Mania Grade: B-
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- Art Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: A
- Text/Translatin Rating: B
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
- MSRP: 12.95
- Pages: 200
- ISBN: 1569709319
- Size: A5
- Orientation: Right to Left
la Esperanca Vol. #03
By Megan Meinhard
October 25, 2006
Release Date: April 30, 2006
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
Adapted by:What They Say
As Georges is in town helping Lise, the young teacher at the the orphanage, rumors begin to circulate in school that he now has a girlfriend. This serves to further alienate Robert, who is still guilt-ridden over the death of the one he loved, causing him to become once again aloof from Georges.
Meanwhile, a new priest, Father Louis, arrives at school as a temporary replacement. From him, Georges learns a bit more about the reasons behind Robert's lack of faith, as well as the astounding fact that Father Louis is Robert's brother, and, further, that Robert is the school principal's son.
When Georges' ailing mother suddenly takes a turn for the worse, Georges goes to the chapel to pray. Georges' blind devotion and piety remind Robert of another - a girl whom God allowed to die, despite all of her faith. Robert goes into a destructive rage, until Georges intervenes to calm his rampage. As Father Louis prepares to leave, he asks Georges to help Robert...
A short story of a brief childhood incident, which reveals that Georges and Robert have actually met before, is also included in this volume.The Review
In this third volume of La Esperanca, things finally begin to heat up between Georges and Robert. But not before we retread old ground from the very first volume.
Now we revisit the idea that treating everyone the same can hurt people more than playing favorites can. To do this, we are introduced to a delivery man named Aurthur, who is in love with Lise, one of Georges' friends from outside the school. The problem with Arthur is that he can't find a balance between keeping personal promises to Lise and helping other people in need. Even though his kindness is what attracts Lise to him, she's also unable to depend on him because of it. Eventually Arthur has to make a decision between treating Lise like she really is no more important than anyone else, or back up his constant professions of adoration.
Luckily Robert's side of the equation is more interesting. A priest, who turns out to be his older brother, temporarily transfers to the school. This causes memories to come bubbling to the surface, as Robert partially blames his older brother for what happened. Though not much more is explained about what happened to Robert's lost love, the parallels between her and Georges keep mounting. Like Georges, Grace was also very religiously devout, to the point where she was considering becoming a nun. To Robert, such devotion was worthless if it didn't help her to live when he wanted her to the most. With thoughts of her death fresh in his mind, seeing Georges praying in the chapel one day ends up being too much for Robert, and he reacts violently.
Instead of continuing with this, we get a side story about the real first meeting of Georges and Robert, back when they were children. Even then, Robert was drawn to Georges while simultaneously pushing him away. As for Georges, he might have lost his memory of that encounter because he was feverish at the time, but the scar on his forehead remains.
Lise isn't a bad character, but side story aspect was stretched too thin in this volume. Though it's obvious how Arthur's story was supposed to tie into Georges', it's something has been brought up more than once previously, which brings us back to Kawai's habit of overstressing her themes. Robert's portion of the story was engaging, but we're nearly at the halfway point and we're still just getting bits and pieces about his past. Enough appetizers, let's get to the main course.