by Temari Matsumoto
published by Tokyopop; $12.99 US
Were you in love with your teacher in high school? I wasn’t. I don’t remember many of them, at this point, but the one who stands out most was my chemistry teacher. He was a cool guy, who went camping with a bunch of students occasionally on weekends, and he taught us to play Euchre and tolerated the rare water pistol battle in the classroom. Although we liked him a lot, we wanted to be him (or like him) more than anyone wanted to be with him.
Yet the student/teacher romance is a widespread manga convention, from the quaint past relationship of Maison Ikkoku to this new yaoi release. I find it a little off-putting, myself. After an opening page in which student Tohru rhapsodizes about how good his sensei Minazuki looks in glasses (to the point of it seeming like a fetish), we’re treated to the following explanation:
It didn’t take me long to realize that I was in love with my glasses-wearing teacher. Every day, my thoughts … would be filled with him. So I knew it must be love.
No, youngster, that’s obsession, possibly due to boredom. The plot of this first story is just as silly: Tohru wants Minazuki to kiss him with his glasses on, but the teacher always takes them off first. Tohru tries to break up after a misunderstanding (because no one can ever do the sensible thing and *talk* to each other, that’s not emotional or dramatic enough), but the teacher won’t let him, explaining that he removes his glasses because if he can see Tohru when they’re kissing, he’ll lose control. (How bad is this guy’s eyesight?)
The art is minimal (no backgrounds, few details) and not very good, especially when it comes to figure placement and anatomy. There are several more stories, although they’re so minimal, it might be better to call them “incidents”. Another features a similar setup of student/teacher interaction, but with different characters and a reversal of the dominant character. There’s also two co-workers coming home drunk. Then a set taking place in the past: two ninjas in love, a ninja who wants his master, a royal court member and bodyguard. A few pinups fill out the book.
The stories are all surprisingly short, with little to them beyond “and here’s how they get to the sex”: minimal characterization, very simple situations, little plot. This is a book aimed squarely at a core audience, one who shares these particular fantasies: guys with glasses, teachers, ninjas. For anyone else, it’s a waste of time.
Temari Matsumoto has also authored other books published in English by Tokyopop’s BLU yaoi imprint: The Loudest Whisper (2 volumes) and Just My Luck. A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher. An odd note: the book says that this is a first printing from March 2009, but the volume has only just this week gone on sale. Perhaps it was hung up while Tokyopop was adjusting its schedule and plans over the summer?