Please Twins: Complete Collection
Let's say it together… Only In Japan!
Please Twins is set in the same town as Please Teacher, a couple of years after Kei Kusanagi's first meeting with Mizuho Kazami, but this series focuses on three new characters. Maiku Kamishiro is an orphan who saw a house that he recognised in a news report about a certain UFO. That house is also in a photo that he owns, showing him as a toddler in a paddling pool with a little girl, apparently his twin sister. That's all that he owns of his past, so to learn more, he moves to that town and starts high school there, even renting that old house in the photo and supporting himself by working as a computer programmer. He may even have been hoping to find that long lost twin sister; it's just that he wasn't expecting two girls to show up, looking for their twin brother. Both Miina Miyafuji and Karen Onodera are also orphans, whose sole memories of their childhood amount to copies of that same photograph. But only one of them can actually be his sister, right? Please Twins also features the odd cameo from Please Teacher, while some characters like Mizuho and Ichigo return for prominent roles.
Just as for Please Teacher, the thirteen episodes for Please Twins are presented across four discs.
Volume 1: Three's Company
1. Three Twins?
Maiku Kamishiro is a high school student, but a student with a difference. He lives alone, and works as a computer programmer to support himself, and rides a scooter to school (against the rules). He's only just finished doing up the house he is renting, after seeing it in a news report about a UFO and recognising it as the house in the sole photo he has from his childhood. In it, the house is in the background, while he's in a paddling pool with a little girl. He's only just settled in, but his life is about to change once more when one day he is late for school. On the way his eyes happen to meet those of a girl on a train, who shares the same, rare eye colour as his. Then he hears another girl calling for help, a hitchhiker being assaulted by a perverted driver. She's already extricated herself by the time he gets there, so all he can do is lecture her about being so careless, before noticing she too has the same colour eyes as him. Their second meeting is when she knocks on his front door, looking for her long lost twin brother. Her name is Miina Miyafuji, and she's all ready to make herself at home. Except the doorbell rings again. This time it's the girl from the train, Karen Onodera, and she's looking for her long lost twin brother…
2. We Might Be Related
It turns out that Karen is a sensitive girl who tends to faint at the slightest provocation. Seeing her potential brother is just a towel, and Miina in just a t-shirt is enough to send her into the world of nod. It doesn't help the next morning when after a particularly worrying nightmare, she wakes up next to Miina. There's just the one futon in the house, which is why the girls wind up sharing. Maiku has strict instructions while he tries to figure things out. He goes to school, and the girls stay home, where they don't go out, they don't answer the phone, and just wait patiently. So they follow him to school…
3. We Might Be Strangers
Now it's Miina having the strange dreams about Maiku, the sort of dreams that make her hope that they aren't related by blood. Maiku has some more instructions. If the girls are going to stay in the house, they'll have to earn their keep, which means doing the housework while he earns his keep as a programmer at the PC. It's the worst time for his sempai Tsubaki Oribe to visit. She brings a caseload of jealousy with her, and soon she and Miina are competing in the kitchen for Maiku's affections. Which is when Karen's uncle phones with some bad news, and she winds up needing a shoulder to cry on… or rather a lap.
4. Kind To You
Miina and Karen decide that just doing housework isn't enough to pull their weight, they'll need to get part time jobs, not easy during a recession. When Miina finds a vacancy at Maiku's school for an office assistant, they will have to be creative with their applications to even get a foot in the door. Only at the school, the interview falls apart before they even get started when it turns out that it's Miss Mizuho who will be interviewing them. Then they overhear Maiku talking with Tsubaki and they get the wrong end of the stick.
Volume 2: Sibling Rivalry
5. Do You Like Girls?
Now the girls have evening jobs at a grocery, it means that they can attend high school as well, but the problem is that some of the girls in their class have an odd interest in Maiku, or rather an interest in Maiku and his overbearing friend Shimazaki, imagining a whole fantasy passion in their antagonistic friendship. Could Maiku be gay? Karen is determined to reawaken his masculinity, and she ropes Miina into her plan. Only they take things too far.
6. Love Alliance
Two kisses later, and we're left with two very confused girls, and one very nonplussed boy. It isn't made easier by them being suspended from school for three days, and having to spend that time in close proximity. While Maiku tries to figure things out himself, and steel himself for the down to earth talk with them that is inevitable, Miina and Karen get the jump on him by establishing a few ground rules of their own.
7. Making Memories
They win a prize draw, and rather than sell the prize for a profit as Maiku was thinking, the girls insist on taking the trip to Okinawa and soaking up some sun on a sandy beach, and making some memories into the process. The trouble is that everyone else has turned up as well. Shimazaki and Tsubaki are both competing over Maiku's attention, while Shidou has brought his own obsession with his kid sister with him. And Miss Mizuho is there to celebrate her second wedding anniversary to Kei. If that isn't enough, Karen has booked a room with just two beds…
Volume 3: Only For You
8. Be Honest In Love
It's become a habit for Maiku, Miina and Karen to eat their lunches together. It's also become a habit for the whole school to stop and stare. It's time for the student president Ichigo Morino and vice president Tsubaki Oribe to nip the scandal in the bud. So Maiku is employed by the student council to help with the forthcoming Ball Game Festival, which means him spending a lot of time alone in an office with Tsubaki. Miina and Karen have a problem, Tsubaki is breaking rule #1, and they can't get close to do anything about it. Fortunately they have a spy on the inside.
9. Don't Leave Me Out
Typical! All that planning and the Festival is rained off. But then the rain lifts to reveal a sunny day. What better for Maiku, Miina and Karen to do than to spend the day at the mall? The three of then together is fine, but when events conspire to leave first Miina and Maiku together, and then Karen and Maiku together, there's just too much temptation for comfort. If that isn't enough, all three get lost in the shopping district. Then there is a face from Miina's past, jogging past them on the way home.
10. I Want To Run Again
Maiku and Karen are worried about Miina. Ever since she ran into her friend Yuka from back home, she's been out of sorts and distracted. She's keeping to herself more and more, and Maiku realises that she has never spoken to them about her past. It seems that past is coming back to haunt her, and that she hasn't told them the truth about it. Now she has a decision to make. Meanwhile, Karen has noticed something about that photo that changes everything.
Volume 4: Twins Forever
Now it's Karen that is out of sorts. Worse than that, she's broken the Love Alliance. She's asked Maiku out on a date, and she keeps it secret from Miina. And when Miina finds out, she packs her bags and leaves.
12. We Three Twins
13. The Summer Never Ends
It's been two weeks since Maiku, Karen and Miina found out who the sister was, and who the stranger was. Only now, the sister is all over Maiku, clinging on to her newfound brother as if she will never let go. This means that the would-be girlfriend can't get a look in. It's a problem for Maiku as well, as he can't get any work done, with his typing hand weighed down by an over-attentive sister. Fortunately Shimazaki has a solution, a quiet little tent somewhere nearby where he can program in peace. Unfortunately, Ichigo finds out, and soon a holiday camp opens up, with everyone pitching a tent. With Ichigo in full voyeur mode, no tent will be safe tonight. And then the ghost appears.
It's a US set, so the NTSC 4:3 transfer is a given, with all the benefits and drawbacks that implies when it comes to resolution, NTSC-PAL ghosting and so on. All in all it's a very pleasant transfer, with no sign of compression artefacts or significant aliasing, and the colours are bright and consistent.
The anime itself is delightful to look at. It isn't one of those action packed, bells and whistles shows; rather it's more of a gentle romantic character piece. The world design is excellent, and the character designs are strong and consistent. The animation isn't excessively dynamic, but neither does it need to be. What does impress is the sleepy rural agricultural setting for the show, and the almost dreamy atmosphere of summer that is conveyed. It's a show lush with greens and wide-open spaces, and it immediately evokes a sense of timeless nostalgia to watch it.
Yes, I copied and pasted that from the Please Teacher review. There is one oddity about this set though. For the last couple of seconds for the opening credits sequence, the aspect ratio switches on my TV inexplicably to zoom mode, and then switches back. It does this in the textless opening in the extras as well. The episodes that escape this weirdness are episodes 4, and 9.
Bandai provide DD 2.0 Stereo tracks in English and Japanese, and they offer a nice bit of immersion to the sound, although Please Twins isn't exactly an action-oriented series. The ambience works quite well though. The theme tunes are pleasant and induce a degree of toe tapping while the incidental music is suitably mellow and evocative. Unlike Please Teacher however, I wasn't as happy with the English dub this time around. You can forgive an average dub, if the main characters sound good, even if the supporting cast doesn't. But here, the main cast sound average at best.
You'll find 4 Image Vocals, 2-minute animated music videos showcasing some of the music from the show, or music that's available on the tie-in CD. You'll also find one promo clip, and one promo commercial, again running to 2 minutes apiece.
Here you will find 3 Image Vocals running to a total of 6 minutes, as well as the textless ending.
Once more you get 3 Image Vocals, totalling 5 minutes, a minute worth of trailers for the soundtrack CDs, and the textless opening from episode 1 (including that weird aspect ratio switch).
We get three final Image Vocals, running to a total of 6 minutes. You get the textless ending for episode 12, the series conclusion, and that I'm afraid, is that.
I did it again; I clicked the order button without reading enough about the product that I was buying. This time, I learned that there is a weird phenomenon that surrounds Please Teacher and its sequel Please Twins. Apparently, certain fans of Please Teacher do not think highly of Please Twins, and vice versa. It all seems to boil down to which series they see first, and it's as if there is only room for one risqué concept romantic comedy in their collections. I saw Please Teacher last year, which means I ought to loathe Please Twins. Well, I'm not at the loathing stage yet, but I do think that Please Twins lacks a little something in comparison to its predecessor, and I found my enjoyment of the series was tempered with a series of niggling criticisms. Perhaps there is something to that exclusivity phenomenon.
Just like Please Teacher, in execution Please Twins is nowhere near as prurient and exploitative as the premise suggests. The orphans decide early on that nothing is going to happen until their relationships with each other are resolved, so most of the comedy and melodrama comes from trying not to give into one's feelings. Maiku remains the perfect gentlemen throughout, despite events conspiring to make him look like a pervert, and if his feelings for Karen and Miina may stray beyond the brotherly, they're nothing compared to the non-sisterly feelings that Karen and Miina have to restrain. In fact, for all the potentiality of the situation, the only two of the orphans who actually spend anytime naked together are Miina and Karen, who find that the bath is the one place that they can have a girly chat without Maiku overhearing. And so the fan service quotient of the show is fulfilled.
The most disappointing thing is that the show feels very much like a rehash of Please Teacher, following the same dramatic structure, and even transposing some of the same events, if to different characters. The Magumi and Mizusumi sub-plot from that series passes on to Shimazaki and Tsubaki here, the whole bunch of them wind up in Okinawa again for another beach swimsuit episode. Also, the new characters are the most interesting, but the cast from the original series also show up, in roles ranging from brief cameos to strong supporting positions. Mizuho has to be there of course, she is the teacher, although she's a source of friendly advice, rather than following a character arc of her own. More disappointing is how some of the characters have changed from the first series. Matagu Shidou, eternally unlucky in love, is back, this time wholly as the comic relief. Whereas Maiku and the two girls are trying to keep things off the boil under their roof, Matagu is openly perving on his kid sister Haruko, who remains blissfully oblivious to her brother's idiocy. Of course it's acceptable here, because Matagu is the comic relief. Similarly, Ichigo Morino, who had such a strong and well-written role in Please Teacher, here is reduced to a caricature, a voyeur student president with a creepy laugh. Please Twins doesn't really do the first series justice, which is a shame. It should have ignored that show completely, or more thought should have been put into using that world to better effect than just for cheap gags.
Marie is a case in point. The writers obviously couldn't figure out a way to logically introduce Mizuho's computer avatar into the story, so Karen just encounters the little sprite on the day that she arrives in town, and thereafter Marie is practically a part of their household. Another sign of lacklustre writing is that the conclusion is ambiguous, although we do learn in no uncertain terms who is the sister, and who is destined to be the girlfriend, the clear explanation of why and who is lacking. It's just given to us in a blurry bit of illegible text, and we have to accept it at face value. Again, just like Please Teacher, Please Twins tells its story in a twelve-episode run, and leaves the thirteenth for a direct to DVD episode for fans, which gets to be racier and more ribald than the broadcast series. Except that the final episode on this set isn't all that racy, certainly not in comparison to Secret Couple. Still, it is funny and entertaining in its own way, even if comic relief Matagu gets the final word.
Maybe it does depend on which you see first, but I think that Please Teacher is by far the better series. Please Twins plays it more for laughs, and by doing so is perversely less funny. I think it's because it lacks the drama to counterpoint the comedy. However, Please Twins is a very pleasant waste of time, especially if you like your harem romantic comedies in anime. The central characters are pleasant enough, and you do get emotionally invested in their journeys, hoping that the guy ends up with the girl. With Please Twins, you can have a debate afterwards over which one you wanted to be the sister, and which one you wanted to be the girlfriend, and what series gives you that opportunity?