Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
GN 9 & 10
The mysterious five o'clock disappearances of second and third year students leads to a plot to sabotage the school festival, and it's up to Mafuyu (in her Natsuo disguise) and Bancho to set things right. Once that's settled, the student council declares an “audit” of school clubs, designed to weed out useless groups. Their goal? To wipe out the Public Morals Club. Will they succeed?
Midorigaoka is a school with a checkered past. A refuge for delinquents and other underachievers, the titular teacher is trying to salvage the school's reputation in what appears to be the least effective way possible – by recruiting his childhood friend/target Mafuyu and her friend Hayasaka into his Public Morals Club. Throw a spy/self-made ninja from the Student Council and two of Mafuyu's thinly veiled alter-egos into the mix, and you have a very strange team indeed. Fortunately they excel at the sort of underhanded techniques required to shape up a notorious den of scholarly iniquity. Unfortunately their antics aren't all that funny to read about. Since Oresama Teacher is ostensibly a comedy, this is a problem.
Volume nine picks up the school ghost story thread that began in volume eight – second and third year students are vanishing from the halls at exactly five o'clock and staying gone for half an hour. When they return, they claim not to be able to remember anything about their time away. Mafuyu, “disguised” as Natsuo, is on the case, and she tries to talk Bancho into getting Spirited Away for the cause. Things don't go exactly as planned, and the whole issue is resolved fairly quickly when Mafuyu herself is taken and thus learns the truth about the situation. As is the norm for this series, the reality would be hysterically funny in different authorial hands, and Izumi Tsubaki still manages to get some chuckles out of the reader with the sheer lunacy of the situation. This carries over a little into the school festival storyline that takes up the rest of the book, although it becomes ancillary to the main plot about Bancho and his (former) henchmen. We do, however, find out what exactly caused the school's reputation to plummet as Mafuyu tries to keep history from repeating itself.
The major problem with the story here is that it takes the focus off of Mafuyu and Hayasaka (who barely shows up in either of these volumes) in order to place it on Bancho and one of his subordinates. Neither of these are characters we have any great attachment to, and in fact one of them is introduced here for the first time. They lack the charming quirks of Mafuyu's old goons from her former school and the story devolves into a tale of gang politics that it is hard to get behind. While Tsubaki peppers the plotline with some of Shinobu's ninja antics and some truly funny school festival hijinks, there is just simply not enough at stake for characters we care about and too much focus on those we don't.
Volume ten fares a bit better, and is the stronger of the two. This time the focus is on the Student Council as they initiate their yearly audit of the school clubs. This is nominally intended to weed out useless groups that are simply sponging budget money off the school, but Hanabusa's real goal is to get rid of Takaomi's Public Morals Club. To this end he dispatches Wakana, a girl with a serious chip on her shoulder, a wooden sword, and a flock of thugs. School clubs who know that they don't have a leg to stand on try to attack her and steal the stamp of approval, a tactic that Takaomi quickly decides is the best one for the Public Morals Club, and so sends Mafuyu, Shinobu, and Hayasaka off to accost Wakana. But Wakana, as it turns out, has a history with Shinobu, and pretty soon Hayasaka goes off on his own to try something else. This leaves Mafuyu to try and figure out a way to get the stamp as well as what's going on between the other two. The result is that this volume has much more romance than any of the previous nine, including one very awkward moment between Mafuyu and Takaomi. The romantic element doesn't really add to the story, although it doesn't actively detract either. Readers who have been enjoying the almost complete lack of it may lament its arrival, but overall it is simply there.
A few running gags – Hayasaka's dimwittedness, Shinobu's strange ninja skills, and everyone's utter inability to recognize Mafuyu when she's Super Bun – continue through both of these books, and Tsubaki continues to at least mildly entertain with them. Super Bun may be the best joke, and her appearance in volume ten is a welcome one, but overall these volumes provide more faint smiles than outright laughs. Although the art is consistently nice and shows good movement, it too remains fairly unremarkable. Perhaps that is the best way to describe this somewhat underwhelming series as it reaches its tenth volume – it is nice and has its moments of amusement, but on the whole, Oresama Teacher is fairly unremarkable.
Overall : C
Story : C
Art : B-
+ Super Bun is always entertaining, and we finally learn precisely why Midorigaoka is in such trouble. Hayasaka has some good surprises, and the truth about the 5 pm vanishings is pretty good.
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