Writer/Artist: Towa Ohshima
Translated by: Michiko Nakayama
Adapted by: Gayle Tan
What They Say
Hi girls, Odagiri here! It's not easy being a cute, single male teacher at all-girls high school. For Christ's sake, when are they going to learn I'm not a poser?! I'm just an ordinary teacher trying to get some respect from my students... Hear my side of the story as the school trip to Okinawa finally concludes as well as part one of High School Girls!
It seems like there are few people who have actually heard of High School Girls, much less read it. Which is, frankly a shame, because it is certainly one of the cleverest, funniest, and – yes, I’ll say it – best series of the past few years. In a genre as clogged with members as the high school slice-of-life comedy, you have to be special to stand with the Azumangas and the Cromarties, and High School Girls is one of the very few that manages to do so.
Volume 9, while not “technically” the last volume (merely the end of the first part), feels like a fond farewell. Which may be for the best, with the next volume still in limbo. To make sure we don’t forget about them, major characters outside of Eriko’s Moron Group (Odagiri, Momoka, Shimotakatani, Nao and Sayaka) receive their own chapters. All are very entertaining, and show just what a headache Eriko & Co. cause for the more normal characters in the series. There’s also a smattering of short retrospectives which, aside from being generally hilarious, tie together the past and present in a very satisfying way. In the end, the school trip arc serves as a fitting analogy to the high school experience itself, and the final chapter manages to be surprisingly emotional. I can only hope the <I>real</I> ending, whenever it arrives, can deliver the same combination of comedy and sentimentality.
High School Girls is crude, coarse and amazingly sharp. Rarely does it go for the obvious joke, the painfully choreographed retort, the male-protagonist-falling-on-female-lead. An astonishing majority of its laughs are sucker punches, completely by surprise, which is in itself astonishing. The fact that they are delivered so frequently, by likeable and realistic characters, catapults the series to the top of its class. If you enjoy laughing, get High School Girls Volume 9. If you missed the first eight, get those too. Experience the pain of waiting in uncertainty with the rest of us.