I discovered that the Japanese subtitled version just appears to be a dubtitle of this, so either the US dub changed absolutely nothing or nobody cared for accuracy when subbing this!), which is sure to appease any potential fanatics out there, but if you listened only to the dialogue you'd almost forget the movie is meant to be a thoroughly ridiculous comedy. Some actors give rather subdued performances, which, due to my experience with the energetic and loud UK dub, seems out of place, though Scott McNeil still saves the day with a great performance, where he seems to use practically every affliction he has when voicing Ganbachi (called Ganpachi, what with the Japanese accuracy and all) - he resorts to Dr. Wily-esque tone when laughing, his screaming is much akin to Rattrap's, but his most prominent 'default' voice is merely a a slight modification of Beast Wars Dinobot. Although on paper it's similar to the Japanese affliction, the growling tone almost gives the character some menace, whereas I think the UK and Japanese voices did it best with his hilariously over-the-top manner that, although meant to be menacing, just has an air of ridiculousness about it. Still, it's Scott friggin' McNeil, and that is awesome.
While the UK dub more or less squeezed in new dialogue wherever it was fitting, the US dub seems reluctant to do that. The scene with the skeletons and creatures bursting out of the school walls around six minutes in is talked over by Principal Suzuki (he reacts to this with "Oh, there you two are."), but after that, if there isn't a lip flap on screen then you're just treated to some awkward silence. When Hinako bests the Pinball Mob on their rematch, the entire dramatic scene of Hinako revealing her panties to the Pinball leader crying has him breathing heavily in shock and dismay, which is kinda uncomfortable and distracting. You have to appreciate the fact they even bothered to dub this in the first place, especially with such a high-calibre voice crew, but I personally believe the UK dub captured the essence of the OVA that much better.
Of course, Manga lost the license to the show and no longer even acknowledge it on their website, and being an obscure OVA from the late 80s that never exactly developed a cult following, they don't seem to be in a rush to reissue it. Which is a damn shame. So many great shows are lost to the mists of time this way, and no one ever seems too keen to reissue them whenever there's newer stuff to work on. It also doesn't help that despite the rampant anime downloading scene, that are no dubs of Ultimate Teacher available anywhere. A hard-subbed video is available of the original Japanese, and the Spanish dub (that uses the UK dub as a video source, thus where I got all the good quality screenshots from), but no English.
Well, worry no more! I offer the two English dubs for download! I've never offered shows for download on Random Action Hour before, and I certainly don't want to (srsly, a quick Google search finds you the Mega Man cartoons on RapidShare), but when it's something as rare and valuable as this, it'd be criminal not to share it. You've got two choices of watching it; downloading it via MegaUpload or just watching it on YouTube. The quality on either isn't totally superb, hence why I got screenshots from the Spanish video; there's a VHS flicker fragment at the bottom of the UK dub, and the US one was ripped from a bootleg DVD , but otherwise it shouldn't be too dreadful.
Being YouTube, don't expect amazing quality.
MegaUpload file technical rundown! The video is a 667mb AVI file, split across eight 95 WinRar files (the last is 5mb).
YouTube, ripped from a bootleg DVD.
MegaUpload file technical rundown! The video is a 560mb AVI file, split across eight 70mb WinRar files.
And just for giggles, here's the ending theme song which I recorded from the subtitled Japanese version. Quality isn't the best, but good luck finding it elsewhere.
"Gayu" - Komekome Club (TV-size) (2.78mb / 3:02)
portnoi88 sent me the full-length edition, presumably from the original album or something. It's an incredible song and I can't thank him enough for supplying us with such a treat. Give him a round of applause, folks!
"Gayu" - Komekome Club (7.33mb / 8:00)