Oresama Teacher, Vol. 18

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

Most of the last several volumes have been seeing each member of the student council try to shut down the Public Morals club, and failing. As to why they’re doing it, well, we’re told that it’s due to Takaomi having a bet with the head of the school, and that his ‘opponent’ is said head’s grandson. But we’ve seen from the very start that this is not really correct. Every time we try to figure out why Hanabusa is doing this, besides “for the lulz”, it’s vanished like smoke. Indeed, as the volumes piled up and each of the Student Council members, by virtue of interacting with Mafuyu and her friends, became better people, you began to get suspicious that this was all a setup and that what Hanabusa is really doing is a form of extreme therapy.

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And indeed, that’s absolutely correct. It’s made explicit by Hanabusa’s comment to Hayasaka, saying that if Mafuyu had arrived a little later on she’d have seen Hayasaka on the Student Council instead of the Public Morals club. We even get scenes of most of the old members showing how much they’ve grown – Kanon is able to interact with her childhood tormenter again, Komari’s nature is starting to be better understood even by people who aren’t Aki, and as for Momochi…

As yes, Momochi. When a villain turns out to be not a villain after all, there needs to be someone stepping in to take their place. Having Momochi turn out to be shady after all is not exactly a surprise, as her mysterious smirking nature has been played up from the moment we met her – she essentially comes off as an evil Michiru Kaioh from Sailor Moon. Seeing her try to manipulate Mafuyu and Hayasaka is not particularly a surprise. Seeing her drug both of them, and apparently attempting to brainwash Hayasaka into forgetting all his happy memories, is a big surprise. I wasn’t really prepared for this manga to take so serious a turn, even with the mystery of Hayasaka’s past sticking out like a sore thumb. It’s disturbing, and makes a great cliffhanger.

This is not to say that the humor has suddenly vanished from the series – it’s just as funny as ever. Most of it is admittedly packed into the first half, which wraps up Mafuyu going back home for the break with a test of courage. Yui is along for the ride, and ropes others into his own special brand of insanity, leading to some wonderful looks of pity and disgust on Mafuyu and Kangawa’s faces. No one does that flat stare of “wtf? Seriously, wtf?” quite like Tsubaki. And there’s also a beach chapter, with the boys showing off their eccentric (or not) swim trunks, and Okegawa being given a forcible reminded that Mafuyu is a girl by having her wear a bikini. And then we have Mafuyu’s attempts to learn to swim, which would make Rumiko Takahashi proud.

So things aren’t going to get all dark and grim, but I do suspect that Hayasaka will soon be taking a forcible leave of absence from the club soon, and that fixing whatever psychological damage he’s sustained may be the next arc. As for Momochi, is *she* just a simple villain? Or, like Hanabusa, is there something else driving her? She seems focused on Hayasaka, dismissing Mafuyu entirely. Sadly, we’ll have to wait a bit for the next volume (it only came out in Japan 5 months ago), but I’m sure it will be worth it.

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