The Paradise on the Hill
Author/Artist: Momoko Tenzen
Rating: YA – 16 and up
Genre: Shonen Ai, Drama, Romance
Romance is something that we women can't seem to live without. Why, I don't know? Communication is essential in any relationship, especially in new relationships. The Paradise on the Hill is the story of Ono-sensei and Kijima-sensei. They teach in an opulent girls school perched atop a hill. These two teachers are the envy of all their friends. Because this is a boys love tale we know that even though there are girls in this manga they're just set dressing!
Ono is the new PE teacher at the school. Kijima teaches English (I think). One day a student approached Ono to confess her feelings. While all of this is going on Kijima stumbles in completely by accident. Because Ono doesn't seem to know what to do he approaches Kijima for advice. Here begins the complicated waltz between Kijima and Ono.
Ono loves Kijima, Kijima loves Ono, and Tsuda-sensei (another teacher at the school) plays cupid – kind of. Ono is the new teacher in town and so all the students shower him with gifts and attention. It's taken some of the pressure off of Kijima. Soon after the confession incident Kijima and Ono become fast friends. They seem to love spending time together and Kijima even gives Ono a key to his private office, yet they still can't seem to share their feelings to one another. Will they ever be able confess their feelings for each other or will it be an eternal game of cat and mouse?
There is also a brief one-shot called Summer Rain. Motomi Takase was having an affair with a married man. He loved this man with all his soul but didn't want to be the cause of his lover's family to break up. He couldn't handle the pressure, so he fled. Ten years later he comes back thinking that he was able to put everything behind him. That was the case until a letter arrived from Hiroyuki Kasahara, his past lover.
This gentle love story from Momoko Tenzen-sensei is more than just an amazing title; it is a brilliant piece of work. There is only one word to describe Tenzen-sensei's work, Classic. The art is smooth and detailed in every way possible. It is very clean and clear not just for the characters but the backgrounds, the clothing, everything. Tenzen-sensei is a first-rate manga-ka. While reading this manga the piece of music that kept coming to mind was Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 21 in C major (this is one of my favorite piano concertos). It is so gentle and mild, a wonderful piece of art. It was a little frustrating seeing Ono and Kijima dance around the issue while the rest of us are yelling at the manga because we see that they are both attracted to one another. I can't praise the art nearly as much as I want. With Kijima's cool beauty and Ono's playful air you just want the two characters to end up with each other.
It seems that Juné really likes Tenzen-sensei. They've released The Paradise on the Hill and Seven already and there are three other titles scheduled for 2009. Having checked out several of sensei's other titles, I can't argue with Juné's decision. It was truly inspired.
If you love romantic stories be sure to pick up The Paradise on the Hill. If you don't like the story, look at it for the art. It is a stunning piece of artwork. This is also a great title to read if you are new to the world of boys love.
***Review Copy purchased at Borders***