In slice-of-life high school anime, the main character is usually a student. I believe this is because it is easier for us, the audience to relate to a high school student than lets say a 70 year old or a teacher. But the trope of having a student protagonist gets a little old and although I don’t mind a high school setting that too can get a little old. Which brings us to an anime you all voted for me to review, Doki Doki School Hours, and although it is revolved in a high school setting, it has a teacher protagonist.
Mika Suzuki is a high school teacher and despite being 27 years old, she is 147cm and looks like a child. We follow the daily lives of Mika and her students. Enough said. What kind of story line were you expecting from a slice-of-life anime?
Doki Doki School Hours as a comedy is incredibly hilarious depending on how you’re watching it (I’ll get to that later). Me personally, I found the humor in the anime really fun and entertaining. The problem though is that although at times it has variety most of the comedy relies heavily on its characters personalities. I never got bored of the comedy and I had fun with the different episodes but this could be different to others. But what makes Doki Doki School Hours so much fun is the episodes themselves, its something you can appreciate and laugh at. The biggest flaw though is some of the OVAs. I do recommend you watch all 13 episodes + all 7 OVAs but keep in mind a few of the OVAs were not funny and kind of boring. BUT, the final OVA is perfect and I’m not just talking about the comedy it provided, I’m talking about the fact that this slice-of-life anime has a perfect ending. That is so rare for most slice-of-life and this one did it with flying colors.
I’m not gonna lie, the characters do seem a bit limited and repetitive which can get tiresome for some but for me personally, I adored each and every one of these characters. Our main protagonist is Mika Suzuki, she is a bit childish but not as childish as she seems, she’s a teacher students can get along with and not just look at her as a teacher. She’s a little bit of a crybaby when things don’t go her way and she is quite innocent but she’s an adorable main protagonist. We have her student Tominaga who is a rich girl that adores slash horror films and she is basically the brutally-honest voice of reason to all of her unusual classmates. We have Iincho which means Class President. She would be a lot similar to Tominaga when it comes to being a voice of reason but she is a bit odd in a way being the representation of a fangirl when it comes to her favorite pop star Koro-chan who is the reason why she is class president. We have Kobayashi who despite being a bit slow and airheaded is a ridiculously hardworker but she makes many attempts to lose weight only to fail again and again. We have Kitagawa who is basically the perfect girl being beautiful with a nice body, she’s smart, athletic and cute. What’s the catch? She’s a lesbian who is obsessed with Mika and she is open to her feelings and can be quite sadistic constantly controlling Mika’s emotions for her own pleasure. We have Suetake who is the athlete but is ridiculously stupid and is very slow. We have Kudo who is the honor student but also a gay fanboy over Suetake. He is incredibly perverted and is the king of nosebleeds and also my favorite character. Another favorite of mine is Seki who loves dressing in female clothing, wearing makeup and is very narcissistic but he is not gay in fact he loves girls… just loves himself more. There’s Old Man (he’s actual name is Nakamura) who’s personality is based on the stereotypical 40 year old. Lastly is Watabe who loves writing manga and is incredibly arrogant about his work and can get on the creepy side.
We do have other characters who are likable though not as entertaining as the main cast. They’re great to add in when the show is relying too heavily on its main cast’s quirks. The only character I had a problem with however was Anthony who only appears in the OVAs. My problem with Anthony was he came off as incredibly annoying and seemed useless with no unique quirk to him.
Doki Doki School Hours is an anime you’re going to just have to ignore visually to really like it because its animations are really bad. The colors are nice but the art style of the series is horrible. Now to be fair, this anime was made in 2004 but even so this is shitty animation and this series really doesn’t deserve that. Also it is annoying that there is no unique color design for the characters, I mean every character either has green eyes or blue eyes and they either have black hair, brown hair or blond hair. But despite that it’s not like it difficult to identify these characters, the all have their unique hairstyles that help us tell who’s who but they really should have more variety. But the one thing I will credit is all the characters do look adorable and the anime looks lighthearted and fun despite its poor animation.
Doki Doki School Hours does have great music accompanying the anime. Its opening is incredibly catchy and fits perfectly to the nature of the anime. Same with its ending also being fun and memorable. It is difficult to have an ending that is worth sitting through and that is what Doki Doki School Hours did really well. Another thing most animes struggle to do is have an OST that stands out and most of the anime’s soundtrack actually stands out and it is excellent.
The one thing I must talk about is the English dub which is beyond shit. This dub has got to be one of the worst dubs I’ve ever heard, so bad I almost dropped the anime completely until I found the sub which was pretty hard to do. All the characters sounded bland, lifeless and it did not fit with them at all, an example is that Mika sounded her age but she’s not suppose to. The worst performance has got to be the voice of Kudo and that hurts to say because Kudo is my favorite character. Luckily though, Doki Doki School Hours does have a good Japanese cast. Majority of the Japanese cast are actually from One Piece which I was quite excited to find out. So my advice is definitely watch this anime subbed, avoid the dub. But if you’re someone who hates reading subtitles then… I don’t know. Drop the anime or struggle through the dub… unless you can somehow enjoy it then that’s fine.
Grade (Music): B+
Grade (Voice Acting): C- (if it weren’t for the Japanese, this’ll be a lot lower)
Overall Doki Doki School Hours is arguably one of the best slice-of-life anime. Though most will argue Azumanga Daioh is a lot better, I still cannot recommend the anime enough. Though the anime has clear flaws being its repetition in characters, a few boring OVA eps, crap animation and horrible dub, it is still fantastic. Though I’m going to have to argue with myself with its grade because through personal preference it’s a B+ but through a critic’s perspective it’s a B-. Either way though I recommend you give Doki Doki School Hours a go and just enjoy the humor it offers and did I forget to mention the ridiculous ships.
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Till next time 🙂