Dengeki Daisy 14

August 30, 2015

Kyousuke Motomi – Viz – 2014 – 16 volumes

It finally happened. There’s a Teru’s birthday story.  They go on a date.  They are affectionate as two romantic leads in a shoujo manga should be. I’ve waited so long for this.  So long.  It feels even better because of the wait.  Which means that our heads will explode when Ren and Kyoko finally hook up and kiss in Skip Beat.

The plot takes an interesting turn here.  We find out that M’s last will mostly deals with Akira, and we learn a lot more about him.  Then the story shifts away from computer hacking, and becomes about thwarting a high-level hit put out on Akira.  Problem is, Akira is a despicable human being, and stopping this hit could be life-threatening.  Do you stick your neck out for this stranger, loved by your dead mentor (but, oddly, unknown to all of you), but basically a horrible person who’s been trying to kill you/mess you up for the past year or so?  Do you risk your life for him?

Sigh.  I’m not sure if I like this better or not.  It’s at least less technical, which I do like, but is still a bit too secret agent-y for my tastes. The moral question is an interesting one in a shoujo manga, though.  Part of me wonders how this will play out.  Will Akira be Teru and Kurosaki’s adopted son in the end?  I hope not.  I hate that little jerk.  Sympathetic backstory did not save him, in my eyes, although I do feel bad for him.

The Teru/Kurosaki relationship does strengthen here.  I also like the message it sends.  A strong message of caution when dating an older partner.  Most series will gloss over this, and make the older partner rather glamorous, whereas in reality that is pretty much never true, and it leads to creepy and illegal situations more than good ones.  Even after Teru and Kurosaki more or less become an “official couple,” they can’t really be together, and they have to be really careful about how they act in front of others.  And they do little more than hold hands, really.

Mmm… I don’t know about this last-minute Akira thing.  But so far, there’s been a little something for me in each of the last couple volumes, so I still think I’m really going to like the ending.  Here’s hoping!

Dengeki Daisy 13

August 23, 2015

Kyousuke Motomi – Viz – 2013 – 16 volumes

While this is more of the same from the past several volumes, there were two things that made this one better.

One was the number of not-quite-intimate scenes between Kurosaki and Teru.  They didn’t kiss, nor did they… really talk about their feelings or anything.  But they came close, and it was adorable.  Normally I’d be throwing the book across the room in frustration, but somehow, it fits the characters nicely.  Besides, if I was really such a huge opponent of relationship progress, I’d have set fire to my Skip Beat volumes long ago.

The second was the last two chapters, which was a really silly, nonsensical gauntlet put together by Teru’s brother Soichiro right before he died.  Admittedly, when I say nonsensical, I mean this challenge makes very little sense in the context of the story.  Why did Soichiro make this?  How did he know absolutely everything that would go on?  How did everyone else know how to respond?  Why would you do that if you were hiding a CD?

All the same, it was terribly entertaining, and it felt nice to enjoy a volume of this series so thoroughly once again.  Kurosaki’s “Teru Quiz Challenge” was the absolute best.

I also liked that in one of the asks, someone asked about Teru’s income.  One of the options they came up with was “Don’t think too hard about it.  Like why men dressed in black are riding a roller coaster before a business deal.”  Not only did I get that reference (Detective Conan) creepily fast, I had to do a double-take.  Why were they?!  Motomi says that’s explained (it probably was, and I just forgot), but it still made me laugh really hard.  Oddly, Conan’s title is pseudo-censored, but I’m not sure why.  Dengeki Daisy and Detective Conan are published by the same company, here and in Japan.

I hope there’s more cute stuff sprinkled throughout the last story arc.  The first half of this volume really was all doom and gloom, and I’m just not feeling this whole “M’s Last Testament” thing.  But again, Dengeki Daisy has always had power to charm, and I want to see the ending of the series.

Dengeki Daisy 12

July 29, 2015

Kyousuke Motomi – Viz – 2013 – 16 volumes

I’m still rather torn on the direction for the last part of this series.  As I said, I was a huge, raving fan of the romance from the early volumes.  But I feel like that’s taken a backseat to industrial espionage.

Some of it is still cool, though.  The gang executes a rather complicated plan to rescue Rena off a cruise ship.  It’s a good plan, with a couple good twists (although the “final” twist is pretty clear once Teru gets him talking).  Lots of fun stuff going on, and it was a bit unpredictable.  A good section of story.

I thought we’d get a break from the technology stuff to get at least one Teru/Kurosaki chapter.  There’s a little bit, but it’s tied into Kurosaki being scared senseless by someone he runs into on the cruise ship.  Turns out everyone is scared of this man, and the second half of the volume mostly sets up the next story arc.  More computer stuff, more undercover villains, more decoding…

It’s just not the Dengeki Daisy I fell in love with.  All the same, with only four more volumes after this, I’m obviously going to read to the end.  This story arc sounds like the final one of the series, but I’m going to be sad if it lasts all four volumes.  I’m hoping there’s plenty of decent character stuff in there with it.  And, of course, I have to have my happy ending.

Dengeki Daisy 11

November 16, 2014

Kyousuke Motomi – Viz – 2012 – 16 volumes

Sometimes, I worry that this series lost its spark after Teru found out about Daisy.  Then, Kurosaki wishes gout upon Teru, and I remember why this is still good to read.  Also, I like that he complains about being poor, but apparently wears D&G underwear.  And I really like that a reader comment in back said that one of Kurosaki’s bad points is that he’s not going bald like everyone is hoping.  So maybe I have that to look forward to in future volumes.

So I do still like it.  But having said that, I’m still not sure I’m all that into the direction the plot is taking right now.  This volume starts in on a new threat, this time headed by Teru’s friend Rena’s fiancee.  It’s a new version of Jack Frost, and Morizono is a pretty sleazy guy who tries to bribe Teru and does all sorts of awful stuff to Rena.

But… again, I don’t really want to read a shoujo manga about computer hacking and espionage.  Teru is still kinda in danger, because she’s being targeted as Daisy’s contact person.  But most of this volume is about Rena, and about Morizono slowly being unveiled as a sleaze.

I do still like Teru and Kurosaki, and I adore the sense of humor that’s still slipping in occasionally.  But I think I’m gonna need to get through this storyline before I start getting bigger doses of what I want.

Dengeki Daisy 10

July 25, 2012

Kyousuke Motomi – Viz – 2012 – 12+ volumes

This series. As I mentioned last time, it’s a little strange getting what I’ve wanted all this time, now that Teru and Kurosaki are together. Everything is so happy and light, I’m just not sure what to think. It’s going so well, in fact, that even their normal bickering has lost some of its bite, and was striking me as a little less funny through the first chapter or so this volume. That’s a shame, because the funny bickering is the absolute best part of this series. It’s worth reading for that alone.

The first chapter was loosely based around midterm exams, and I literally rolled my eyes when the first page of chapter two opened with some super-cliched illustration of what happens over the winter holidays. Christmas dates, New Year’s celebrations… you know. I’ve just read too many of these. But it’s shoujo manga, and these can still be great if I like the series well enough. And I definitely like Dengeki Daisy that much.

Then the second page of that chapter just skips all that. A character yells loudly about how it’s a shoujo manga, and you need details. Teru recounts memories from the break… that another character points out is from a side story in volume 6. Which was probably a Christmas extra from a year or two before. So not only are the winter holidays not worth rehashing in the world of Dengeki Daisy, we get repeats of bonus content that the characters loudly object to.

That’s why Dengeki Daisy is so special. Actually, it subverted expectations again at the beginning of the chapter, when a bully from early in the series shows up and threatens to blackmail Kurosaki unless Teru does him a favor. The set-up is ripe for another episode where Teru gets caught up in something over her head, except she just says no. And it turns out the bully doesn’t know a thing about Kurosaki save for the stupid rumor that was spread to cover the truth.

It happens again later in a one-off chapter where Kurosaki explains to a teacher that there is nothing between he and Teru, and Teru overhears. Rather than a storyline that lasts a whole volume about how Teru is so heartbroken and won’t even listen to Kurosaki… after the preliminaries, it turns out the incident just… uh, turned both of them on, for some reason. Because that’s how awesome Dengeki Daisy is.

The plot transitions in this volume from the happy stuff back into the Akira/international espionage stuff, but it’s less heavy and serious this time. Hopefully it’ll stay that way, since the pasts of all the characters have been resolved and they seem comfortable with each other. The second half of the volume contains another run-in with Akira, and Rena is once again connected to the bad stuff. Bad luck for her.

The volume ends on a cliffhanger, but with the story in a good enough place that it’ll be easy to wait for the next one. Which won’t be out until January. Sob sob. But! In the meantime, this is definitely one worth picking up if you’re looking for a good shoujo series! It’s sense of humor is the best part, which is tied into the way it tends to delight in subverting a lot of the more common shoujo plot devices. But it’s also a good romance, and a genuinely good read. It’s one of my current favorites.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

Dengeki Daisy 9

March 28, 2012

Kyousuke Motomi – Viz – 2012 – 9+ volumes

Like Blue Exorcist, I think Dengeki Daisy is caught up to the Japanese volumes, and we’ll have to wait a while before the next one. Also like Blue Exorcist, this is one of my favorite series. Unlike Blue Exorcist, Dengeki Daisy has reached a good stopping place.

After the ridiculously long flashback and explanation last volume, the story catches back up to the present. In a hilarious panel that admits the problem, the characters mention that it seems like it took forever, like, four whole months, to tell (which is probably how long it took the chapters to run in the original magazine). I forgave it a little for that.

I could see the reunion between Teru and Kurosaki coming. It happens. I was a little worried about this, because Dengeki Daisy… it’s better at humor, and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about an overly sentimental reunion between Kurosaki and Teru. But there was no other way I could see, because… you know. They both knew everything, and both now realized how much they like each other, so it was bound to be mushy.

Then Dengeki Daisy proved me wrong. The plan to get Kurosaki back.

It wasn’t at all the dramatic storyline it was made out to be. In fact, it was perfectly suited to Dengeki Daisy.

Then. The way Teru broke the tension between the two. It was perfect. Utterly perfect. And hilarious.

I’m sorry, Dengeki Daisy, for ever doubting you. The slow volume of flashbacks was worth it for everything in this volume. I ate it up.

Weirdly, there’s… almost a smutty scene here. Everyone seems to be all about this, and it… seemed like that’s where it was going. It’s side-stepped a little clumsily, and I can’t figure out why after all that lead-up. But still. Uh. I was not prepared for that. Again, though, I love that Kurosaki is a little dirty here. The guys are always such white knights in shoujo manga, and I’m happy that a little seinen dirty old man creeps into Kurosaki at times. It makes him feel more like a regular person.

And the story leaves off in an unexpectedly good place, as well. Without giving too much away, the treat is nearly neutralized, and most of what the characters worry about vanishes. It feels a little unreal, and it’s almost certain that things are not settled, but it does seem like the story might move on to something else for the time being.

Ah, but Dengeki Daisy. I love you so much. Teru and Kurosaki together is a little more serious than I’d like, but they’re slowly getting more comfortable around each other, and it seems like the kinks are slowly being worked out in favor of the funny for later. I can’t wait to see how good that gets later. Alas, that will be some time away, but I’m ready to wait. Dengeki Daisy is worth it.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

Dengeki Daisy 8

February 25, 2012

Kyousuke Motomi – Viz – 2012 – 9+ volumes

Oh, Dengeki Daisy. I like you because you make me laugh. And yet, you’ve gotten so serious. Not just that, but the unveiling of Kurosaki’s backstory is all about sad government deals and technical computer stuff and betrayals and death. It’s neither sad nor romantic. I’ve wished for it for awhile, and it’s nice to get it out of the way… but it’s way more long and involved than I thought it would be, and Kurosaki isn’t around while we learn about it. Also, it commits the sin of “I totally murdered him, except I didn’t actually cause his death but I still feel bad sob sob sob.” I hate that plot device. On the other hand, I knew it was coming, so it’s not that bad.

There are still moments of funny scattered throughout. As long as Teru’s around, there’s bound to be. Her dream conscience always appears as her brother, and when she has dream conversations with him, she argues that she can look however she wants in dreams, and makes herself have big breasts, appear as a samurai, her brother as a maid, et cetera. I was hoping the flashbacks with her brother would be humorous, that he would have the same personality as her, but alas. There’s no room for mirth in those flashbacks.

So yes. After a chapter or so where Teru gets over the shock of Kurosaki leaving, the adults in her life see fit to let her in on just what is happening. And then the rest of the book is spent explaining the links between all the characters, as well as Teru’s brother, and how all of this has led up to the current situation. It’s a necessary story, and it would have to be quite involved in order to be as big as it needs to be… but it’s also about computer programming and hacking. It lost me a couple times. And it’s soooo long.

But, as always, Kyousuke Motomi makes up for it somewhat with her hilarious side notes. Before, I commented that I couldn’t believe she implied that Kurosaki masturbated to thoughts of Teru. This time around, she published a few side sketches, and one of them is Kurosaki scoping out Teru’s breasts over her shoulder when she’s looking down into her swimsuit top to shake some sand out. It’s terrible and completely out-of-place in a nice shoujo manga. But I’m so happy that Kurosaki is that kind of guy.

I still love this series. I really do. That it can still make me laugh with a story this serious is a testament to how good it really is with its funny characters. And again, the events in this volume have been foreshadowed since volume one, so it had to happen sometime. The story carries over into volume 9, and I really hope that it concludes, and we can get back to our regularly scheduled manga after that.

Two things, though. One is that Kurosaki’s super-serious hacking software is called “Jack Frost.” You really can’t call it that. Too many people already know what Jack Frost really looks like.

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