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[Happy Lesson Advance R2 DVD box art]
AKA: HAPPY☆LESSON ADVANCE
Genre: Comedy / drama
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America
Content Rating: 13+ (fan service, slapstick violence)
Related Series: Happy Lesson OVA, Happy Lesson TV, Happy Lesson The Final
Also Recommended: Fruits Basket, Hand Maid May, Happy Lesson, Happy Lesson TV
Notes: Continuation of the Happy Lesson TV series.
Rating:
 

Happy Lesson Advance

Synopsis

Life continues for Hitotose Chitose and his five mothers / teachers. Then, out of nowhere comes Nagatsuki Kuron, who proclaims Mutsuki as her own mother. And between her and other visitors, old and new, it seems life will never be easy for Chitose.

Review

Having seen the entire series now, I decided that the Happy Lesson Advance review needed a full update. This is mainly because the series itself got off to a rocky start with me, but managed to haul itself up by the bootstraps within the end. Still, what we have is a shaky product that only made me all the more aware that Happy Lesson is slowly being abandoned to the low rent district. But I'll get to that as we go along, ok?

First point on the agenda should be the art and animation. The art actually keeps up with the quality of the TV series. Well, almost. The animation starts out ok, but drops into mediocrity and even further into the abyss of awfulness as the series proceeds. If you thought the first TV series had shabby animation at times, then you should brace yourself for this one. I can't help but feel immense disappointment due to it.

At least the VAs are their usual, decent selves. Though I suspect that if this series would ever be considered for US release, it will be saddled with the same mediocre dub as the first TV series was. But that's for the future to decide.

The music is also rather easily recognizable for those of you who remember the first TV series' themes. I don't know why, but I don't like them as much as the ones for the prequel, though. They're not bad or anything, but they feel perhaps a bit TOO much like a carbon copy of the first series' themes.

And with that out of the way, we're once again left with what's the main piece of any animated piece; the characterization and plot. In this, Happy Lesson Advance came off on a VERY rocky start with me. The first episode being about a school uniform fashion show with the teachers clad in school uniforms immediately made warning bells ring. And when later episodes featured vacation trips to the beach complete with semi-nude bathing scenes and panty-shots in the changing room, it looked like Happy Lesson had sold itself to fanserviceville. The later episode with the two terminally stupid treasure hunters completely failed to improve matters. Even less so, since it evolved into some weird sentai / Power Rangers parody. (And the female treasure hunter had a rather boingy chest to go with everything. >_< )

Does it sound weird having me -- the THEM official hentai reviewer -- complaining about fan service? That would be because some shows just shouldn't feature anything like that. What would YOU feel if Spirited Away suddenly started throwing boob shots left and right? Or that San in Princess Mononoke went skinny dipping in the water for no reason at all? Happy Lesson doensn't need stuff like that to be good. The prequel showed that quite clearly, even though it had a LITTLE bit of almost-fan service.

Well, I guess I should stop complaining. Because outside of my major beefs with this show (the ones written above) it managed to haul itself by its bootstraps up to becoming a decent show again. The more in-close and personal studies of each of Chitose's (or, as Mike Toole put it; Cheetos ^_^ ) mothers started appearing. The relationship with Mutsuki, Chitose and the newcomer, Nagatsuki Kuron, was put more into motion and everything was turning for the better. Even Kanna, a character I didn't care for at all in the first series, gave a far more symphathetic impression of herself right up to the point where I symphatized with her and wanted to see her being featured more often. On the flip side, I didn't much care for school president Fumitsuki's sudden attraction to the newcomer despite her own protests of "Kuron is a girl, Kuron is a girl." I'm not trying to be homophobic here, but the way it was handled practically screamed "quick comedy fix."

Nevertheless, the rest of the show managed to reel me back as far as interest goes. And that made it feel less like a betrayal. It's just a shame that too much of the show was wasted on nonsense like that in the first place, because I originally considered raising the rating to four stars. But, after some considerations, I decided against it. Just think of it as a strong three star.

If only the bad parts of the show hadn't lasted for as many episodes, this would have been a four star.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Teens and up. The fan service, while not including any nudity, has enough pantyshots and women holding their hands over their bared parts in the occasional episode to make it so. There are is plenty of naked female flesh to go around. I guess I should also include the violence, slapsticky as it is. (Think Tom & Jerry violence without the anvils.)



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Happy Lesson Advance © 2003 KSS / Media Works