Dengeki Daisy 16

October 4, 2015

Kyousuke Motomi – Viz – 2015 – 16 volumes

Hooray, the end!  This only had one chapter of the main story, then a handful of side stories along with an unrelated short story (that happens to be Motomi’s debut story).

The close to the main story was… ehh.  It started with a good joke (the cliffhanger from last volume left everyone’s lives in the air, and it proceeded down that path), but was mostly just wrapping up boring loose ends.  We didn’t see Teru graduate.  Nothing happened with her and Kurosaki.

The first set of side stories was interesting.  We got some different POVs, including one from Teru’s brother and one from Riko.  Some past stuff, some stuff that explains some of the last few things about the main plot, et cetera.  There was also a very short story about Teru painting her nails that has one of the sexiest lines I’ve ever seen in a shoujo manga in it.  A shame that NOT EVEN THE SHORT CHAPTERS TAKE PLACE AFTER TERU GRADUATES.

The final epilogue is one of those “take care of someone else’s baby” stories.  I hate these, because I prefer to see a flash-forward with the couple’s child.  This one didn’t even make a whole lot of sense.  Pretty much nothing about the way they got the baby made sense, but I don’t want to get into it too much because that’s the mystery of the story.  But a good preview is the fact they did call the police when they got the baby, and the police didn’t seem interested.

The debut story was cute.  It was about a girl at archery camp who was constantly bullied by an upperclassman.  The one she had a crush on and wound up joining the team for.  But she can’t hit the target, and he’s demon-like in his training and punishment chores, et cetera.  It’s rough, but Motomi’s right, it does contain some of the charm that makes Dengeki Daisy so great.

Ehh… eh.  I still love this series, and would highly recommend it.  This ending isn’t terrible, it just… is.  Which is fine, and I’m happy to see it after all these years.


Dengeki Daisy 15

September 20, 2015

Kyousuke Motomi – Viz – 2014 – 16 volumes

Okay, that was a massive page turner.  The hacking makes a slight return, and I wish we could have finished the series without Teru getting kidnapped again, but all that aside, I tore through this.  There’s a bomb planted on an island, and they have to stop it.  Are Boss and Daisy bad enough dudes for that?

The volume technically ends on a terrible cliffhanger, but with the scene that happened right before that… and the fact this is a shoujo manga, I’m pretty sure we all know what happened.

I can’t give too many plot details without spoiling it.  I’m still not the biggest fan of action-oriented Dengeki Daisy, nor serious computer hacking Dengeki Daisy, but all the same, this is a pretty epic finale.  A lot like an action movie!

Akira figures largely in this ending, of course.  I wish he were more likable.  Everyone’s risking their lives to save him, and he basically flat-out tells them they’re being nosy, and their spirit of do-gooding is no better than the terrible people that exploited his skills throughout his entire life.  Teru kinda goes for it, then decides to stop him bodily from being a selfish jerk.  I think Motomi made him as empathetic as possible, but he’s just not that person.  I get it, but it makes reading this story arc harder.

Not a whole lot of Teru/Kurosaki in this volume, though Kurosaki is suitably… distressed when Teru is kidnapped, and there is a fantastic reunion scene when they meet back up on the island.  Also, Motomi also drew chapter illustrations from great moments in the series.  The one where they first meet at school in chapter one was my favorite.

One more volume!  Can’t wait!  I’m hoping for a happy ending, and maybe some epilogue short stories!  I want to see Teru and Kurosaki happy!  There just wasn’t enough of that in this series.

Also, I went on the Shojo Beat Facebook page today.  Aside from the Shojo Beat 10th Anniversary festivities (I’M SO OOOOOOLD, GOD DAMN IT THIS BLOG IS OLDER THAN SHOJO BEAT), there was a giveaway for the last volume of Dengeki Daisy that came out in March or April.  The question was about the crossword puzzle in this volume.  I loved the long string of one-word answers in the comments.  “bald – bald – bald – bald – bald – bald…”

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.