by Rebecca Silverman,

Oresama Teacher

GN 12 & 13

Oresama Teacher GN 12 & 13
The next member of the Student Council has launched her attack against the Public Morals Club with the goal of taking down shadow members Natsuo and Super Bun. Like most of the others, Kanon Nonoguchi has a strange debt of loyalty to the Student Council president, but this time her past may come back to bite her as her tactics get her in over her head. How will Mafuyu and her band of merry morons get out of this mess?

If nothing else, Oresama Teacher is consistent. Unfortunately, what it is is consistently underwhelming, relying on jokes that are only partially funny or worn out by its thirteenth volume, bogged down by too many characters, and suffering from an overarching plot that has long since faded into the background. While creator Izumi Tsubaki tries to alleviate at least two of those problems with a confusing character chart in volume twelve, it really only serves to highlight what the issues have been all along. (Although it is a handy reference as you head on into these two books.) While there are some chuckles to be had, for the most part this is just more of the same, with Mafuyu/Natsuo/Super Bun using her latent powers of delinquency against yet another foe for reasons we have all but forgotten.

This really is a shame, because Mafuyu is one of the more interesting heroines in high school shoujo manga. Simultaneously trying to overcome and embrace her past as the bancho (thug leader) of her middle school, Mafuyu is a funny, energetic protagonist who draws oddballs to her, often without realizing that she herself is a bit of a nut. Her easy relationship with her friends is nicely offset by her desperate desire to be a girly girl and her ability to stand up for herself goes beyond physical capabilities. In another story, she could be amazing; it's a pity that Tsubaki isn't able to give her more to work with.

As the series has progressed, Mafuyu has remained the only early character to be the central focus of the action, with Hayasaka, Yui the Ninja Wannabe, and even the titular teacher Takaomi taking backseats in favor of newcomers Reito and Akki. In the cases of Hayasaka and Takaomi, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as their jokes are pretty well played out, but it does compound Oresama Teacher's population problem by continually piling on new players. While Tsubaki is a competent artist, character design is not her strong suit, and mole placement or size of hair layers do not easily serve as distinguishing features when there are so many teenage boys running around the plot. Female characters are more easily told apart (although the same girl seems to be all of the background females) simply because there are fewer of them, something which makes the decision to give new antagonist Kanon cat eyes a bit odd.

The overall plot of these two books has Mafuyu in her Natsuo costume for most of the time. Kanon, unlike the previous members of the Student Council who attempted to destroy the Public Morals Club, has decided to go the route out outing the shadow members, Mafuyu's alter-egos Natsuo and Super Bun. One of the most entertaining portions of the thirteenth volume is when she issues an invitation for both of them to meet her at the same time. Takaomi concocts a Super Bun costume for one of the boys, but his enthusiasm perhaps goes too far. (It is also amusing that he and Mafuyu decided that she should go as the male alter-ego when she's the only girl club member.) Tsubaki also manages to get a surprising amount of emotion out of Kanon's back story, although that falls a bit flat once it gets to the part where she decides to join the student council. Like Reito's past, Kanon's retreads some familiar shoujo manga ground, but Tsubaki does it well, which is what makes occasional moments of parody shine so brightly in the convoluted tangle that is Oresama Teacher. Volume thirteen ends with a new Public Morals Club member (who is fairly expected, but it is surprising it took this long) and a lack of resolution for this plot, which is a little disheartening given that Tsubaki has said that she plans to have each of the Council members go after Mafuyu and Takaomi. If there were such thing as a shoujo tournament manga, this would be it.

On the whole, Oresama Teacher's heroine is wasted on this lackluster story, which at this point is a stagnant pond of too many characters and repeated plots. By now Takaomi's desire to save the school is less engaging than that of the super sweet girls in Love Live, who at least all look different from one another, and nothing particularly compelling is going on between the characters to keep things going. It has its moments of humor, but generally speaking, this is a series that has lost whatever sparkle it had thirteen volumes ago.

Overall : C-
Story : D+
Art : C+

+ Mafuyu's an interesting strong heroine, some moments of humor shine through.
The whole East/West/North/South High thing is utterly extraneous and just adds to the character pile. The “student council wars” plot has gone on too long with little to no change.

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Production Info:
Story & Art: Izumi Tsubaki

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Oresama Teacher (manga)

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Oresama Teacher (GN 13)

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