Daisuki Datta yo Sensei… (大好きだったよ、先生。。。)

I could barely remember the last time I read a shoujo manga. But Daisuki Datta yo Sensei is a good welcome-back-to-shoujo read.

The entire book is composed of three stand alone stories. The main story in which the title of this book comes from, is a two-chapter story about a high-schooler Sakuraba Ito who is infamous in their area for dating her homeroom teacher. Naturally, she is suspended from school. One day, after going out with her friends, she meets a weird guy named Nakamura Izumi.

In that fraction of second of their meeting, Izumi is already smitten with Ito and wants to know more about her. Their mutual affection escalates a little too quick for my taste. But while it seems fast, I admire the couple’s resolution for the fate of their relationship. I rarely read teacher x student stories because it’s almost always the same thing. But since Ito have prior experience to the same kind of relationship, she learned from it and not commit the same mistakes again. (I have to admit that I lol’d when I found out that he’s a teacher. I mean yeah, that should be obvious from the title but girl, your taste is consistent ʘ‿ʘ. ) She is level-headed in a way that she chooses to do what is right and not let the raging teenage hormones get the better of her.

I see Izumi as a laid-back, air-headed adult. He is more of a kid sometimes than Ito. He is persistent yet he also knows when to pull back. Despite being the older one in their relationship, he listens and respects Ito’s decisions on important matters.

Ushiro kara Ni-ban Me no Kanojou is the second story in the book. Everyone in Yumi’s class is going gaga over the four handsome second year guys, particularly Sakura. These four guys like to hang out in a staircase in front of Yumi’s class during lunch break. This is unknown to everyone except Yumi who revels to the fact that she could take her time looking at her beloved Nishina-senpai without her squeeing classmates.

During class, Yumi notices that someone is in the staircase. Worried that it is Nishina with some girl, Yumi watches the scene only to realize that it is Sakura who is slapped by the girl he is with. Worse is that, Sakura catches her looking. If it isn’t Yumi’s bad day enough, her teacher called her to help sorting some files after school – with no other than Sakura!

This is impossible not to adore. Sakura is pretty much everything that I like in my shoujo hero. Despite his looks and popularity that he could have a choice of his own lovers, he is still a regular guy who gets embarrassed and tries to act cool in front of the girl he likes. It is also cute to note that even if their actual meeting is after the slapping incident, Sakura is already familiar with what Yumi likes. If that isn’t sweet then I don’t know what it is.

The third and the last story is Toraware Beast. With Shiori’s flashy looks, she is often labeled as the popular girl who has lots of experience with men. In reality, she is a pure otome who loves reading romance books which she tries so hard to hide from her new found friends at her new school. All to keep up with her cool image.

Her love for books is accidentally discovered by Megu. Kaji Megumi or Megu is the Theatre Club President, the club which Shiori’s friends deem disgusting. Megu coaxes Shiori to join their club in return for soiling his book. The more Shiori spends time with Megu, the more she realizes that it’s not so bad to be honest with yourself and your real feelings. Due to Megu’s influence Shiori starts accepting herself for who she really is.

This couple is the opposite of one another. I already mentioned Shiori above. Meanwhile, Megu is cunning and calculating, a wolf in a sheep’s clothing. Their romance does not appeal to me at first. I keep on thinking if Megu does really like Shiori or is she just part of his schemes? But perhaps he initially did what he did because they are in need of members and to spite Shiori for dissing his club even though she likes books. Another thing that makes me ??? is how do those girls think that Megu is disgusting when he is every bit of a bishie and even prettier than Shiori when he crossdresses.

What draws me in each story is how the heroines carry themselves. They may be pure and naïve but not entirely gullible. They face their problems and feelings head on without being reckless. They’ve all got a good head above their shoulders.

I’m glad I’ve picked up this book. Hopefully, I get to read more shoujo manga as good (or even better) as this.

Mangaka: Shiraishi Yuki

Publisher: Shogakukan

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