Paradise on the Hill Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 184
  • ISBN: 1-56970-835-5
  • Size: 6x8.25
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Paradise on the Hill

Paradise on the Hill Vol. #01

By Danielle Van Gorder     September 10, 2007
Release Date: May 30, 2007

Paradise on the Hill Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Momoko Tenzen
Translated by:Earl Gertwagen
Adapted by:

What They Say
Kijima teaches at an all-girls school. While all his friends think his job is pretty "sweet," dealing with the daily confessions of his adoring students is actually rather annoying. Luckily the new P.E teacher, Ono, has taken the brunt of the girls' attention away. The poor guy gets attacked by the scheming debutantes on a daily basis!

When Ono approaches Kijima for advice on how to deal with the bold advances and confessions from his students, Kijima finds himself intrigued by the shy, timid teacher.

The Review
This is one book that gets everything right

Using June's standard larger trim size and dust jacket, the presentation is among the best in the market. The cover has a nice three quarters shot of Kijima and Ono against a deceptively simple background of a tile floor and stained glass window. The logo is very large and pink, and detracts a little from the art, but certainly catches the eye. The art reproduction is very clean and crisp, with the blacks being very dark, no muddy lines that I could see, and clear screentone reproduction. Very nicely done.

Fans of her previously released title Seven will recognize Tenzen's distinct style at play here. Tenzen's art is an unusual blend of clean and sketchy that somehow works beautifully. Her line weights are almost uniformly very light, making heavier lines or solid black areas stand out that much more. It adds a nice drama to what might otherwise look too simple. Backgrounds and screentone usage are minimal, which fits in well with the art style. The lighter art results in some beautiful panels and facial expressions that illustrate slight changes in mood extremely well.

The adaptation is very well done, and flows seamlessly with no false notes. Sound effects are subtitled near the original effect in a manner that avoids detracting from the art.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
When Kijima inadvertently witnesses a student confessing her love to Ono, the new PE teacher at the school, Ono takes the opportunity to get some advice from the older teacher - and gets better acquainted in the process. As they're getting to know each other, Ono reveals that he has a one-sided crush on someone unattainable. Ono is everything that Kijima isn't - open, earnest, and honest with himself. Kijima, on the other hand, is cold and somewhat detached from life. As the two become closer friends, Kijima gradually allows him closer, even sharing the small room in the school that was his private sanctuary. Other teachers and even students start noticing a change in Kijima, commenting that he's gotten less intimidating and speculating that love was the cause.

On the day of the graduation ceremony, the two find themselves alone together and Ono, acting on impulse, hugs Kijima. Kijima, much to his own surprise, closes his eyes, forcing him to examine his own feelings towards Ono. Their relationship after this grows awkward, as Kijima gradually comes to realize that he's fallen in love with Ono. He finds these feelings difficult to face, and runs away from Ono every chance he gets. Ono, on the other hand, thinks that he's made his feelings for Kijima clear, and decides that Kijima's reaction is due to his feelings not being reciprocated.

Compounding the misunderstandings, Kijima witnesses a scene where Ono drops and almost loses something that's clearly very important to him. His students decide it's a gift from a girlfriend, and give him a bell to put on it. This reminds him of Ono's unrequited crush, and the pain he feels becomes too much for him to handle. He starts isolating himself which just worries Ono more. Kijima's vulnerability here is a dramatic contrast to his formerly strong and stoic facade. The reader gets the sense that this is a side of himself that he doesn't willingly reveal to anybody, and perhaps has never revealed in the past, making his open need that much more powerful.

The main story is followed by a short story dealing with two people, waiting for people they knew in the past, who meet in a cafe. Despite its short length, this story is as well executed as the main story in this volume, and also recommended.

Trying to find exactly the right words to say about this story has been a challenge. It's beautifully written and executed, touching and deeply emotional without being cloying. Watching Ono and Kijima's feelings develop for each other makes you feel like you have a window into their souls. Even the misunderstandings they experience as they circle around, getting gradually closer and closer, manage to draw them together rather than driving them apart. Most appealingly, the story feels natural and believable, never indulging in the cheap cliche that so many lesser BL titles resort to. The characters are three dimensional and fully realized, feeling more like real people, the kind you might meet anywhere, than fictional characters. This is storytelling at its finest, and exactly the sort of story we need more. Highly recommended.


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