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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Passion by Gotoh Shinobu 
23rd-Dec-2008 11:35 pm
Gotoh, Shinobu. Passion: Forbidden Lovers. Trans. Christina Chesterfield. Los Angeles: Juné, 2008.
          Summary: With illustrations by Takaku Shoko. Third year high school student Hikaru Umino has his way with one of the teachers, Kuniaki Shima. But instead of having the boy busted for his misdeed, Shima offers to become Hikaru's "make-believe" lover until graduation. Who's having his way with whom?
          Comments: Funny, I know I should be offended...but I can't work up the energy to bother. The student seme x teacher uke plot always screams exploitative relationship and/or statutory rape like hardly anything else in BL, and Passion even has the audacity to begin on page one with an actual classroom rape! (Just like the manga. Why am I standing where lightning once struck me?) Okay, so we later find out that Shima goaded Hikaru into extreme action. Does that really make it all better? Nope, sorry. Play again. And of course, since this is a Chara Bunko (originally published back in 2003), the target audience is probably middle- to high-school students. True to form, it reads with the sappy yet tiresome earnestness of a young adult romance. The elegant, fine-lined artwork by Takaku Shoko is likewise supposed to highlight the novel's sensitive side, but all it does is make the distinction between rape and romance more jarring. (At least there's eye candy.) Passion also boasts the usual bisexual assumptions found in BL for teens. No surprise there, either. Still, I suppose it's a testament to Gotoh Shinobu's considerable authorial experience that she manages to come close to reconciling all the disparate threads of this abbreviated work. Luckily for Juné, Christina Chesterfield does an excellent job translating and adapting this stinker, so I can't dock the usual points for lousy English prose.
          Rating: 4.5/10 - How do you take some seriously perverted shit and turn it into puppy love? Read this one carefully and keep notes.
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