Title: Oresama Teacher
Author: Izumi Tsubaki
Publisher: Viz Media (Shojo Beat)
Volume: Volumes 11-12 (ongoing), $9.99
Vintage: 2011 by Hakusensha, November 2012 and January 2013 by Viz Media
It’s Christmas Eve at the beginning of volume 11, and Mafuyu has found herself in a rather strange situation. She is out on the town, in her Super Bun mask, with Hayasaka. Her fellow Morals Club member has been upset that Super Bun has been appearing without him around. The date-that-is-not-a-date is a rather awkward and confusing affair, with Mafuyu trying to figure out what exactly is the purpose of their outing, and Hayasaka being…Hayasaka. Next, Mafuyu heads home for the new year, only to find her house empty. Fortunately her former underlings are all too happy to see her, especially Kangawa. They turn a lonely New Year’s Eve into a very strange hot pot party. Kangawa’s turn at the pot is relatively normal, but Maizono fills it with ingredients that would churn even the strongest stomach. After that friendly interlude, the story shifts back to the Student Council attacks, and the unsociable Reito Ayabe is up next. Ayabe decides that the best way to destroy the Public Morals Club is to go after its leader, who should be the strongest of the bunch. He quickly pinpoints Mafuyu as his target and calls her out to the old school building. Though Ayabe seems weak and sickly, Mafuyu is surprised at how brutally and quickly he puts her down. Not only that, it’s the first time in her life she’s lost a fight, and she’s immediately disheartened by this. After a pep talk (well, by his standards) from Takaomi, and an examination of the area she was beaten in, Mafuyu gets over her slump and sets about researching what’s so special about Ayabe that allowed him to beat her. Her method of research is to essentially stalk Ayabe all over campus, prompting his two friends to think she has a crush on him and wants to date him. She finally confronts him and calls for a rematch in the same building as before. Things go a bit differently this time. Mafuyu watches Ayabe build up his strength and it becomes harder to dodge his attacks, but just when things start to look bad, they take a surprising turn. Ayabe’s rather unique secret is revealed – when he sees something dirty, he gets worked into a frenzy until he can no longer control himself and just absolutely has to clean away every speck of dust.
And thus, a very strange friendship is born. Sort of. As volume 12 opens, Mafuyu and Ayabe are caught eating lunch together. In order to keep Mafuyu from revealing his secret, Ayabe agrees to make her lunch every day. Mafuyu, of course, has no desire to reveal his weakness, but happily accepts free food and the chance to get to know Ayabe better. Noting that Ayabe tends to act very brotherly, she questions him about his family. Ayabe is the oldest of six; his father is a truck driver and his mother a nurse, so it was up to Ayabe to care for his younger siblings. He began to take pride in keeping a clean house, so they would never be embarrassed of their home when people came to visit. Caring for five younger siblings was rough, however, and put a lot of stress on Ayabe. The one time his siblings encouraged him to take a night off, disaster struck, prompting an exhausted Ayabe to apply for a high school with scholarships and a dorm so he could get out of that house immediately. He left his siblings without any explanation, and hasn’t been back for a year. Feeling sorry for Ayabe, Mafuyu insists they go visit his family, and literally drags him kicking and screaming back home. Watching his siblings, Ayabe realizes there are people who really care for him and want him to be happy. From the slightly serious to the outrageously hilarious, the story shifts to Okegawa. Okegawa is at risk of being held back a year instead of graduating. Fortunately, he only has to show up for and pass a makeup exam and he’s home free. Unfortunately, there are some who don’t want him to pass. One of his underlings, the extremely lucky Daikichi Goto, is helping him study. Okegawa’s number two, Kawauchi, approaches Hayasaka for help with his plan to keep the Bancho from making the test. Mafuyu and Goto overhear, and immediately protest. Even Shinobu gets involved, leaving Mafuyu and Goto as the only two who want to help Okegawa. Trap after incredibly bizarre trap is launched at the trio, but Goto’s luck is on their side. Until he suddenly switches allegiances near the end, unleashing a vortex of mayhem. The chaos continues as a new transfer student arrives and immediately begins causing trouble. This playboy has been causing all the girls to ditch their boyfriends and tail after him, but every time he’s confronted by a spurned young man, he refers them to Mafuyu. As a result, Mafuyu is plagued by angry students for an unknown reason. When she finally manages to catch up to Aki Shibuya, he insists on becoming one of her henchmen. Thinking Aki is doing this because he believes Mafuyu is strong and will protect him, she decides to let herself be defeated to prove him wrong, but her plan backfires when Hayasaka and Shinobu comes to her rescue.
Have I mentioned how hilarious this series is? Well, I’ll say it again. In fact, I’ll say it every single time. Oresama Teacher has me falling off the furniture with laughter. And not just the first time through, either. Even rereads crack me up. From Mafuyu’s reactions to the events around her, to Hayasaka’s mood swings, to the odd way Mafuyu wins over each Student Council member she’s supposed to be fighting against, to Takaomi’s subtle jealousy, to Maizono’s rope fetish, and on and on, Tsubaki knows how to build the perfect gag. A single reaction panel can be enough to elicit a hearty laugh. The story is a bit everywhere at times, but things still link together smoothly. There’s a rather large focus on Ayabe in these volumes, and he’s certainly one of the most interesting Student Council members so far. It’s getting really hard to see them as the antagonists of the story. Especially as the Student Council President’s goal is becoming harder to grasp. He keeps sending his minions after Mafuyu, but they all sort of end up being helped by her and becoming friends. Which seems counterproductive, so I’m no longer sure what his angle is, or if he even has one anymore. That’s probably the biggest (and really only) fault in this series so far. He didn’t really seem like the sort to genuinely care about people, and yet he gives Mafuyu information to help Ayabe overcome his past. He also seems to be behind the plot to make Okegawa fail his test and get held back a year. Which, again, feels counterproductive, since Okegawa staying means the delinquents are more likely to stay in line, which means less trouble on campus, which means a better school. And wasn’t Miyabi supposed to be helping the school director do exactly the opposite of that? It’s a bit confusing. Other than that, the series is still strong and still filled with laughs. It’s one of my favorites; it’s rare to find a manga that I enjoy so very thoroughly.
Review copies (of at least one of these, though I can’t remember which) provided by Viz Media.