地獄先生ぬ〜べ〜 (Hell Teacher Nube)

There were so many awesome animes in the 90s, Hell Teacher Nube wasn’t really included in my Top 5 favorites but I totally enjoyed watching random episodes when it was broadcasted dubbed in our country. I was quite excited when the news about a live action series came out since there are a lot of elements that can possibly make this show even better than the anime. Dorky teacher with a badass alter-ego:check! Heartwarming school setting:check! Layered characters: check! Supernatural action and spooky entities:check! Enormous amount of humor: check! Were all these things given justice in the live action premiere?Err…nope.

The nostalgic Jigoku Sensei Nube stars Kanjani Eight member, Maruyama Ryuhei, as Nueno Meisuke (nicknamed Nube). He certainly has some Yamapi vibes going on which make this casting a bit of a letdown because Johnnys are generally known more for their looks and not for their acting skills. To be fair, I watched him before judging but just as I thought, although Ryuhei is quite a charmer, his acting felt too cued, too forced especially on the supposedly comedic scenes.

Mokomichi Hayami is Nube’s school rival Tamamo Kyosuke. The epitome of tall,dark and handsome, Moko is already one heck of an ikemen so I don’t see why his coolness needs to be exaggerated. The whole blazer stunt and red rose introduction was just corny. I also can’t stand the sight of his fake hair.

Kiritani Mirei plays Nube’s funny perverted obsession,Ritsuko Sensei, while former Kara member Kang Ji Young is Yukime,Nube’s yuki-onna stalker and self-proclaimed fiancée.

I’m currently on a marathon of Jdoramas starring high caliber actors such as Eita,Oguri Shun,Ayano Go, and Matsuda Ryuhei, so I totally felt the dullness of the performances in Nube when I made that sudden shift from watching something great to this mediocre one. I was expecting Jigoku Sensei Nube will induce laughter with its anime-ish slapstick and whatnot but I had a pokerface the entire time I was watching it. I don’t know if I’m too old to appreciate the humor or it’s just that the comedy is really bland.

I like the idea of Jigoku Sensei Nube altering its setting from elementary to high school. The older the students, the bigger the conflicts. The first episode about focusing on one’s true self featuring a yokai behind a mirror is an almost perfect means of character and plot introduction. However, the horror side failed the same way the comedy did. The yokai targeted one of Nube’s students who didn’t have enough backstory to justify why it was specifically going after her. Humans are greedy and insecure. They’re all students, still immature and unsure of themselves. I didn’t see what sets her apart from the rest.

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The mirror yokai finally revealed itself and of course Nube runs to their aid and save the day. There’s a dramatic “getting all beaten up” sacrifice cliché before he finally decided to take his glove off. And that’s only thing I appreciated in this show: his prosthetic demon hand!

The rest of the CGI was painful to watch.The yokai was ridiculously alien-ish and I wish they just hadn’t shown the cheap-looking hell scene anymore. The story would progress the same way even without seeing Nube literally talk to his inner demon.

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*sigh* Jigoku Sensei Nube didn’t even meet my low expectations. It was just like another Gokusen but less funnier and instead of bullies it has monsters. I’d continue to watch at least one more time to see if my thoughts about this series would change somehow. Tamamo is about to unleash his kitsune identity so hopefully, there’d be some improvements on the succeeding episodes.

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