Yaoi Novel Review: Passion: Forbidden Lovers

Passion: Forbidden Lovers
Story: Shinobu Gotoh
Art: Shoko Takaku
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-13: 9781569705742
ISBN-10: 1569705747

Review by I-hsiu Lin

The forbidden relationship between teacher and student. High school student, Hikaru Umino is in love with his teacher, Kuniaski Shima. In a desperate attempt to confess his feelings, Hikaru ends up raping his teacher. Although reprimanding, Shima allows Hikaru to ‘atone’ for his wrongdoing by becoming his lover. It’s only pretend. Shima quips, “We could play like we’re lovers…I’ll go out with you only until you graduate.” Hikaru begins playing the game with time limits and rules.

But his feelings have no limits.

The novel Passion: Forbidden Lovers is based off of the manga also by Shinobu Gotoh and Shouko Takaku. As most Japanese novels created from manga, the conversations and scenes are almost identical. However, it shouldn’t deter anyone from buying and reading both the manga and novel. Reading pages of narrative with beautiful illustrations by Takaku gives off a different feeling from reading the manga. The two mediums truly complement each other in telling the story. The character’s thoughts are drawn out more in detail that it truly draws you in.

The plot moves along at a good pace going through the last year of Hikaru as a student and the events that occurs afterwards. Even though the story focuses on a relationship that is considered taboo, the drama in the story doesn’t come from the fear of being discovered. Both Hikaru and Shima are very cautious with their ‘make believe’ romance. Even with Shima’s colleague, Amamiya suspecting something, the plot doesn’t concentrate on that. Instead, the pull of the story is concerning Hikaru’s feelings for his teacher that continues to grow as their time together shortens.

Juné does a splendid job with the transition in translating the novel. They keep the Japanese suffixes of ‘-sensei’ and ‘-kun’. Keeping ‘sensei’ untranslated is essential in a school-based novel since it paints the levels of familiarity and intimacy, especially between the two main characters.

Along with the main story, there is a bonus story, ‘Passion Valentine Special’ with our main couple. Along with the author’s notes at the end, it ties the book together very nicely. It’s a beautifully short novel (at 130 pages) that isn’t overly dramatic but still tugs at your heart.

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