Title: Ki-chan Sensei no Jijou
Author: OKAUE Ai
KC Dessert Comics, 2008
I am filing this one under romance, even though there isn’t really any romance, at least not in volume 1. This is actually more of a comedy, but I don’t have a separate comedy section yet ^_^; I actually passed up this title several times at the bookstore before I finally caved in and bought it. Every time I browsed the shelves, I would end up looking at this book, but I always put it back. But this was one of those situations that pop up sometimes where I realized that I must obviously want to buy it, because there is SOMETHING abut it that keeps drawing me to it to pick it up off the shelf so many times. So at last I just put myself out of my misery and bought it 🙂 I am not sure why I kept putting the book back. I think it may be because I assumed from the cover that this would be some sort of girls buddy-series about friends who are opposites. The two girls on the cover had that ‘wacky clash of opposite personalities!’ look to them. But then I realized that the two girls on the cover are actually the SAME girl! ooh, this is a girl-in-disguise series! Basing things on my own stereotypes, I assumed that it would be the case of the prim, proper high school teacher masquerading as the wild and crazy girl with the big hair. Wrong!
This story is actually the other way around. INOKIDA Kikuo is a top hostess at a cabaret club, where she goes by the name “Kiho”. This is the type of place where pretty girls entertain male customers by acting all fawning and affectionate and convincing the guys to spend lots of money on very expensive alcohol. Kiho is very loud, and rude, and outgoing. She was a delinquent in high school, and is now happily a part of the Tokyo underworld nightlife. Kiho is very good at her hostess job, effortlessly charming the various male customers.
However, her life is about to get more complicated when the cabaret club owner, Aota-san, calls Kiho over for a special request. Out of the blue he asks Kiho if she wants to be a teacher. Wait, what? This came totally out of nowhere! But it’s true. Aota-san, her BOSS, wants her to teach at a private high school he is associated with. How the heck is a cabaret club owner associated with a high school? Why should she become a teacher there? Amazingly enough, Kiho does seem to have a teaching certificate, as far as I can tell, but she never meant to use it for actual teaching, I think it was meant to help in luring a good man or something. While this whole ‘want to become a teacher? ‘ request is really an offer she can’t refuse, seeing as it is her boss who is offering, Kiho is not too thrilled. Still, if she wants to keep her job, she will go along with this flimsy plot set-up.
So, the very reluctant Kiho is off to teach at a high school. Gone are the flashy long nails and tight dresses. Instead she is forced to wear sedate business skirts and blouses. A short, boring wig hides her dyed hair, and glasses add to the blandness. As expected, with such a plain and modest disguise, her class of students are not impressed by her. This class is not exactly like one you would find in GTO. It isn’t really a class if delinquents. In fact, they are kind of your average, apathetic class. There are girls more interested in their make-up than learning, boys listening to music on their headphones, etc. In general, everyone in the class is fairly good looking. They just don’t especially care that they have a new teacher.
Kiho soon meets a pair of unusual students, Sawamura and Onishi. They are both cute, but Onishi in particular is good looking. They are members of a club at school that basically functions as a place where people can go to feel comfortable. For example, one of the teachers visits the club and uses it as a hideout where he can smoke. Because the school recently got a new owner (Aota-san) all the students and faculty have been trying to put on a good face and make the school look great. This club is a secret place where everyone can act like themselves. The guys have her join the club (hey, she needs a place to smoke too!) and soon she has her own place to hide out from the teaching stress.
So, Kiho hangs out in the club with the guys and the other teacher. She does end up helping some students and surprising herself. Considering how she was coerced into the job, she takes to it very well, even though she is very rough around the edges. She has her own brand of common sense and ability to recognize when someone is having problems (a trait perhaps acquired when she learned how to draw salarymen into conversation at the cabaret club). Maybe a teaching career is just the thing for her after all?
This series reminds me a lot of Gokusen but with a hostess instead of a yakuza heir. However, this series spends a little more time focusing on Kiho’s issues. There is a bit of the ‘help a new student every chapter’ in this series. Kiho juggles life working as both a teacher and a cabaret girl.
I really enjoyed volume 1. This is mainly a school comedy, so there is no romance in it really (not yet, anyway) and the focus is on humor, contrasting Kiho’s cabaret background with her school life, and various issues her students have. The artwork is pretty and clean. I am curious to see what will happen next.