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Doki Doki School Hours, Vol 1: 1st Hour (2004) – DVD Review

Doki Doki School Hours, Vol 1: 1st Hour DVD


Based upon the manga by Tamami Momose
Directed by Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Music by Yoshihisa Hirano


  • Textless opening
  • original Japanese opening

Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:

  • Short jokes
  • Boobie humor
  • Homosexual teens of both flavors
  • Minor lustful thoughts

Released by: Geneon
Region: 1
Rating: 13+
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Get it if you like comedy anime.

[ad#longpost]Doki Doki School Hours is another title in the high-school slice-of-life tradition. This time, however, the heroine upon which we focus is not a student, but a 27-year-old teacher. This particular teacher, Suzuki Mika, looks even younger than the students; she’s not only shorter than they are, she has bad handwriting and has a way of getting overly-emotional and crying. The show is arranged in little snippets that look at the various students in turn, all set in the schoolroom, not unlike the other outstanding show, Azumanga Daioh.

We get a series of brief sketches for many of the students, such as Kobayashi, who worked over spring break, made lots of money, and then had to give it all back when she broke an expensive dish belonging to her company. Other girls are Iincho, the class president obsessed with boy bands; Kitagawa, the beautiful, tall girl with a crush on short women like her teacher; and Tominaga, the rather bitchy tomboy who likes to hack chickens and fish into pieces. We also see several boys, such as Suetake, who fits her wee teacher into his club bag; Nakamura, aka “old man;” Kudo, who loves Suetake the jock; and Seki, the resident bishonen.

There are several amusing moments, such as the “you just don’t understand” moment between the class lesbian and the class gay man, but the humor is never knee-busting, always subtle, thoughtful, and clever. The school nurse gets some of the best lines and moments. Be warned that the show is very episodic with little to no over-arching storyline, but plot is not the point here—character is.

The art is not unlike other anime comedies, with a few chibi moments that are blessedly not overdone. Originally airing in 2004, the show is very high-quality and looks it. The entrance to the show is actually a very nice preview of the show itself, from the naming of each character to the little bow they all line up and give at the end. The colors of the show are bright and happy, without being garish. The theme song is catchy and cheerful, a perfect counterpoint for the show. The English cast is quite outstanding, never over-playing their parts, and letting the script speak for itself.

The special features list is a little lean: we get a clean opening and an original opening, neither which are significantly different than what we see before each episode, but are at least nice additions. It can be fun to see the credits roll by in Japanese, except for the English that was there originally, like the seasons.

From the resident otaku who draws his manga on the back of his homework to the school heartbreakers, in Doki Doki School Hours the world of high school was never so much fun. You’ll recognize most of the character types from other anime shows, though alas not from your own high school, but they’re never one-dimensional or overly stereotyped. It may be more “charming” than “earth-shattering” or “brilliant,” but that’s not necessarily a problem. If you’ve been longing for more light-hearted fun with a little bit higher IQ, then this might be just what you’ve been looking for.

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