In the first two volumes of Our Teachers are Dating! by Pikachi Ohi, we witnessed the blossoming of true love between PE teacher Asuka Hayama and biology teacher Saki Terano. The pair got to know one another a little better beyond their initial attraction to one another, learned to express their feelings more honestly, and became physically intimate with one another. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, particularly when we see that even teachers aren’t immune to the obligatory high school romantic misunderstandings, but on the whole, it’s clear that Hayama-sensei and Terano-sensei are meant to be.
As we join the third volume of Our Teachers are Dating!, the pair have been together for about a year, and thus it seems pretty apparent that their relationship is going to last. And so, from here, we explore what happens when a couple so clearly in love with one another are presented with a few challenges — both in terms of situations in which they’re placed together, and times when they’re forced apart for one reason or another.
Before we proceed into exploring the narrative further, I will note something interesting about this volume, however; I don’t know if this was just a quirk of the particular edition I received or if it is commonplace, but my copy of Our Teachers are Dating! is printed on significantly higher quality paper than the previous two volumes. The cover is thicker card and the paper is of overall more heavy stock, making the whole volume feel much higher quality for some reason.
I’m certainly not complaining, as the better quality paper and print certainly allows the lovely art of this series to shine — it was just an odd surprise when I picked up this volume for the first time!
The third volume of Our Teachers are Dating! begins with some new year celebrations where Hayama and Terano are drinking with their friends and recurring secondary characters from the teaching staff. This chapter serves to highlight how much the couple have grown since their bumbling, awkward beginnings — but also demonstrates a certain amount of the dynamic that has always been there. Hayama does her best to be responsible — in this case by not drinking — while Terano has a wide-eyed, childish innocence about her, particularly when the prospect of Hayama telling the story of when she first noticed Terano comes up.
We also see that Hayama is exceedingly weak to peer pressure, as the slightest suggestion that it might be too snowy outside to be safe to drive — and the possibility of staying over in a cosy inn with Terano — causes her to immediately give up her principles and start drinking. And, as an extension of that, she becomes a little more loose-lipped and willing to let her feelings show.
Prior to meeting Terano for the first time, it’s clear that Hayama was extremely closed off to others — which perhaps explains the “Iron Fortress” nickname we saw the students had given her in a previous volume of Our Teachers are Dating! But her first real encounter with Terano, in which she happened to wander into the biology prep room while Terano was reorganising things and in the very heat of passion about her love for dinosaurs, showed her that it’s okay to maintain a certain immaturity about yourself; that childish enthusiasm for something you really love.
Hayama is especially taken with the idea of, in Terano’s words, “dinosaurs that are free to fly in the sky”, such as the pterodactyl. It’s clear at this point that Hayama has felt somewhat chained down, perhaps by societal expectations or perhaps simply by her own personality — but from this point on, she recognises that she has begun to change. After she witnesses Terano openly weeping at the sight of her students graduating, she comes to a startling realisation about precisely how closed-off she has become — and ends up feeling able to express her feelings properly for the first time in her adult life.
“The teacher who taught me that it’s okay for an adult to cry kept catching my attention,” Hayama admits. “She was pure and straightforward, she empathised with the students, and I came to realise how wonderful she is. Not long after that, it hit me that I’d totally fallen in love with her!”
This public admission is a significant moment not just for Hayama in the grander context of her life, but also in the context of what we’ve seen her getting up to over the course of Our Teachers are Dating! so far. In the first two volumes, she often found herself struggling to express her feelings towards Terano — leading to the tension and misunderstanding in the second volume — and found it especially embarrassing to admit her feelings in front of others. But now, it seems, she’s more than happy to be open about them — at least with a beer or two inside her, anyway.
In the following chapter, we see Hayama, Terano and friends on a skiing trip, presenting a subtle recurrence of the idea of snow bringing people closer together from a different perspective. Everyone has fun — except for their poor old friend Miyazawa-sensei, who has great difficulty even on the bunny slopes — and when the end of the day comes, Hayama and Terano decide to get in a little night skiing in order to enjoy some further time alone with one another.
When they become trapped at a lodge further up the mountain when a blizzard descends, naturally the pair are more than happy to spend the night until the inclement weather conditions have passed — but we also see the first of several examples of “separation anxiety” in this third volume of Our Teachers are Dating!
As Hayama and Terano are preparing themselves for a night in the cosy lodge, Hayama loses track of Terano and immediately panics that she might have gone outside into the blizzard and become lost. Of course, she’s done nothing of the sort — she’s ditzy, but she’s not stupid — but the massive sense of relief that Hayama feels of course leads to one of the series’ many intimate scenes with one another. And, as usual, this is presented in a manner that is undeniably erotic and arousing, but also deeply romantic and filled with warm feelings.
“Asuka-san felt anxious when she was alone, too,” muses Terano to herself as things start to get naked and sweaty. “I want to be with her, support her, put her at ease. Outside, there’s a freezing blizzard, but we feel each other’s warmth and confirm that we’re here together, skin-to-skin, embracing our desire. I’m enveloped in relief and the feeling of being with the one I love. I never imagined that my body and heart could feel so warm.”
“Being alone made me feel really miserable too,” ponders Hayama as she begins to reciprocate on the attention she has just received from Terano. “I’m so glad Saki-san was there for me.”
Now, of course, the more pragmatic among us may stroke our chins at this and contemplate the fact that while this is all very sweet and warm and lovely, there’s also the risk of the pair of them developing a co-dependent relationship here, where the pair of them are unable to function without each other. And, indeed, that’s something which is explored in subsequent chapters of Our Teachers are Dating!
With Hayama away on a business trip, Terano is left in charge of her homeroom rather than simply acting as an assistant. The students, well aware of the nature of their relationship — and fully supportive of it, as we’ve seen on a few occasions over the course of the narrative as a whole — are both gently teasing and genuinely concerned for both Terano and the absent Hayama. And understandably so, since Terano is shown to be flip-flopping back and forth between her own loneliness at Hayama’s absence, and her desire to prove that she’s a strong independent woman who don’t need no man. Well, we knew that last bit already anyway.
At the same time, we see that Hayama is indeed feeling a bit depressed at the prospect of a day without Terano — and understandably impatient at, as she points out, “high-energy gym teachers wearing short sleeves in February” who are doing their best to get her to liven up a bit.
Thankfully, Hayama finds a kindred spirit while away on her trip; Kyattou-sensei, another teacher who, it transpires, is also in a relationship with a colleague. Their situations aren’t quite the same — her new friend’s partner is sick at home in bed rather than simply being left behind (and bears an uncanny resemblance to Hayama, as it happens) — but the pair quickly bond with one another.
Notably, though, some of Hayama’s admissions about how much she misses Terano give Kyattou a certain degree of pause, wondering if she’s the jealous, controlling type — an understandable reaction, given some of the things that Hayama is saying. But then their shared realisation that they simply both enjoy spending time with their special someone as one of their favourite things to do brings them closer together — and also reminds Hayama that one of the most important things to do in a relationship is to communicate.
She realises that, as much as she has told Terano how she feels already, she feels like she really needs to express something very important: her desire to be together, and the importance that she places on their companionship and mutual support for one another. It’s not a matter of dependence — Hayama’s thoughts about Terano often relate to how she can support her and care for her, rather than “needing” her as such — but a simple matter of wanting to be in the company of someone that she loves, respects, cares deeply for and wants to spend the rest of her life with.
Well, there’s only one real solution for that, then, isn’t there…? But at the time of writing, we’ve got to wait until April 12, 2022 until we get that seemingly inevitable final resolution!
Our Teachers are Dating volume 3 is available in paperback on Amazon. Digital versions and alternative retailers can be found on Seven Seas’ website.
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