Kurashina Sensei’s not the only one who should be passionate about this solid release
Writer/Artist: Natsuho Shino
What They Say
Welcome to the renowned Shoei Academy, a school which prides itself on educating young men from respected families from kindgarten all the way through senior high school. When new teacher Reiji Kurashina transfers to the academy right in the middle of the school year, he proves to be the star all of the senior high boys have been waiting for! But who has a shot at being the special someone to this cool and beautiful teacher?!
The front cover here is a solid one, showing most of the main characters, though a few are left out. The composition is solid and looks nice. And to prevent any possible confusion, a large logo makes sure to announce that this is indeed “Yaoi manga,” but luckily it blends in rather nicely with the overall design and color scheme. The back cover is another image with the main cast and a slightly unattractive yellow and orange checkerboard pattern as well as quick synopsis that gets a tad too specific. The book is noticeably larger than most, which is nice and helps justify the barely above average price tag. Extras include a short story in which we… see what everyone is eating for lunch (a little odd but it works) and a quick word from the author.
The translation here is fantastic. Things read smoothly, honorifics remain intact, and footnotes appear when necessary for Japanese terms. Sound effects keep their original characters and are also subtitled in stylized text, which is great. The art doesn’t do much to stand out, but the characters do look rather nice, Kurashina Sensei in particular. Backgrounds are rare and none to detailed, but the active characters do help make up for it and keep the layouts interesting.
Reiji Kurashina is a new teacher and former student of the all-boys Shoei High School, and quickly finds himself short one cat. Following after his pet, named Matsumoto-san, Kurashina soon runs into a large student, who his cat then proceeds to vomit upon. In a rather humorous yet awkward moment, Kurashina begins undressing the student and runs off with his jacket, so he can wash and return it. In order to help him learn the ropes, he is then introduced to the eccentric events organization committee. Kouki Akiyama is the first of the group, an overly talkative student who happens to love Japanese history, Kurashina Sensei’s subject. We then meet Mahiro Sakamoto, who talks in a rather vicious and straightforward manner, as well as Haruka Kimura and Dai Kurosawa, a duo of freshmen who have little personality in this volume outside of Dai’s insecure nature and Haruka’s fear of cats. Then the final member and chairman of the committee, Takashi Asano, shows up and is, unsurprisingly, the tall, stoic student
Kurashina met earlier. Despite his tough guy act, Kurashina quickly finds himself being ordered around by the group, and by the end of the first chapter finds out that he is now the teacher in charge of the committee.
Things continue in an interesting manner as Kurashina’s old friend Yusuke shows up in the guise of a woman named Yu (for reasons as of yet unexplained) and tells her old friend she is the school nurse. Then, Kouki’s younger brother Mizuki shows up only to become lost with Kurashina in the school, and we discover Kouki’s longstanding friendship with Takashi. Next, Kurashina is placed in charge of a hike on which Haruka and Dai soon become lost. Finally, Takashi and Kurashina do some shopping and the group participates in a fashion show to help decide the new school uniform. The book climaxes when Takashi suddenly kisses Kurashina, leaving him just as perplexed as the rest of us.
All in all, this book makes for a nice little read. Kurashina, Takashi, and Kouki form an interesting main trio to watch, all of them having their interesting little quirks. Kurashina is trying to act cool and in control, and while this may sometimes work, he often finds himself simply being ordered around by his students. Takashi is your general stoic and silent type, but near the end he manages to break that shell a little (and it’s humorous to watch just how unemotional he is, especially at the start.) And Kouki fills the role of “overly talkative goofball” rather well. The rest of the characters are a little on the flat side, but it seems more that they’re left to grow in later volumes than poor character design, which should be a treat to see. The first volume is solid, and it should certainly be interesting to see how the story develops from here, especially with the sudden cliffhanger of this book.