Oresama Teacher, Vol. 14

By Izumi Tsubaki. Released in Japan by Hakusensha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Hana to Yume. Released in North America by Viz.

One problem with licensing manga in North America is that when you see a series that gets insanely popular, the gut reaction is to go back and find earlier works by the author. And this can often lead to disappointment, as you realize that the series you love was the point where the author really took off, and the work they did before just doesn’t quite measure up. Fruits Basket is an excellent example, as it’s Tokyopop’s biggest hit, but Tsubasa: Those With Wings and Phantom Dream did not have nearly the same sales, because, well, they weren’t as good. But with Oresama Teacher, we’ve already gotten the early series out of the way. The Magic Touch came out here first, and even though it had only one fan (me), it still made it through nine volumes. And now we see the successor, Oresama Teacher, which is, in most ways, a better series overall.


This isn’t to say the manga is perfect. The fact that you need TWO cast sheets is a big clue that there are simply too many people in this manga, and it requires referring back and forth sometimes to remember who the more minor characters are. Indeed, one of the cadre of ‘bad guys’ laments the fact that she’s bored, and wonders when she’ll be able to have a role in this series. Every time we return to Mafuyu’s old school (including in this volume), things seem to drag a little more. And for readers of Shojo Beat, it might be a little odd seeing a series like this, filled with gang wars, goofy comedy, and a complete lack of romantic hijinks. But to me that’s what makes it better. Let’s face it, if Hakusensha had a shonen magazine, this series would be in it. But it doesn’t, it has Hana to Yume.

And so when we see our heroes going off to rescue Kanon, they do so by kicking as much ass as possible. In fact, part of the thrill of these first two chapters is seeing just how intelligent everyone is in regards to fighting, particularly Mafuyu. She’s good at being a gang leader for many reasons. She’s strong, and has endurance. She plans ahead, or at least tries to. And the guys who make up run of the mill henchmen help her by being idiots. Seeing her use one as a ventriloquist dummy, or making a deal so that they won’t open the door for 30 seconds when she’s running from them… it’s hilarious, but also showcases that she’s not merely the main character because it’s a shoujo manga.

The other thing I loved about Kanon’s rescue arc was that it showed that the whole “boys bully the girl they like” attitude that elementary schoolkids are supposed to have is simply pure bullying, full stop. And that, while you can’t change the past, you can try to move past your actions. Kento’s plan was quite stupid, but it does end up leading him to what he needs to do: he needs to apologize to Kanon for everything he did back then. It’s his realization o this that’s the climax of this arc, and I am relieved that, while accepting his apology, Kanon continues to not give two shits about him.

The other plot point that’s come up over and over again is Mafuyu’s memory loss, and we see a chapter devoted to that in this volume. Since it’s clear she can remember things when prompted (even if she doesn’t want to, as they’re always humiliating to her high school self), it would appear that there’s some major event in her past that caused her to repress everything involving Takaomi – and that he is not ready to tell her what that is. Indeed, it’s not even clear if he knows what that is – he’s been surprised once or twice at her lack of memory. It can be a bit discomfiting seeing that she and Takaomi are still the closest thing to a potential couple in this manga – indeed, we see scenes here of their childhood selves play-acting a rather disturbing family – especially given that Takaomi has to a certain extent raised Mafuyu to be the badass she is today. Still, would not be the first older man/younger woman shoujo manga ending if it does happen.

We seem to be gearing up for a new arc here, as Mafuyu and company are going on a class trip that I suspect will take all of Vol. 15 and more. But I don’t know if I’m all that invested in the major plot points behind Oresama Teacher, even as I go on about them in my review. This is a fun title with badass characters and a tendency towards hilarity. Movement of the plot is simply gravy at this point.

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  1. Oresama Teacher is one of my favorite series running now. I did exactly what you described, in that I went back and read Tsubasa: Those With Wings and Phandom Dreams (both awful, although I do wish they would release her new series), and Magic Touch. You can count me as the second Magic Touch fan in the world!

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