Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Manga Review: Gakuen Polizi volume 1

 I still love that all of the English language releases of Morinaga Milk's books tout her status as a yuri icon. She is a hard-working mangaka who has been drawingand helping pioneer the growth ofgood yuri for over a decade, and she deserves all of the success she has gotten. I am thrilled that her work has sold well enough in English to warrant multiple licenses of her work, so even though this series wrapped up sooner than I (and most readers) expected at two volumes and I am a little worried about it not getting the breathing room to satisfactorily conclude the slow burn it seemed like it was going for when I first read it (review here), I am still happy to be reviewing this volume. Fingers crossed for that second volume.

Anyway, I don't have much in the way of new thoughts about this bookI last read it a little over a year ago, and enjoyed it as Morinaga Milk trying something different while indulging her love of police dramas, with dashes of her other favorite things, magical girl shows and yuri.
I still appreciate this volume's on point social commentary about stalking, law enforcement's failings in response to stalking, and creeps in general, especially given the incredibly male gazey magazine this series ran in. Social commentary has been a thing in Morinaga's work since Girl Friends, as GAR GAR Stegosaurus's Day and I discussed about Girl Friends here, and as I mentioned here in my review of the Kisses, Sighs and Cherry Blossom Pink omnibus.

This volume is very pre-yuri- it has a lot of set-up for the relationship that should develop between its leads Sasami and Midori later, following your classic "they don't get along, but warm up to each other" model, unlike most of Morinaga's famous work, in which her leads tend to have a fondness for each other right off the bat. That works for the buddy cop dynamic Morinaga is going for as a starting point, though.

As expected, no complaints about this as a physical release either. Seven Seas' translation and editing is strong as usual. If you're wondering why Seven Seas went with Gakuen Polizi for this series' English release title instead of School Police, it's because they figured Gakuen Polizi would grab more attention than School Police, and its starting with a G would allow it to be placed closer to Girl Friends in bookstores.

In short, this volume is a light buddy cop school comedy with hints of darker characterization ahead that becomes a kind of kick ass social commentary by the end, with a good amount of set-up for a potential relationship between its characters. I enjoyed rereading it, and look forward to seeing what volume 2 has in store.

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