Passion Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Release Date: Sunday, January 01, 2006
Writer/Artist:Shinobu Gotoh/Shoko Takaku
What They Say
In this final installment of the two-part "Passion" series, Hikaru and Shima's relationship takes on a more serious tone when the pair begins to see each other regularly every weekend. They agree to have this arrangement until Hikaru graduates. However, Shima eventually seems to tire of it. As Hikaru's graduation draws near, will his relationship with Shima, his teacher, end as well?
Honest but naive high school student falls in love with an icy, manipulative jerk.
In the opening page of volume 1, Umino Hikaru rapes Shima sensei. Shima demands recompense and exacts two concessions from Hikaru in order for Hikaru to atone for his action: until Hikaru graduates, both Hikaru and Shima will play-act as lovers away from campus; and Hikaru will follow Shima sensei's dictates with respect to his studies during this time.
With volume 2, we find that Hikaru abides by both these conditions. He meets with Shima only when Shima allows it, and he makes exceptional progress with his studies, enough so that he is accepted to a good university. Shima is pleased and rewards Hikaru by spending more time with him, introducing a special reward, an actual date. It would seem that even Shima is benefiting from the increased intimacy; for now students remark that his demeanor has brightened, indicating to them that he must have a girlfriend. Shima's new attitude does not escape ex-lover Amamiya, who finds Shima even more beautiful now that Shima seems to be in love with someone else. He pursues Shima with new intensity.
Hikaru's graduation brings the play-acting agreement to an end. At university, Hikaru tries to reestablish contact with Shima, but is rebuffed. Only after being cajoled into returning to his high school at festival time does he get a chance to see Shima. The reunion does not go well. But circumstances find the lovers confronting each other again, and Shima finally admits that he has more than a few things for which to atone.
The mystery of Shima Sensei's odd request and behavior is what drives Passion. Without it, Passion is just another high school love story. The cover blurb offers hints of a romantic triangle with Amamiya, but the intensity is brief. Amamiya gives up too easily, settling for the ever-present and reliable Ms. Morikawa, the school nurse. I was hoping for a bit more of Amamiya (maybe some Amamiya x Hikaru action) to liven up this romantic rectangle. However, those readers interested in character development will not be disappointed. Hikaru grows up and we see a more mature Hikaru. Shima's character doesn't really grow but is revealed to the reader.
There have been criticisms of the artwork and I don't quite understand them. The art is self assured, and Takaku very ably invests the characters with both suitable facial and body expressions. I was very impressed with her ability to convey emotion through body gesture. I think the issue may be with character design rather than quality of the artwork.
There is a "steamy" sex scene, only "steamy" because it's a shower scene. By my definition of "explicit" (depiction of organs, "glowing cones of light", presence of bodily fluids,), this isn't very. The rating is there because there is an obvious sex scene, and the rating is appropriate. There is nothing to surprise the experienced BL reader and the newbies (over 18, please!) should find this a representative introduction to the genre.
Unfortunately, there are still problems with clumsy translation in sections, and there is a rather glaring spelling error.
If you liked volume 1, you'll like volume 2. Volume 2 ties up all the story threads that had been set out in the first volume. And, if you enjoyed this pairing, DMP will be bringing out Passion 3 in the beginning of 2007.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: C+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
Orientation: Right to Left