Bad Teacher’s Equation 2 (omnibus ed.)

December 24, 2011

Kazuma Kodaka – June – 2011 – 10 volumes
this is an omnibus containing vols. 3-4

I kinda liked this, kinda didn’t last time. This time… is about the same. There’s a couple chapters in the front that feature a flashback to when Masami and Masayoshi were still in school (meeting Toru is a big part of this), and much like the flashback at the beginning of Kizuna, I loved this to pieces. Unlike the flashback at the beginning of Kizuna, it wasn’t because of the sex. This flashback wasn’t even really a romance. It was just more coming-of-age storytelling, which was what I liked about the first volume. It feels weird in a BL series like this, especially since this is still a comedy, but it’s unusual enough that I’m really getting into it.

Unfortunately, the comedy is still not mixing well with the other flavors. The comedy dates it, and the slapstick is a little annoying throughout… well, almost any other part of the story. I don’t think it’s necessarily out of place, especially with any parts that focus on Atsushi, but… they’re old jokes, and not funny. It makes reading parts of this a little difficult.

For instance, right after the flashback there’s a contest chapter that ends with all five main characters going to Norway to meet Masami and Masayoshi’s father. Norway’s an interesting setting, and I was looking forward to this, but five characters is a little much for anything other than comedy. The story wound up mainly being about Masami coming out to his father, which did not go well. But with all the meddling, it was hard to appreciate the drama that was going on. There was also a subplot about another man that tries to go after Toru, which was also an out-of-character stab at humor. There’s also lots of wacky hijinx about who gets to sleep in who’s bed, Inagaki drinking with the elder Shibata, et cetera. I sat on this volume for over a week, dreading having to finish this part. It’s just not what I wanted to read.

Immediately after this finishes, the story introduces Toru’s younger brother and ditches Inagaki, for the most part. Kyohei doesn’t know about his brother and Masami, and Toru is bad at hiding things. This chapter is genuinely cute, and watching Masami quietly get angry as Toru puts his foot in his mouth again and again is pretty funny. Toru does so badly that even Masaoyshi tries to help him out towards the end, which must mean that Masami was fairly angry.

Immediately after this, Kyohei leaves and the story turns to the theme of Masami and Toru’s first night together. This doesn’t go well at all (due to, surprise surprise, comedic interruption by Masayoshi and Atsushi), but the story does a surprisingly good job with character development for all four main characters. With scenes like the one between Masami and Toru, though, it begins to read more like a serious romance with a bad comedy monkey on its back.

One thing that did bother me was the development in the relationship between Masayoshi and Atsushi. I liked this relationship quite a bit, simply because the story made it more than obvious that Masayoshi would never return Atsushi’s feelings. The two get closer here, though, and Atsushi begins to get uncomfortably accurate with reading Masayoshi’s feelings. Masayoshi is still making it very clear that he isn’t interested in Atsushi… but the romance has definitely been turned up a little by the end of the volume. Atsushi’s feelings stopped being a joke, and with less Inagaki, there’s not a whole lot to interrupt the two of them. Bah. I like Masayoshi best as a student adviser, and his role in the story is a big part of why this is working as a coming of age/slice of life story.

The story also touches briefly on the fact that Masayoshi is totally in love with Masami. This is only discussed on a few pages, and dropped just as quickly. As squick-y as this is, again, it’s completely and obviously one-sided, and I like that about it. It’s handled more like Masayoshi is moving on with his life than it does a serious romance, which is why it works.

One other thing that bothers me… whenever Kodaka draws two characters full-body… she… uh, doesn’t draw them tall enough. This comes up in Kizuna, too. As manly-looking as her characters are, they all look like little boys when drawn full-figured. It’s really, really bizarre.

I’m going to keep reading this. I’m more than a little on the fence at this point, especially since I realize with six volumes to go, it’s likely that Masayoshi’s feelings will change. Plus, the humor is really not working for me. But I do like that the emphasis is shifted off romance, and it’s a quirky, if somewhat old-fashioned, story. I’ll see how I feel after one more volume.

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