Now this is how all-too-familiar material should be reworked!
Writer/Artist: Yaya Sakuragi
Translation: Sachiko Sato
Adaptation: Sachiko Sato
What They Say
Isa, a math teacher, can't help but be drawn to his student Homura. He cannot imagine how a boy 10 years younger could possibly seduce him, but Homura has eyes captivating enough to weaken one's worst enemy. Will the temptation of this dangerous love with his student cause Isa to cave?
The front and back covers really do describe this relationship and what one will find inside. The front cover shows Homura hovering lecherously over an anxious, besweatdropped Isa sensei who is none too sure about this type of classroom activity. And the back cover? Homura is trying out some tongue action on an Isa sensei who is - and this is makes this character so interesting - a uneasy combination of willing body gesture and conflicted facial expression. It's a shame that there are no color inserts in this volume. As usual with June volumes, there is an author afterword and numerous advertisements.
Yaya Sakuragi(Tea for Two) must like the genki type paired with a more reserved and reflective guy because she returned to them here. Character designs are everything here along with body gestures and poses that are lively and support a variety of exaggerated expressions. These sell this relationship almost better than the narrative.
The text reads well with only one instance where I found myself groaning over the metaphor and this is certainly not the fault of the translation/adaptation. It does well in expressing the distinct voices of the individual characters which is very important with such strongly rendered personality types. SFX are presented by either substitution or replacement overlay.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Homura, a student who looks much too old to be in high school, has major hots for Isa. It's an old crush, first engendered when Isa was engaged to Homura's sister years ago and it aroused a fierce jealousy in the young Homura at that time. Now that Isa sensei is a math teacher at his school, Homura has his chance and he spends a lot of emotional and physical energy pursuing Isa. Isa sensei, proper and correct sensei that he is, protests, but it's a very weak protestation since he's as attracted to Homura as Homura is to him. And it's Isa's inner conflict, which he wears like second skin, that makes Hey, Sensei? such a pleasure.
Although Yaya Sakuragi's character designs are very much her stock types, they serve her well here, especially with Isa sensei. Isa's perpetually frowning mouth doesn't read as sadness, but as reticence, reflection and a certain amount of anxiety. This is a person with a lot on his mind and he seems to be intimidated by what he's thinking. And while Homura is a lithe, flexible and bounding physical presence, Isa is stiff and correct with his posture reflecting the control over his emotions and inclinations that his face presents to the world.
Homura dissolves Isa's reserve very early in the volume leaving the rest of Hey Sensei? to explore how these two can manage their relationship given the obvious constraints. While Homura is a "shout it from the rooftops" kind of guy and very anxious to pursue a more aggressive and intensive physical relationhip, Isa is more circumspect and conscious of their age difference, his responsibility as a teacher and his inexperience(!!). There is quite a bit of humor in the way he manages to thwart Homura's designs for a more complete experience, but Sakuragi doesn't leave everthing for the climax (he!) and sexy vignettes abound until the big finish.
The volume closes with a short story about a young beat policeman and his childhood friend now working in a ramen shop after years of aimlessness. Sincerely felt and nicely told.
The younger student putting moves on the older teacher hasn't been new for quite a long time. But what Hey, Sensei does is wrap this up in a very energetic package with some expressive character designs and cleverly paced and depicted sexual situations. I enjoyed this so much I'm willing to ignore "As if to fill the moat of our unsatisfied desires...Homura kissed me over and over". The material is really better than that.