Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Hammer Session by Tanahashi Namoshiro

Hammer Session
Tanahashi Namoshiro

Two prisoners managed to escape after the police truck carrying them crashed on the highway. One of them , Mr Sawazaki (?) is a gangster who has sent 10 opposite bosses to hospital. The other called "You" - our protagonist - is a con artist whose cheating profile has piled up to approximately 100 billion yen. Accidentally, "You" then becomes the new teacher for the nearby high school, under the new name Takeda Shindo, and according to a deal of "Hammer Session" with the headmaster.

Alternative names
Hammer Sesshon
Hammer Session
Hammer Time!
Thầy Giáo Tuyệt Chiêu


Manga reader sites (free)

Rosy's scrawlings on Hammer Session
Hammer Session is a variant on on the unusual teacher plot, this one made interesting for the main character being a swindler on the run rather than a gangster or yakuza member/leader. Hammer Session is less violent that its counterparts as the story involves using psychology and mental tricks to help students and anyone else concerned solve their problems. For this reason, if you like the unusual teacher plot, Hammer Session is worth a read.
As a variant on a common theme Hammer Session is an amusing and enjoyable read. Like some of the others there's an attempt to hide the background of You by those in the know but the likelihood of his cover as the would-be-and-uncaught arsonist teacher lasting isn't likely. You, in the meantime, is living in Takeda Shindo's (You assumes Takeda Shindo's name when at school) home, which is worryingly filled with lolicon posters and materials. To add to this there is a tendency for the girls' skirts to blow up in the wind so if that sort of thing isn't appealing reading or you can't ignore it then this manga may not be for you. It is rather manga-ish in that respect. You spends his time playing teacher and shows through his "Hammer Sessions", which aren't classes at all but rather ways of making those in trouble grow and develop as people, that he is a surprisingly caring and good-hearted swindler. He's much like a Robin Hood figure, using his skills for a good cause rather than swindling for money he could spend himself.
The art of Hammer Session, by Koganemaru Yamato, is well produced and smooth. There's a somewhat comic aspect to the style when characters are viewed from afar but otherwise the overall style is a blend of several manga trends. Expressions are drawn in bobble fashion (for want of a better term), drawn in impossible extremes and also drawn in ways that are rather attractive. There's an even pace to the text and the drawings follow along easily, the intense action often found in yakuza or gangster teacher stories being less of a stop-start problem to work around. The play of light and dark is also easily managed and while the details aren't overly worked there's more than enough to fill the panels.

I'd recommend this manga to: those who love stories of unusual teachers, growing up issues and school life. The manga would appeal to a younger audience as it is light-hearted and about the teen years as much as a swindler's tale but it isn't really for children.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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