Gal Gohan’s first volume ended with Yabe-sensei pressing forward with his cooking club, even though the school’s number-one gal, Miku Okazaki, was the only member. Gal Gohan volume 2 picks up where it left off, as the duo approach their first summer break. But does this sophomore effort cut the mustard? Let’s find out if Gal Gohan volume 2 is worth reading?
This book features some returning characters, as well as some new faces.
A high school freshman and the school’s “number-one gal”, although what makes her number one is never explained. She is deeply in love with Yabe-sensei and makes no effort to hide her feelings from him.
The home economics teacher, cooking club advisor, and a skilled chef. Yabe believes Miku’s constant professions of love are just her way of teasing him.
Ooishi and Tsuburaya
Miku’s two best friends and also gals.
A seven-year-old boy who is far better than his uncle at seeing what is obvious. Oddly, we don’t learn his name in this volume.
A summers story
The volume begins with Miku and her friends noticing that she’s gained weight. Horrified by the (frankly imperceptible) weight gain, she decides she has to slim down at any cost. Since being in the cooking club is what caused her to gain weight, she forces Yabe to aid her while she loses the weight he helped her gain. Although Yabe tells her, there isn’t anything wrong with her, but she will not be dissuaded.
But, this is just the appetizer. Summer vacation is the main course. Miku and her friends take jobs at a seaside yakisoba (fried noodle) shop. Since the main characters in a romance manga are legally required to run into each other in these kinds of situations, it doesn’t take long for Yabe to show up, with his nephew in tow.
After a little one-sided flirting, Yabe’s nephew gives him some news that the teacher is far too dense to accept. That Miku really likes him, although somehow Yabe somehow still can’t see it. There’s not much time to ponder this, however, as a massive rush of customers suddenly comes into the restaurant, and two of the staff abruptly leave.
Short-handed, the girls quickly become overwhelmed. Noticing the problem, Yabe jumps into the kitchen to lend a hand. His cooking skills come on full display as he quickly cranks out one dish after another. Yabe’s heroics in the kitchen do not go unnoticed by the customers. A pair of women start talking about how a man who can cook might be a pretty good catch. One decides to ask him out. Miku overhears all this and knows she’s in a bind. What is she going to do?
Gal Gohan volume 2 spoilers
Miku makes it abundantly clear that Yabe is off the market, even though he himself isn’t aware of that. Yabe quickly shakes her off, but the surprise hug is enough to send the admiring customers packing. And Yabe’s nephew, having seen his uncle jump in to save the day like Batman with an apron, makes an announcement to his mom when they get home: Uncle likes a high school girl.
The rest of the volume covers the remainder of Miku’s summer vacation and her various club activities with Yabe. They visit a farm to help pick vegetables, have and end-of-year barbecue, and even do that most hallowed of all romance tropes: taking care of someone while they have a fever.
The fever scene is cliche (seriously, does every romance manga have to have this?), but the visit to the farm is fun, and the barbecue is an excellent way to round off the summer. And there’s even a tender moment as the two of them help each other patch up some minor injuries.
One of the most surprising things about this book is the revelation of how young Miku is. The very first chapter of this series talks about how Miku is in danger of not graduating if she doesn’t pull up her grades. Seeing that, I assumed that she was a high school senior and seventeen years old at the youngest. Once she graduated, she and Yabe would be free to pursue a relationship that wouldn’t land the teacher out of a job or in prison.
However, I was wrong. As it turns out, Miku is just a high school freshman. If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know that high school in Japan works differently than it does in the United States. Japanese kids begin high school a year later than their American counterparts and graduate in three years instead of four. Therefore, Miku is a year older than American high school first-years, but that still only puts her at about fifteen.
Miku’s age goes a long way toward explaining why Yabe is so dense when it comes to Miku’s overtures. How else is he supposed to interpret the romantic advances of a fifteen-year-old girl?
The age gap may also make some readers uncomfortable. Love plots between high school girls and much older men are relatively common in manga, especially given that the age of consent in Japan is 13(!). But this is something western audiences have a pretty hard time accepting. And, of course, relationships between teachers and students are forbidden. If this relationship was a turn-off for you in volume 1, Gal Gohan volume 2 doesn’t make things any better.
The art of cooking
Just like in the first book, the art is fine, if not spectacular. The female characters are nicely drawn, although Yabe still looks a little plain. However, the exterior environments (particularly the farm) give artist Marii Taiyou the chance to flex some different artistic muscles, and some visually appealing scenery is the result.
Is Gal Gohan volume 2 worth reading?
Absolutely. Not only is it worth reading, but it’s also one of the most significant leaps in quality from a first volume to a second volume that I’ve seen in a long time. Gal Gohan volume 1 was good, and after I finished it, I thought about this series as a fun diversion – something to go to when my top titles were between volume releases. It was a nice-to-have, not a must-read.
Gal Gohan volume 2, however, pulled the series up to a must-read. The humour is better, the increased cast are more fleshed-out, and there are some genuinely emotional moments between Miku and Yabe. Gal Gohan isn’t one of my top titles – yet – but it’ll get there if volume 3 improves the series as much as volume 2.
The best part? It ends on a cliffhanger. I’m so curious as to what will happen that I’m not waiting for the English-language release. I’ve already ordered the Japanese language version from Amazon. When you’re an impatient manga addict, it pays to be able to read Japanese. Don’t fret, however. I’ll review the English edition of volume 3 when it comes out. In the meanwhile, check out Gal Gohanvolume 2, and enjoy this budding love story to the fullest.