In Volume 1 of Hoshikawa Ginza 4-chome (星川銀座四丁目), we are introduced to Hoshikawa Minato, a teacher, and one of her students, Matsuda Otome. Hoshikawa-sensei had saved Otome from a life of neglect and emotional abuse and taken guardianship of the girl.
As Volume 2 opens, they have been living together for 2 years. We get some flashback chapters of their first encounters and the subsequent meetings with Otome and her parents that lead to Hoshikawa-sensei taking the girl away from her family for her own preservation.
But, although Otome has returned to school and is showing herself a capable student, Minato wants Otome to take supplemental lessons in order to do well on the upcoming middle school exams. Otome throws a hissy fit and enrolls in the school – but leaves Minato’s house. She asks her cram school teacher to let her stay. The fit is a bad one and Otome’s decision hurts not only Minato, but also a girl in cram school who has a crush on the teacher. Of course, it just about destroys Minato.
When she’s aced the exam, Otome returns to Minato, where they have a tempestuous reunion.
This manga continues to be the most problematic story I’ve ever liked. I really don’t care for the setup and the characters aren’t terribly real (and the story completely jumped the shark when a random cram school teacher allowed Otome to stay with her, for whatever reason…,) but they are also sympathetic and Minato is very well aware of their situation. I can’t really say I like it…but I can’t really say I don’t, either. Obviously, I’m still reading it, but not without trepidation. Volume three is going to step up my level of discomfort as Minato and Otome will have at least one discussion about the future of their life together and their relationship.
Art – It’s still Kurogane Kenn, so for me 4, but for others 8
Story – 7
Yuri – 8
Overall – 7
So, while I can’t say I enjoy this book, I have to at least give it credit for being really honest, sometimes brutally so, about the problematic nature of the main relationship.