MANGA REVIEW | "Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro" - Vol. 5
The best laughs always come when the butt of the joke is the one dishing out the punchline. We’ve come to see Senpai gain some backbone in Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro, especially when the titular character pushes the envelope slightly too far. In the fifth volume, Senpai isn’t just winning battles; he’s also aiding Nagatoro in her own.
Nagatoro and Senpai have their duo interactions, as the kouhai picks on him for his lack of adventurous tastes and the possibility of him being held back in classes. However, it’s when the trio of Sakura, Yosshi, and Gamo enter the picture when the real fun begins. From a search for dirty magazines to bento lunch trades, the three friends of Nagatoro add their own wackiness to Senpai’s life. However, things get rather serious when the art club may be in trouble of shutting down.
As we come to get to know Nagatoro’s friends, it becomes evident that they’re not only good people; they’re also dorks. Outside, they seem like the Tina Fey-styled mean girls, but when their attempts to get a rise out of Senpai are thwarted, their real personalities start to show. There are two instances where this is evident, and they both are via Sakura’s actions. One involves Senpai helping to deal with Sakura’s stalker; the other a gang of mischievous boys who’ve taken over the girls’ turf.
While Nagatoro has her victories in this volume, it’s Senpai that has the last (nervous) laugh in some of their antics. Her reaction to his cooking brings forth a nice Food Wars homage, while a game of anpan guessing lets his hands get a little more full than usual. Senpai even assists in Nagatoro’s quest to prove he’s a pervert, even at the cost of some of his dignity. Of course, Nagatoro is often one step ahead of the game, as she calls Senpai’s bluff when he throws a modeling condition at her.
For the first time though, a true threat to Senpai’s club occurs when its President arrives out of the blue. Seeing how the head treats Senpai sends Nagatoro into a frenzy, showing her true colors — as well as her friends’ — in order to save what he truly loves. While we will have to wait to see if Senpai and his crew of cute goofballs save the club in the next volume, one has a sneaking suspicion that Nagatoro’s got a slick trick up her sleeve to gain the win.
Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro is all about when the titular character will show her real caring side. Volume Five slowly lifts the sadistic-looking mask off of her face, revealing the heart that lies deep inside. She may not have the sweetness of Takagi-san or the softness of Uzaki-chan, but Miss Nagatoro has something that neither of them do: the ability to erase the line that shan’t be crossed when the time calls for it. Considering what may be planned for the school festival, I’d say that Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro will be in the business of making some jaws drop.
Promotional consideration provided by Tomo Tran of Vertical Comics