Machiko Mai is the newest teacher at Asama Elementary; she's young, beautiful, and has the perfect proportions—traits that attract the attention of not only her students, but the rest of the perverted faculty as well. Whether it's luring her in and spraying up her skirt with a hose or leaps and bounds to grab her breasts, there's nothing that Machiko's first year students won't try to do. Regardless of her embarrassing plight, Machiko is always a good sport and tries her best to help out her students—at any cost to her dignity!
Tl;dr: Whether because it's a kids show from 1981, or because it happens to also be a rather entertaining school comedy, Miss Machiko manages to somewhat charm you past it's rather more sexploitative & misogynist elements. Might only be one for those interested in the history of anime, but it's also worth watching rather than just reading about.
On paper, Miss Machiko sounds like something that time had a good reason to forget. A children's comedy that is also considered one of the early ecchi anime, Miss Machiko follows the titular, newly graduated teacher as she struggles to impart the wonders of education to her
elementary school students. Those efforts inevitably result in her being caught in compromising positions & groped, usually by lead student troublemaker Kento, who strikes a victory pose whenever he gets her to exclaim “Maicchingu!” which is translated as “how shameful/embarrassing” or “I give up” depending on where you look.
Yet somehow, in spite of this, it's hard to be too offended by it. Despite sounding like (& sometimes being) a thinly veiled excuse to depict a female character being molested, Miss Machiko ends up being more like a Carry On film than anything else, it being the story of a new, unorthodox teacher connecting with her students in a way that older teachers are unable to. Think GTO except here the teacher is the one being perved on rather than doing the perving.
Kento & his classmates, despite being the ringleaders of Miss Machiko's torment, are depicted more in the context of “boys will be boys” than as malicious or sexually motivated harassers. Kento in particular is the kind of kid who is just bored of school & looking to get a reaction out of others, a reaction his teacher is quick to give. That's not to excuse his behavior, of course, & it's a failing of the show (both at the time & looking back on it now) that he's not really called out on it. The rest of the class & cast are a good mix of both genders & personalities – Machiko's uncle being particularly amusing - & while Kento is usually the ringleader, he doesn't dominate the cast nor do all his pranks go his way.
Miss Machiko herself is an entertaining, if frustrating, character. There's an element of Cutie Honey to her, a young woman who is neither embarrassed by being attractive nor allowing instances of objectification to stop her doing her job. Indeed, despite being the object of her male students attention, it's ultimately her fun & enthusiastic teaching & personality that endears her to her students who, when needed, she is happy to help, either with bullies from other schools or with the girls getting their own back when Kento & the boys goes too far.
Unfortunately, Kento & the show do go too far. Apparently suffering from the need to up the ante with each episode, what starts with skirt flips & water pranks soon goes places that “boys will be boys” no longer excuses. One episode in particular pushes it to the point of being uncomfortable viewing. Episode 8 sees Kento using a Frisbee to harass his teacher & classmates, first by tearing their clothes with attached fish hooks, then taking underskirt phots with a hidden camera. The girls do get their own back, but the episode ends with Kento selling the photos of Miss Machiko & him celebrating when she gives her “Maicchingu!” exclamation. This is the frustrating thing about Miss Machiko. She may take the more “innocent” antics in her stride, but when Kento or others cross the line, she's made to just stand there & take it as the show lives up to “The Shame of Miss Machiko” translation of the title. It makes one think that Takeshi Ebihara wrote the manga with one hand permanently under their desk.
It's a shame, because when it doesn't have it's hands in it's pants, Miss Machiko is a fun comedy. The main cast are likeable, the support cast entertaining & other than two or three episodes, it keeps itself in the “harmless” side of ecchi, more Carry On Teacher than anything else. Indeed it perhaps says something of how anime, & “ecchi” in particular, has evolved that nothing that Miss Machiko can be criticised for hasn't been done worse in your typical late night anime title. The theme tune is pretty catchy & the OST, while rather repetitive, is fine for the time. Likewise the art & animation, while very much a product of the early 1980s, are a perfectly fine example of the period. Miss Machiko's design in particular makes her stand out in a way that conveys her attractiveness without the use of certain overly exaggerated features.
It's no Cutie Honey, & indeed it would probably have been to the show's benefit if Studio Pierrot had toned down some of the more excessive wardrobe malfunctions & harassment scenarios that probably came from the manga, as Toei did to Go Nagai's original (or maybe they did?). It's also worth noting that, at the time of writing, Discotek Media have only licensed the first 12 episodes of the series which, given the almost complete indifference it's stream release appears to have been met with, is likely all we will get. That's unfortunate, because Miss Machiko has a place in anime history that has been overlooked. It might not be worth trawling the internet to find the unlicensed episodes, but the 12 we have merit a watch.
edit: Somewhat to my surprise, it seems Discotek are still releasing batches of new episodes on CR despite the apparent lack of interest it received. For now I'll leave this review as it is, since it still reflects my opinion on the show. It's still a fun, silly comedy with a likeable cast, marred only by it's continued need to grope & disrobe Miss Machiko in new & uncomfortable ways.