Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dengeki Daisy Volume 4

By Kyousuke Motomi. Released in Japan by Shogakukan, serialization ongoing in the magazine Bessatsu Comic ("Betsucomi"). Released in North America by Viz.

I think there was a general feeling among reviewers that this volume of Daisy was not as good as the others, and I can see that. We're at the point that every manga gets into when it realized that it's in it for the long haul - plot points that were scheduled to be revealed in 3 volumes have to either be put off or retconned somehow, and naturally any romantic progress is by inches, since the relationship only tends to resolve at the end.

So after last volume's reveal to Teru that Kurosaki is Daisy, we need to get back to a more even keel, and 'denial' seems to be the way to go about it. Teru is increasingly uncomfortable with Kurosaki, knowing she should tell him that she knows but unable to do anything about it - and it's made worse by the fact that her feelings for Kurosaki and Daisy are somewhat separate - she sees Daisy as her big brother replacement (deliberately, of course, that's exactly what Kurosaki is supposed to be as Daisy) but has fallen for Kurosaki. Eventually she decides not to tell him, but simply go along with things as they are now. Which helps the manga move along, but is a bit frustrating.

Meanwhile, the rest of the plot continues to roll along, as the "fake Daisy" is still attempting to make Teru's life miserable by ostracizing her from her schoolmates - and it's working, as we see several scenes of Teru getting bullied, and one over-the-top attempt at hospitalization for the cliffhanger. We meet another member of the 'inner circle' that surrounded Teru's brother, and he manages to be another amusing eccentric with Teru's best interests at heart... though that doesn't stop him being a bit of a creep as well.

There's a few good moments of humor here, my own highlight being Riko's reaction to Teru fainting and her (poorly worded) explanation of why she was out of sorts and had been bleeding last night. The art when we see someone delivering a powerful kick seems to get a bit more Western Comics and helps to add to the fun. Everyone in the entire manga seems to have an opinion on the relationship between Teru and Kurosaki, and never pass up a chance to tell them, even when it only leads to more angst. (As I said in my last review, the two leads are both very good at beating themselves up over the slightest problem.)

The best part of the manga is, oddly enough, Daisy oriented, as we see Teru ask Daisy how he got the nickname. Given the whole series has been littered with blue daisies from the start, it's not all that hard to guess - we think. But Daisy takes several days to answer, and when he does the answer is not what she or the reader expected. It's a powerful moment, and reminds us that for all that we can go on about Teru and Kurosaki angsting over every little thing, they both do have some very traumatic pasts - pasts we still haven't quite mined. (Heck, we aren't even sure how old Kurosaki is!)

This volume had many fun and dramatic moments, but in some way seems less satisfying than previous volumes. Perhaps it's the fact that the big revelation of the last volume ended up heading back into stasis, or maybe the plot is starting to have one too many implausibilities to it. In any case, we get another spectacular cliffhanger here, and I'll still get Volume 5 to see what's going to happen.

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