Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deka Kyoshi, vol. 1

By Tamio Baba
Published in the US by CMX Manga

Slugline: Old school detective

Toyama is a police detective investigating the suspicious suicide of fifth grade school teacher. He goes undercover as the teacher's replacement and befriends the class misfit,Miyahara, who see things no one else can. Miyahara is seeing the various mental disturbances that the students have so Toyama believes his descriptions. Toyama uses them to deal with the various afflictions that the students have while making a friend and an unofficial partner of Miyahara while also drafting the school nurse into his efforts. What is certain that someone is behind the teacher's death and there is a mysterious figure lurking in the background that makes all of the students' problems worse, but by the end of the first volume his identity remains unknown.

The art and story feels very old school, like the title was produced in the 70's or 80's with the art simplified and the storytelling straightforward. The rational explanation for the supernatural abilities is weak, even by the liberal standards of manga, which still bugs me. The stories worked best when both theToyama/Miyahara team and the student of the week deal with the problem together rather having Toyama punching a psychosis that only Miyahara can see leaving the student confused. The best example of this was the "Swimming Girl" chapter where the student confront her guilt over her parent's breakup by speaking with her mom in addition to Toyoma and Miyahara's own efforts. It still feels like an After School Special at times but in the better stories reader isn't being preached to.

Deka Kyoshi, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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