Pop Culture Gadabout
Thursday, April 07, 2011
      ( 4/07/2011 06:41:00 AM ) Bill S.  

“AFTER THE DELINQUENT LIFE I’VE LED, I FELT I COULD DO ANYTHING.” On the cover of the first volume, Mafuyu Kurosaki looks like your typical high-spirited shojo heroine -- all big smiles in her school girl outfit. But the lead of Izumi Tsubaki’s Oresama Teacher (Viz/Shojo Beat) has a somewhat darker edge to her. The former head of a “straight-up delinquent” gang, she’s been expelled and shipped to a private school on top of a mountain with maternal instructions to “act like a lady.” For Mafuyu, this is no easy task: on her way to her new school, she happens upon a three-on-one street fight. She intervenes on behalf on the outnumbered party, little knowing that a.) the older man will turn out to be her teacher at her new school and b.) he also has a connection to her past.

A comic romance, Oresama Teacher initially had me considering it as a distaff switch on Great Teacher Onizuka. The two manga series share the same core element: an ex-delinquent struggling to stay on the straight-and-narrow. Though in this case the former gang-banger is the student, as the story progresses, we learn that her teacher Takaomi also has his own colorful past. If this shojo romance isn’t as broadly slapsticky as G.T.O. (though it has its moments of physical comedy), both series get mileage out of their protagonists’ conduct disorderly personalities. In one memorable sequence, for instance, our hyper heroine struggles to sit still in class for the first time in her life, counting the minutes as they creep past. This reader could definitely relate.

Complicating Mafuyu’s resolve to change her fighting ways are her handsome teacher’s knowledge of her once wicked ways, plus the presence of another exiled delinquent, Hayasaka, who feels our girl’s “bloodlust” her first day in class. It’s Hayasaka who articulates the emotional high of the fight life: “I. . . feel good when I’m fighting. I forget all the bad stuff. At least I feel like I’m not the me that I used to be.” All three of the book’s main characters are trying to affect a major change in their lives: even the seemingly impervious Takaomi has become a teacher when we’re told “it doesn’t really suit” his personality. “There was something I couldn’t do unless I became a teacher,” he explains, though what this something could be is a story mystery.

Tsubaki depicts this all with a light hand, occasionally tweaking shojo visual conventions (at one point, Mafuyu asks if a character seen flowers in the background and the artist obligingly provides them in the panel) as well as the manipulative male storyline. Teacher Takomi proves to be a major game-player throughout the first volume -- and at times comes across borderline creepy toward his new student/childhood acquaintance. “In public, he’s a great teacher,” our heroine notes at one point, “but his real personality is horrible.” If that’s not prelude to a budding teacher/student romance, I don’t know what is.

(First published on Blogcritics.)


# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:

A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page

Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine


Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery


Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett


Michael's Movie Palace

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag


News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

Peter David

Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Marc Bernardin

Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby


The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter

A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.

My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Roy Edroso


Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman


Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends

Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed

Powered by Blogger

    follow me on Twitter