Tuesday, March 09, 2010

My Darling! Miss Bancho, vol. 1

By Mayu Fujikata
Published in the US by CMX Manga

Slugline: Not ashamed to know how silly it is.

Souka has decided to attend a technical school so she can quickly graduate and get a job to help out her recently divorced mother. Unfortunately she made a mistake and her chosen school is run by grade-based gangs that have many fights and school wide rumbles. It is so bad that Souka quickly discovers that she is the only girl left enrolled at the school yet because she has already paid the tuition she is reluctant to just quit. To encourage her stick around the class leader Yuuki gives her an iron plate to defend herself so while caught up in a brawl she uses it to knock out the Bancho, or gang leader of the whole school. That makes her the school's gang leader so she chooses to defend her title out of fear that someone worse will take it and she uses the role's influence to make something of a school populated by hooligans. That and trying to figure out the violent yet nurturing Yuuki, of course.

While in the beginning of the manga it tries to to tell the story seriously, by the end of the volume it has accepted that the whole idea underlying the manga is a little silly and has decided to roll with it. This becomes especially blatant in the inevitable beach trip chapter. It is this willingness to use the cliches of the formal challenge, the requires field and beach trips of school manga that helps makes what would be just another school manga into something that will be actually remembered. Well, that and the manga has a slightly unusual setting being set at a vocational school, which does not appear to be that different from a regular school but in my understanding has differences that run far deeper than just the cosmetic appearance, so hopefully those differences will come into play in the series.

My Darling! Miss Bancho, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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