Oresama Teacher, Vol. 21

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

I have a confession to make. While I love Oresama Teacher, and try to recommend it to everyone I know, I love some parts of it more than others. And I must admit that whenever the narrative turns its attention back to Mafuyu’s old stomping grounds and her underclassmen delinquents, I groan a little. Mostly the reason is that the cast has become nightmarishly huge – check out both the character sheet at the start of the volume and the relationship chart at the end – but the East High/West High guys aren’t as well defined as Midorigaoka’s cast. Kangawa may be the exception, and I’m glad he’s here at the start, but the beginning of this volume, revolving around Mafuyu pretending to be a boy so that Sakurada (a boy who likes to dress as a girl) can let down another guy who’s fallen for “her”. Mafuyu looks bored, and so are we.


Luckily, the rest of the volume is back at Midorigaokoa, and proves far more interesting, as a new as yet unrevealed antagonist is setting out to go after the Student Council and blame “Super Bun”, which of course means Mafuyu. Her secret identity isn’t threatened, at least not yet, but she’s offended at the very idea of someone using Super Bun for nefarious purposes. Also tying into this is the cliffhanger for Vol. 20, where Hayasaka seems to have almost figured out Super Bun’s true identity. Of course, now that there’s a doppelganger running around, that’s all gone to hell. Speaking of doppelgangers, the most intriguing choice this volume was to have Mafuyu, unfamiliar with the concept, end up being rather terrified of discovering just who it is impersonating her – what if it really IS her evil twin?

The titular teacher also takes a backseat in this volume, with Takaomi reminding Mafuyu how easy it is to impersonate Super Bun but not doing much beyond that – he doesn’t seem to care much about what’s going on as long as it doesn’t impact his bet. Also uncaring is Hanabusa, even though the culprit shoves him down the stairs and breaks his arm and leg. Hanabusa is pretty unflappable to begin with, but this is a bit unusual even for him. I have a suspicion that whatever the explanation for this is, it will prove to be far less threatening than we’d expected.

Despite evil doppelgangers, there’s still plenty of humor to go around, though not quite as much of the standard ‘tsukkomi’ variety. Shibuya and Komori’s budding relationship is still adorable, and the fact that the Public Morals Club has been shunned to an extent also makes life difficult for Yui’s relationship with Wakana – though sadly not for the reason everyone expects. As for Mafuyu, aside from Kangawa’s one-sided crush, there’s no romantic movement here at all. But this is not really a romantic manga, even though it may end up with a pairing. It’s a comedy with lots of kicking ass, and that’s what you get here in Vol. 21, same as you did in Vol. 1.

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