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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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10/30/2008 Entry: "Yaoi Novel Review: Passion: Forbidden Lovers"

Passion: Forbidden Lovers
Story by: Shinobu Gotoh
Illustrated by: Shouko Takaku
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1-56970-574-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-574-2

Review by Kris

There is a rumor floating around Hikaru Umino's high school. Handsome teacher Mr. Shima has recently become engaged. Hikaru has fallen in love with Shima and doesn't know what to do with the sadness he feels after finding out this news. Posing as fellow teacher Mr. Amamiya, Hikaru lures Shima into an empty classroom and proceeds to rape him. Shima tries (but not too hard it seems) to get Hikaru to stop. Shima tells Hikaru that he is not engaged to be married and that those are only rumors. If you think the premise on raping your most beloved person is strange things only get weirder. At school the next day Hikaru dreads seeing Shima. At least he is feeling some remorse for his actions. Yet when he passes Shima on the stairs it seems like nothing ever happened between them.

While Shima is trying to deal with the situation with Hikaru, Mr. Amamiya wants Shima for himself. It turns out that Shima and Amamiya attended the same high school and were lovers for a time. Amamiya broke it off, breaking Shima's heart. Shima has moved on in his life, but it seems that Amamiya hasn't. After a bizarre meeting at Shima's house Shima, Amamiya, and Hikaru share a meal. Of course Amamiya is trying to get back into Shima's pants, Hikaru is trying to move on but awkwardly is in the middle, and who knows what's going on in Shima's mind. After Amamiya leaves Shima's apartment, Shima proceeds to drag Hikaru to the bedroom for some hot, sweaty, illegal sex (because we are dealing with a teacher and student, adult and minor, you know against the law). Hikaru was supposed to come up with a way to atone for his misdeed. Shima suggests they "play lovers." They will have to keep it on the down low because of the whole teacher student thing. Hikaru is ecstatic!

Meanwhile Mr. Amamiya is not getting any response from Shima. Unable to deal with things he approaches Ms. Morikawa, the school doctor. The two are good friends and he looks to her for advice. She advises him to keep it unrequited for now. He can't seem to keep it to himself so during a work mixer while all parties are a bit hammered he assaults Shima in the men's room. Oh what a tangled web this all is.

I've never understood the writing of a novel based on a manga. I can see it the other way, though (you know novel spawning the manga). If it was adding additional story on top of it then that would be one thing. In the case of Passion: Forbidden Lovers it pretty much rehashes the first two volumes of the manga. I loved the manga series, so I will say that I enjoyed the novel as well. When dealing with novel format you are able to get a little more information on what the characters are thinking. In the case of Passion: Forbidden Lovers we do get a little more insight, but not much. This novel seems to have been written around the time the second manga was published.

This is beautifully illustrated by Takaku-sensei, just like the manga series. The storytelling is brilliant and it is everything that you have come to expect from Gotoh-sensei. I did like the novel, but I really loved the manga series. You can't help but enjoy looking at handsome men on every page. Juné did a pretty good job with this novel. I have in the past caught many spelling or grammatical errors in their novels. This time around I don't remember seeing any. I was pretty surprised! Good job!

For an introduction to the yaoi novel format, this probably would be a good choice. If you've read the manga series, you aren't missing anything if you don't read it. But feel free to check it out if you'd like. Also if you are interested in the manga series you can check out Ginger Mayerson's review of the first volume, or my reviews of volume one, volume two, volume three, and volume four by clicking on the links.

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