Passion Vol. #03 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, January 05, 2007
Release Date: Friday, December 01, 2006
What They Say
Hikaru's front-row daydreams have finally come true. Now that he's out of high school, he's the secret lover of the magnetic and gorgeous teacher Shima. Shopping for matching rings, evening trysts...is it all too good to be true? A gang of curious onlookers (and coworkers) is following this careful couple's every move. Love is a tangled enough web without the hidden agendas of sneaky, envious exes. Will Hikaru and Shima fail to make the grade thanks to jealous games?
Hikaru is now at university and has taken on a job in a cafe where he is the subject of speculation among his coworkers with respect to romantic entanglements. He gets this attention since he seems oblivious to the come-ons from female high school students who visit the cafe especially to see him. His coworkers have heard that the reason for this disinterest is that he has an older lover, a "madonna", who is the nurse at his old high school. And no one is more interested in this information than "will-do-anyone-regardless-of-gender or age" coworker, Nagisa san.
Hikaru keeps in daily touch with Shima and makes arrangements to attend the high school festival where Shima sensei is faculty coordinator. While they will not be together at the festival, they will spend the evening together. A chance conversation overheard by Shima in the school nurse's office leads Shima, under a rationalization that makes sense only to Shima, to change these plans and to ask Hikaru not to come that weekend. Of course, Hikaru is hurt and Shima sensei admits that he does enjoy seeing Hikaru this way. But his guilt gets to him, so he rushes out to see Hikaru. He gets to Hikaru's place in time to see Hikaru embraced by Nagisa, who has made numerous visits under various pretenses to the naive and oblivious Hikaru.
During the evening's discrete lovemaking, Shima and Hikaru make a date to look for rings, which, of course, Shima sensei will not wear in any meaningful way at school. Circumstances arise that force the cancellation of this date. But Amamiya sensei has arranged for him, Morikawa sensei and Shima sensei to show up at Cafe Rossi, where Hikaru works, under the guise of investigating the new university installation in the area. The arrival of the three good looking teachers does not go unnoticed by Hikaru's coworkers, especially Nagisa.
It is agreed that the four will go out to dinner. During dinner, marked by characters leaving and returning to the table with annoying frequency, Morikawa sensei seems to be holding a court on life and love in one-on-one conversations with the main characters. The two couples agree to split up to go ring shopping, but the romantic mood is turning decidedly less so with Nagisa repeatedly calling Hikaru (who answers since he thinks it's work related), and Shima very well aware from whom the calls are originating. During the last call at the end of the volume, Nagisa tells Hikaru that he loves him and plants seeds of doubt in Hikaru with respect to his older love.
It means a lot when the het couple (okay, kinda, sorta) is more interesting than the BL leads. I find Shima sensei too high maintenance for a pure (but stupid!) soul such as Hikaru. And Shima is mean to Hikaru even in his dreams!
Quite a bit of this volume is devoted to conversation by various characters with Morikawa san, the school nurse, who is not a prime mover in any of this, but an observer, sounding board and confidant. I enjoyed reading her reflections and observations, especially on Amamiya san. She is an unusual woman (albeit, a slightly unreal one) and one could see why Amamiya is involved with her.
This volume revisits the same personal crises that we saw in the previous volumes: Shima's guilt and his resulting mistreatment of Hikaru in the guise of doing what's better for him; Hikaru's puppy dog loyalty and devotion to Shima. The introduction of Nagisa as stalker is designed to inject some interest and vitality, but we've seen this device so often that it's difficult to get fired up over it. And Nagisa is just too creepy. He actually makes Shima look good. However, given some of the statements that the mangaka has Nagisa make, maybe there will be some surprises. I hope so.
If you liked the previous volumes, or you like the Hikaru x Shima pairing, you'll like this.
Oh, and yes, there will be a fourth volume.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
Orientation: Right to Left