Mania Grade: C
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- Art Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A
- Text/Translatin Rating: A
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
- MSRP: 12.95
- Pages: 200
- ISBN: 1569707626
- Size: A5
- Orientation: Right to Left
- Series: Passion
Passion Vol. #04
By Patricia Beard
October 17, 2007
Release Date: November 30, 2007
© Digital Manga Publishing
Writer/Artist:Shinobu Gotoh / Shoko Takaku
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
Adapted by:What They Say
A long-awaited rendezvous with his long-distance lover leaves Hikaru's heart aflutter. However, things never seem to work out as planned with this couple. Hikaru ends up stuck at work and his co-worker Nagisa bumps into Shima-sensei as he waits for Hikaru in front of the school building. Nagisa finds Shima-sensei incredibly cute and adorable and invites him for a drink since his night with Hikaru is ruined. ...And Shima-sensei says "Yes"?!The Review
Hikaru is attending university, working at his part-time job in the cafe, and meeting with his clandestine lover, his former teacher, Shima sensei, when he can. The current challenge to their relationship is fellow cafe waiter, Nagisa san, who is pursuing Hikaru in spite of knowing that Hikaru has a relationship with the "madonna of the school", whom Nagisa assumes to be Morikawa san, the school nurse.
Nagisa is very persistent, calling Hikaru at all hours, even going to Hikaru's apartment forcing Hikaru and Shima to feign absence while Nagisa waits at the door. All of this fuels Shima sensei's feelings of insecurity and guilt over his relationship with Hikaru, whom Shima sensei thinks is attracted to Nagisa. But Shima sensei is not to be reassured by Hikaru, so the honest and sincere Hikaru has to go through the crying, whining, fits of petulance that only Shima can put him (and us!) through.
This volume is devoted to Nagisa attempting to meet up with Hikaru's "madonna", and the focal point is intended to be the meeting of Nagisa and Shima sensei. After the buildup this is given, the meeting itself is undramatic and uninformative. Nagisa presses Shima for a date and Shima declines and is rescued by Amamiya before Nagisa gets too pushy. That's it.
But the issue of Hikaru's love interest is still in play. In a scene in Morikawa sensei's office that puts Onoda san, Hikaru's kohai and devoted admirer, through some serious changes, Nagisa realizes that Morikawa is not Hikaru's "madonna". With Onoda in tow (the girl doesn't need this, really), he pursues Hikaru through the school festival hoping to get a glimpse of this "madonna". All is very publicly revealed when Hikaru saves Shima, in one of his guilty dazes, from a potentially dangerous fall.
With this volume, Passion comes to an end. As with some other series from this imprint, the popularity of the main characters allowed Passion to continue beyond the point where their relationship had anywhere to go. The closure that the reader expects is not completely realized. Hikaru does change throughout the series, and Takaku sensei mirrors Shinobu sensei's behavioral changes for Hikaru by introducing changes in Hikaru's character design, showing us a mature self-possessed Hikaru. The problem is that Shima sensei does not change. There is no sense that he has come to grips with his brooding self-absorption, which would show his true commitment to Hikaru more than the symbolic exchange of rings shown in the last chapter.
The opportunity to provide closure to the supporting characters is not taken up either. The relationship between Hikaru and Shima never really got out of the cycle of Shima's bipolarity initiated with volume two, so any changes in the relationship were driven by interaction with its supporting cast. Yet, at the denouement, there's only a single generic reaction shot of the crowd. It's as if these characters never existed. Disappointing, since it was these characters, rather than Hikaru and Shima, whom we had come to care about.