written by Yaya Sakuragi
Isa-sensei is a high-school math teacher in his late 20s. He’s single and satisfied, but certainly not meek. Life would be simpler if his ex-girlfriend’s younger brother Homura wasn’t one of his students. Homura seems like a trouble-seeking badboy, but Isa quickly learns that Homura doesn’t want extra tutoring for his skills. All he wants is a moment alone to ask his teacher a simple question:
“Hey…sensei…play with me…okay?”
Isa finds himself strangely attracted to his student, but he remains unsure if Homura is just playing a cruel game. When Homura confesses why he adores Isa, he finds his heart slowly warming up to the boy. Isa agrees to give Homura a chance, but they must keep their relationship a secret lest their lives be destroyed.
Finally, a yaoi manga that doesn’t use the seme/uke formula! The seme/uke relationship consists of one dominant partner (seme) and one submissive partner (uke). Sadly, this basic character formula is used far too often in yaoi series and it makes the seme characters seem like total jerks, even rapists; and the uke characters like weak-willed simpletons who couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag. You can’t cheer for an uke because they’re so weak and so helpless.
Okay, back to Hey, Sensei? before this turns into a rant.
Hey, Sensei? does not use this formula, which makes the characters so much more realistic than in typical yaoi stories. At first, Isa appears to be the uke, but he holds his own just fine. He’s an adult who will not be pushed around by Homura’s advances. Homura, who comes off strong at first, is actually quite shy and emotional in his love for Isa. The fact that these characters can act both dominantly and submissively makes them feel real. The more realistic a character, the easier it is to relate to his story.
Both Isa and Homura face real-life difficulties that hinder their relationship. They like to think that, despite the difference in their age and position, things will work out, but it’s highly unlikely that things won’t get complicated. Besides, where’s the fun when everything is going smoothly?
This manga has a lot of potential. It is meant for mature audiences and does include graphic sexual situations with erased genitals. However, it is certainly worthwhile. Hey, Sensei? has a great deal of potential to develop a quality story that makes it far more than smutty trash to read on a train.