Dengeki Daisy, Vol. 9

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

I haven’t done a full review of Dengeki Daisy in a while. It’s been a very rough stretch recently too, as Kurosaki’s past has finally come out and things have taken a relatively dark turn. It may be disquieting for those who were enjoying this manga for its wacky romantic comedy and physical and verbal abuse of the leads. Luckily, this volume not only wraps up the dramatic arc (while leaving room for more in the future, of course), and gives us plenty of laughs.

Sticking with the dramatic for a moment, I liked how this was resolved. The dramatic thrust wasn’t “how will Kurosaki stop the bad guys all by himself”, it was “how will everyone get Kurosaki to stop destroying himself with guilt”. I was therefore not particularly surprised when I saw that a deus ex machina (or rather, deus ex Akira) had taken care of most of what they had to do. This allows Kurosaki and Teru to return to some form of normalcy. In particular, their reunion is pitch perfect, bringing some comedy back to the series at last, and giving some real heart – you really wish Teru was older so that these two lovebirds could finally get together.

As Teru notes, she *can’t* forgive Kurosaki – because right now, he can’t forgive himself, and as long as he can’t, there’s no point in other people doing so. However, he at least now knows that separating himself from everyone is not the answer, and if anything his love for Teru is even stronger. (In a purely platonic sense, of course – this is lampshaded by Riko, who tells him to give Teru physical comfort without giving her physical comfort, if you know what I mean.)

This leads to the second half of the volume, which might be fairly frustrating for those who were expecting that we were nearing the end of the series. After a brief fight/misunderstanding regarding Teru’s emails, the two decide that they will email each other as themselves from now on, and ‘retire’ Daisy – while at the same time realizing what Daisy did for both of them. It’s really sweet. However, when Riko notes that Kurosaki still hasn’t confessed to her, he notes that after everything that happens, it feels like they’re starting over, and he wants to take his time and get closer to her again. This is known as the “your series is very popular, let’s find some new subplots to add” syndrome. Still, I’m not opposed to it when the cast is as fun as these guys are.

I’ve occasionally compared this series with Black Bird, which also features a heroine who seems to be in constant peril, but could not be more different from Teru. Here in North America, you’d have to actively seek out both series to compare and contrast them, so the chance of a crossover audience is smaller. In Japan, though, both run in the same magazine – Betsucomi. This might make it easier to read both of them – you get Black Bird’s sensuous guilty pleasure for 40 pages or so, then you can flip to Dengeki Daisy’s more dynamic heroine as an antidote. (And then they can read We Were There for crushing despair! Though that ended this month.)

Dengeki Daisy is a riveting romance, with lots of emotional rollercoasters, a great sense of humor, and a heroine who rises above her peril to be strong and likeable. Not to mention a handsome, admirable (if grumpy) hero, who is only called a lolicon about 6 times in this volume, which may be a record low. (It’s in fun, trust me.) Highly recommended.

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