Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Daytime Shooting Star
Suzume's spur-of-the-moment confession to what she thought was a sleeping Shishio turns out to have greater repercussions than she imagined when she realizes that he heard her. The return of his ex-girlfriend has already thrown the teacher for a loop, and Suzume's words just add another layer to his emotional turmoil. Meanwhile Suzume and Mamura try to cope with the idea that neither of their crushes are requited as they try to decide where to go from here.
If there's one major fault in a lot of student/teacher romances (besides the obvious, but we are talking about fiction), it's that the older person in the relationship very rarely seems to think about the inappropriateness of accepting a student's love confession. While this is only the third of eleven volumes, Shooting Star Romance already appears set to give this issue a bit more consideration, because Shishio is genuinely upset by Suzume's words of love. Since it's still early days as far as volume count goes, it's too soon to say that he's going to truly refuse her, but that even a little progress has been made in that direction feels very encouraging as far as that particular subgenre of romance goes.
More interesting, perhaps, is the way that Suzume words her confession – she says that she has a major crush on Shishio, not that she's in love with him. There's a pretty big difference between the two degrees of emotion with a crush being emphatically less serious in terms of duration than being fully in love, and the decision to use that terminology sets the story on a slightly different level than many of its cohorts. That's not to say that it's better or worse, but rather that it seems to have a grasp of nuance that we don't always see. It also says something about Suzume, who in a way feels like too good a character for this story: she herself is aware that her feelings may not be as serious as she would like to think they are. She recognizes that she's got romantic feelings for her teacher, and that they're relatively serious compared to what she may have felt before, but she also knows that she's a teenager and that maybe what she feels now isn't going to be how she feels forever. Whether this semantic choice comes from the original Japanese or is Viz's choice, it is very much in keeping with what we've seen of Suzume thus far – that she knows herself well. She's got a whimsical side, but ultimately seems to be fairly practical, and love is no exception to that.
That practicality and ability to really think about things comes through in other aspects of the story in this volume as well. Suzume is concerned about Mamura, who confessed to her in the second volume, and she doesn't want to make him uncomfortable by relying on him during her time of emotional stress. Likewise she's leery of telling Yuyuka, with whom she became friends based on the other girl's crush on Mamura, what he's said, because she doesn't want to jeopardize their relationship. Eventually she does realize that not being honest is ultimately worse, thus very nicely averting a potential source of angst and melodrama that could have dragged on for volumes. She also is able to be straight with Shishio in the aftermath of her confession, which is based on her treatment of Mamura, again driving a stake at least partway through the heart of typical shoujo romance plot devices by not wallowing in her sadder emotions. None of this takes away from the enjoyment of reading the story or speculating about future romantic developments, but it does give them a slightly sharper edge in that Suzume refuses to be at the mercy of tumultuous emotions – which is also interesting because that's not a decision Mamura or Shishio makes.
Of course, Shishio has the added complication of Tsubame, his ex-girlfriend. The two broke up two years ago when she left for her job, and the nature of their parting left both of them feeling unresolved about the whole thing. Tsubame's return right as Shishio has met Suzume (and heard about her crush) gives him plenty to think about. One of those things is doubtless the fact that Tsubame is older than Shishio, something which we aren't told directly factored into the end of their relationship, but if we read between the lines a bit, it certainly seems as if it did. The two met when Shishio was still in college, and when Tsubame left, he was just about to embark upon his graduation and career, while she had an established profession from day one. Their trajectories never quite aligned, and the fact that she was already working as a professional long before he was ready to put them at significantly different places in life. In a different case, yes, this doesn't have to be an issue, but in their specific relationship it was. The failure of this romance may certainly give Shishio pause about being in another age gap couple, even if there isn't actually all that much that's similar about a potential love between he and Suzume than that. That Tsubame is aggressively being mean to Suzume certainly isn't helping either, although she frames it that she is teasing the girl; it's clear that neither Suzume nor Shishio sees it that way, and that very much sets her up to be the bad guy of the volume.
Daytime Shooting Star seems to be on an every-other-volume trajectory in terms of major plot developments, because Mamura's confession to Suzume in volume two didn't have nearly the impact of Suzume's to Shishio. That works, because it gives the characters time to actually think about and digest what happened before, and the series could benefit from maintaining this format. But even if it doesn't, Suzume's self-awareness and the general lack of stupid decisions by the characters is making this an interesting entry into the shoujo romance field. It may not be possible to really see a shooting star in daylight, which is very likely a key reason that's the title of the series, but reading about someone hoping to remains a good time.
Overall : B+
Story : B+
Art : B
+ Suzume is self-aware and thinks about what she does and why. Story avoids melodrama.
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