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Junjou karen
Pure of Heart


Cover ImageAuthor: Koide Mieko
Publisher: Chara
Series Length: 1 volume+
First printing: March 2004

Five-second plot: How do you know when that feeling deep in your chest is actually love?


Summary: Shirasaka-sensei is an excellent teacher who cares for his students. He's very popular, but no one really knows anything about him... and fiery high school student Tamiya seems to have fallen in love with him despite himself. But Shirasaka isn't free to consider Tamiya, nor anyone, due to an accident many years ago that bound him to someone else.


Makoto's Notes: Koide-sensei is so talented at creating charismatic seme characters that she hates and wishes were dragged to death by rabid wolverines. They do make for tasty angsty plots, which is probably why she keeps bringing them to life regardless.

I think my favorite part of Junjou is the smooth way the point-of-view slides from Shirasaka, to Tamiya, to Iogi, and back. It adds to the tension between the three in such a palpable way. Back in school, Iogi was Shirasaka's senpai on the track team. And maybe their relationship could have been perfect and wonderful and involved a sunset love confession and all that stuff, but there was an accident. So instead, Iogi uses Shirasaka's guilt to keep him close, and Shirasaka doesn't have the heart to refuse.

Enter Tamiya-kun, short-tempered soccer player and closet confused romantic, who thinks he's in love with Shirasaka. So does Shirasaka have a boyfriend already...? That's a loaded question. Iogi is extremely possessive, and tells Tamiya so. But maybe Shirasaka is tired of being treated more like a pet than a lover.

Honestly, I was surprised that the story continues after the end of the tankouban. (And not just because it's been a while since Koide-sensei wrote a real serial.) I'm glad, because the unresolved issues would have eaten away at me. There's plenty of furigana, Chara is so kind... but there aren't always visual cues for non-readers.


Warnings and Suggestions: Not the cheeriest BL on the block. It's on the more risque end of Chara works, with a handful of love scenes and some rather disturbing themes. And there's a fair chance Koide-sensei will pen some horrible demise for Iogi, even if it doesn't make it into the actual manga series.


ISBN 4-19-960242-9