Teasing Master Takagi-san Review

Teasing Master Takagi-san Review
Karakai Jōzu no Takagi-san

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As is normal, I don’t remember when or how Teasing Master Takagi-san came to my attention. But the series was well underway when I started. And during some vacation or other, when I should have been blogging about an anime or manga, or getting some video up on YouTube, I read a bunch of this manga series. Since then, I’ve kept up with it and its spinoff on the side. Now that mangaka YAMAMOTO Souichirou-sensei has ended the series, I thought I’d give it a quick review.

The Story, in Brief

Teasing Master Takagi-san 04The story of Teasing Master Takagi-san is fairly simple. Female junior high school student Takagi (family name) and male student Nishikata (family name) sit next to each other in the back of the classroom. Takagi likes Nishikata, but rather than be clingy, she gets his attention by teasing him. To that end, Nishikata always looks for a way to get back at Takagi, but usually, she’s one step ahead of him. And when he does win against her, it doesn’t make him feel better.

To that end, the two spend a great deal of time together, further aided by the fact that much of their walk to and from school is on the same roads. Over time, as some in their circles of friends start dating, Nishikata begins to wonder not only if Takagi has feelings for him, but does he have feelings for her?

In the Beginning

When Teasing Master Takagi-san started, it is clear that Yamamoto-sensei had Takagi-chan’s teasing come off as a bit more cruel. And while even from the first chapter, it is implied that Takagi-chan has feelings for Nishikata, she still would have looks of disdain for Nishikata at times. At other times, she would look at Nishikata as if he were pathetic. As such, in the early chapters of the manga, the stories of Takagi-chan’s teasing and Nishikata’s attempts at revenge don’t have that level of adorableness that they have at present.

Over time, Yamamoto-sensei’s art style changed. Takagi-chan lost her superiority attitude that came through in her character art. Instead, Takagi-chan became softer. Her teasing became gentler. And her attitude appeared through the art as someone who genuinely enjoyed Nishikata’s company, but understood he wasn’t at her level of maturity yet. To that end, her teasing became a means of strengthening the bonds of friendship between them.

Interestingly enough, Yamamoto-sensei redrew the first chapter of this manga series a few years ago. And while the story and conversation text is the same, the updated version has none of the harsh, mean undertones of the original publication. And that is what I think helped give this manga series the legs it has to this date.

Same Old, Same Old

Teasing Master Takagi-san 11While there’s no doubt that there’s a wholesome (more so as time goes on) nature to Teasing Master Takagi-san, the biggest problem with the series is that it gets stale. Over the course of nineteen volumes, there’s almost no change in the relationship between Nishikata and Takagi-chan. Because Nishikata often loses in contests with Takagi-chan, he’s always coming up with something new. And as I stated earlier, he almost always loses in the end. That’s pretty much every chapter in the manga.

Even when the spinoff series Teasing Master (Former) Takagi-san (apparently written in part by Yamamoto-sensei, but drawn and written by INABABA Mifumi) came out, revealing that Nishikata and Takagi-chan got married and had a kid in the future, there wasn’t much advancement of their romance in the original manga. Sure, the original manga is cute enough, but without some sense of progress, things become stale and boring to a degree. And to me, that kills the reread value. After all, one story is very much like another.

Still, I won’t deny that despite this, I did read this whenever it came out. Oddly enough, since I wasn’t blogging the manga, I actually read it over titles I am blogging (currently, only Tonikaku Kawaii). Maybe it was in the hopes of seeing progress. Maybe it was the cute, wholesome nature of the manga. But I did follow it until the end.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

In the end, Teasing Master Takagi-san is a romcom that is both cute and wholesome, and enjoyable to read. However, it suffers from not going anywhere fast in terms of progress between Takagi-chan and Nishikata. Further, many of the stories start feeling like the same old, same old, only with a different coat of paint. But if you don’t mind that, then I highly recommend the series.

If you read the manga, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 😁


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