Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: CMX Manga
Author: Mayu Fujikata
Genre: Graphic Novel (Romance/Comedy)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Meet Souka Hirayama … polite, cute and the gang leader of a wild pack of boys.
Some shoujo manga offers a deeply emotional and deliciously dramatic story while others offer a more whimsical and entertaining peek at romance. Then there’s manga like My Darling! Miss Bancho that is simply off-the-wall wacky to the point that it’s not a conventional shoujo manga and if you pick up Volume 1 you’ll definitely see what I mean.
My Darling! Miss Bancho introduces us to Souka Hirayama who moved out of Tokyo with her mother after her parent’s divorce. Instead of going to a private school again, Souka decided to go to a tech school dedicated to architecture, chemistry, mechanical and electrical divisions. Little did she know that she would be the only girl on campus seeing as the few girls that attended the school transferred out mainly out of fear. You see, with so many boys on campus, there were constant fights. Most of the fights were for the title of Bancho or gang leader.
Seeing as she’s downright cute, the boys are immediately drawn to Souka. Among all the boys is the gentle and protective Yuuji Katou who tells Souka that finds it incredibly brave of her to come back to school after witnessing a big brawl. To protect her, Yuuji even slips an iron plate into her bag just in case she ran into trouble. One day she sees the senior boys, led by the school’s Bancho, attack Yuuji, it is Souka that comes to his aid and accidentally slams her school bag (complete with iron plate) at the Bancho and knocks him out.
What happens next changes the school as we know it since the school rules make it clear that whoever defeats the school’s Bancho will become Bancho in their place. In Souka’s case, since she defeated the leader of the gang it is she who becomes the Bancho and mostly every boy on campus accepts her. Before she knows it, they all call her Bancho and all want to tend to her every need. Of course, Souka doesn’t want this kind of attention but there’s nothing she could do about it.
With nobody wanting to challenge Souka because A, she’s a cutie and B, she’s a girl, the school finally sees some days of peace. She doesn’t mind the quiet but with all the boys wanting to protect her, Souka finds it very uncomfortable being followed and protected by her “minions.” Yet it isn’t until a Junior threatens her at knifepoint to give up her role as Bancho that she realizes that she could use some protection. Once again, Yuuji shows up to save her and Souka once again is the one that takes the challenger down.
Securing her place as Bancho now that she defeated two thugs, Souka is inadvertently the main attraction of the sports festival where she is to make a special lunch and plant a kiss on this year’s MVP. With all the boys scrambling to win the prize, Souka realizes that she might have a student she will cheer for at the festival.
In the final chapter, Souka and her classmates go on a field trip to the mountain and it isn’t until Souka meets a wild boy from a rival tech school named Hideyoshi Komura that she finds her boys competing against Hideyoshi’s boys. Hideyoshi is actually a wildly fun character who – because of his interest in Souka – immediately becomes Yuuji’s rival to win Souka’s heart. Their beach competition is fierce and hilarious as a clueless Souka just doesn’t realize that they are fighting for her.
Volume 1 of My Darling! Miss Bancho might not be deeply emotional or deliciously dramatic but it is delightfully funny and way too much fun to the point that you’ll be glad you picked it up. It’s one of those hyper, over-the-top absurd manga that isn’t afraid to be wacky and unconventional. In other words, it’s different and it’s fun and you’ll enjoy every chapter. There’s going to be a second volume and we are so going to be watching over this one.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Spacey Souka Hirayama discovers that she’s the only girl at the tech school where she now attends and its filled with rowdy boys fighting to take control of the campus as a Bancho … a gang leader. As fate would have it, though, it is Souka who defeats the school’s Bancho and takes over the role as the boys of the tech school loyally follow and protect her from others trying to claim the title.
The art is very simplistic and at times its reduced to stick figures but somehow it works well within the comedic nature of the series.
While it’s wild and wacky and generally absurd, Volume 1 of My Darling! Miss Bancho is way too much fun that you won’t want to put this manga down. It’s because of its absurd nature and warm characters that this series is actually genuinely funny and cute enough to make us actually look forward to the next volume.
Review copy provided by CMX Manga.