Some things wear well over time. Some things don’t. I am inclined to think that Hoshikawa Ginza 4-chome, Complete Edition Volume 1 (星川銀座四丁目) is among the former.
This volume covers the original Volume 1 and first half of Volume 2. It follows the story of Otome, a young woman living in a neglectful household after her teacher literally pulls her away from uncaring parents in order to give her a fresh start. Otome and Minato become very comfortable with one another, but instead of settling into a mother-foster daughter relationship, they clearly feel more akin to wife and wife. This is problematic for Minato on several levels, not least because she is perfectly aware that she will be held responsible as the adult in the relationship and she is not all right with being cast as a criminal.
When I was reviewing this originally in 2010, I felt that, given the deeply problematic set-up of a student and teacher living together, it was handled reasonably well. Now, distance has given me a fresh perspective and among several other issues I have with the narrative I can see that the beginning of this story is a complete wreck. Clearly this was meant to be a few chapters long at best, but Kurogane Kenn’s audiences particular interests means that it became more popular, so he circled back and developed a longer narrative.
The main relationship is not comfortable for two reasons.In this story Minato is indeed portrayed as immature and hopelessly childish and Otome as the party that is pushing the relationship and I am really not okay with that at all. However, as I pointed out originally, “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.”
Perhaps breaking up the original series into three volumes worked to desensitize me, but with the distinctive time frame of Otome returning to school and her joining cram school in this 2-volume set, it just feels ickier than ever.
Art – It’s still Kurogane Kenn, so for me 4, but for others 8
Story – 6
Yuri – ? It’s Yuri, but….
Overall – 4
The entire same story could have been written with Otome at an older age. But it wasn’t. I blame Kurogane Kenn and his readers.