Gakuen Polizi (学園ポリーチェ) is Morinaga Milk’s newest series…and I think I like it. A lot. The more I think about it, the more I’m pretty sure she’s using her magic powers for good.
Aoba has always wanted to be an ally of Justice and now, as she tranfsers into Hanagaki Girl’s School, she has her chance – she is an official unofficial School Policewoman in training. She’s going to bring justice to this unruly school! Unfortunately for her, the school’s denizens are rather nice young girls and not prone to getting into trouble, but that’s not going to stop Aoba from making a difference.
When a classmate recruits her to investigate the school’s seven mysteries, the girls discover someone lurking in the library – is it a criminal?!? – Aoba pounces, only to discover a classmate, quiet, unobtrusive Midori. To Aoba’s shock she learns that Midori is also assigned to this school as police. Midori admits her father, Chief of Police, has buried her here in this quiet, peaceful school.
Undeterred, Aoba drags Midori into a multitude of small disagreements and personal issues. Midori, who also draws manga, cannot understand Aoba’s enthsiasm and insists she wants to be left alone. When a dog attacks Midori, Aoba shouts at the animal, insisting Midori is her “Important Partner!” Since no one is supposed to know they are police, the school paper presumes that means they are “Yuri.”
After all this silliness is laid out, somewhat surprisingly, a real story begins. The girls catch a groper on the morning train and in an emotional episode, track down a guy that was stalking a classmate’s sister. In this chapter we are plainly told that the police basically didn’t give a crap about the girl and let the guy off with a fine, but the sister is still terrified of leaving the house. Which is just about when I thought…holy crow, I think I know what Morinaga-sensei is doing here….
Remember that this series is running in Comic High, so the audience is pretty typical otaku guys. The kind of guys who might think staring a a girl’s chest is a compliment or who think girls wearing skirts is an implicit permission for them to take upskirt pictures. (You know, pretty much any guy who doesn’t hold himself to a standard of not being an animal.)
These crimes are real crimes that happen to real girls and women every day. And, every day, the police are not helpful – and often extremely dismissive – of these kinds of complaints. As I read the chapter about the stalker, I remembered a number of news stories from Japan, in which the police have actually been perfectly horrible to the women who came to them for help. Here’s what I think. I think Morinaga-sensei is doing political and social commentary, in a moe Yuri manga, without shaming, blaming or pointing fingers. The more I read this volume, the more convinced I was that she’s using her magic powers for good. I approve.
The art is exactly what one expects from Morinaga-sensei, with slightly more serious faces than usual. Aoba is a happy, energetic, extrovert type and Midori – who has a former partner and a backstory that will, I’m sure make up the bulk of Volume 2 – is quiet, serious and introverted. Because there was actual story in Volume 1, rather than the more usual character development, we have yet to see Aoba’s backstory, but you know – that’s okay by me.
Volume 1 is an intriguing open to a new student police saga, wholly unlike Sukeban Deka or YajiKita Gakuen Douchuuki. There might no be drug lords in Aoba’s future, but the bullies, the mean girls, the nasty teachers and all the other rotten, horrible people that make high school life such a chore, should watch out – this school’s protected by the police.
Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 7
Yuri – hints, teases and misunderstandings. “Important partner” and Midori’s backstory
Service – Not as much as you might expect, but still – 3
Overall – 8
The synopsis says this is a Yuri love comedy. I’m willing to wait. ^_^
Oh, btw. The title should be “Gakuen Police” but the Japanese transliterates to gakuen polichi and I chose “polizi” over “polici” for no reason at all, except I thought it looked more stylish.