It never fails, whenever I am a little bit stressed and I have a fresh volume of Oresama Teacher, it automatically gets moved to the top of my “to read” pile of manga. The combination of winning characters and ridiculous situations in this manga holds my attention much more than the other comedic manga I’ve tried, I think due to the fact that I am endlessly amused by the constant beat-downs administered by the cast of semi-reformed juvenile delinquents.
One of the fun things about this volume was the renewed focus on Okegawa, the former Bancho of the school. I’ve missed seeing him and his bizarre attempts at wooing Mafuyu with morse code and carrier pigeons. There’s something about his beady-eyed frowning expressions that is oddly endearing. Mafuyu joins forces with Okegawa in her male guise of Natsuo to track down the students who mysteriously go missing after five o’ clock. As one would expect from Oresama Teacher, the cause of the student disappearances has the most ridiculous explanation possible. A class is preparing a cross-dressing maid cafe for a school festival and has been kidnapping wayward students so they can practice refining their feminine wiles. Sure, drawing juvenile delinquents wearing maid costumes is an easy visual joke, but Tsubaki pushes the ridiculous situation to the extreme by portraying the difficulty they have portraying popular maid personalities like “the clumsy one” or “the little sister.” Mafuyu ends up solving the problem with her natural charisma by offering to train the gang of wayward maids. The problems aren’t over in this volume yet, as the rivalry between Midorigaoka and Kiyama is about to result in a major confrontation. Bancho sees through Mafuyu’s disguise and takes on the fight by himself after incapacitating her and taking back his title as gang boss. Even though there’s plenty of fists flying, there always seems to be an element of heart in what the characters are doing. The manipulation of the rival gang by one of Bancho’s disappointed lackeys ends up becoming a way for estranged friends to reconnect. And when Mafuyu and Bancho meet up at the end, she asks if he’s depressed he says “Make me feel better. Tell me I’m invincible and cool.” Mafuyu replies “You’re very strong…so your punches hurt a lot.” The power of juvenile delinquent friendships is so heartwarming! While there is a definite formula behind each volume of Oresama Teacher, I’m still genuinely entertained by the combination of punching, silliness, and occasional affirmations of friendship.
Review copy provided by the publisher.