In Hoshikawa Ginza 4-chome, (星川銀座四丁目) Hoshikawa Minato cares about her students. So, when she learns that problems between her mother and father were keeping Matsuda Otome out of school, she went over to have it out with the parents. The result of her taking the piss out of Otome’s parents? Hoshikawa-sensei takes Otome out of the house altogether, becoming her guardian.
Otome still won’t go to school, so Sensei homeschools her. Time passes. 6 years in fact. And Otome has gotten into the habit of cooking and cleaning around the house to pass the time (often when she should be studying.) A number of people comment that Otome is like a wife to Sensei….
A crisis rears its head when *Sensei* starts to skip school. In an emotional moment, Hoshikawa-sensei says that she’s lonely since Otome isn’t going to school, and finally, after so many years of not attending, Otome returns to school. Where she shows herself to be a responsible and reliable student.Other teachers comment that Sensei’s company has been good for Otome.
But another crisis, one that threatens their relationship in a far more concrete way, is looming. Both Hoshikawa-sensei and Otome are starting to have decidedly not-teacher/student feelings for one another. Sensei is also keenly aware of the age difference between them and the multiple problems that can cause for both of them.
This situation threatens to become drama when an old college friend of Sensei’s arrives and puts two and two together. She’s not cool at all with it, but she does tell Otome more about how Sensei used to be – and why, exactly, she’s not cool with it. Neither Otome nor Minato seek to reassure her, but basically say, look, this is they way it is between us. It’s our issue and in every other way, we’re totally functional in our lives. The friend’s presence makes them both think about their feelings more, talk about them, and explore the boundaries of what they are and aren’t willing to address.
While they acknowledge their feelings, by the end of the book they have not done more than kiss – and that only in totally not-adult, nothing-you-couldn’t-do-with-a-relative way. And so, while the situation remains problematic in nature, it’s handled sweetly and honestly and with an agreement that they will wait until Otome is older, the end.
Art – It’s Kurogane Kenn, so for me 4, but for many others 8
Story – 8
Yuri – 8
Service – 10
Overall – 8
The one thought I had over and over while reading this was that, although this book may not itself come directly under the rubrick of the Non-Existent Youth Bill, that if that thing should pass (for the sake of the children!) Kurogane Kenn will be without a job, permanently. And for those of you who think that just because a book you own does not, in fact show a non-existent youth, or a non-existent adult drawn youthfully in a sexual situation, let me assure you that the Mayor of Tokyo and designer of the Bill has also recently stated that he believes that homosexuals being seen on TV being gay openly is a symptom of the collapse of Japan’s society. And the bill includes books that incite children to violence or anti-social behavior, which he has made clear includes homosexuality in any form.
In other words – don’t think this doesn’t mean *you* and the books in *your* collection.