Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Teru and her friends are all set to crash the “engagement” party Rena's ne'er-do-well pseudo-fiance is staging on a cruise ship with the dual goals of rescuing Rena and putting an end to the Neo Jack Frost threat. But there may be an unexpected mastermind behind the scheme, and if it is who the group thinks it is, then Daisy may have met his match...
Kyousuke Motomi still thinks that Dengeki Daisy is a love comedy. Now, she is the author, and perhaps it is bad form to argue a work with its creator, but I would say that whereas Dengeki Daisy began as a love comedy, it is now something of a spy thriller/romance hybrid, or what the mainstream publishing world refers to as “romantic suspense.” In all honesty, this is not an unusual shift in genres for a romance author to make – numerous American authors have gone from romance to romantic suspense in their work, and Motomi would certainly be in good company. All of that aside, however, the storyline has certainly made a jump from “get them together” to “save Japan from evil hackers,” and no amount of cute moments between Teru and Kurosaki can change that fact.
This volume is one of the most exciting to date in terms of the suspense plot, with a full-fledged infiltration of Rena's engagement party planned. The team has disguises planned, some more subtle than others, and a multi-layered plan of attack. While this part of the story really only comprises the first two chapters of the book, they are action-filled and tense, with a real sense of peril for Teru and Kurosaki's worry being palpable. We also get to see the whole crew in formal wear, which is particularly attractive on both Teru and Kurosaki. Rarely have we seen Teru look so elegant – even if one of the characters comments that she looks like an idol from the 1980s – and Kurosaki proves that he cleans up nicely. There's sort of a James Bond feel to these chapters, with a lot at stake and impending doom on a couple of levels, topped off with a clear feel for the bond between our protagonists. Simply put, this is well-executed romantic suspense.
It quickly becomes clear, though, that the story of Neo Jack Frost, to say nothing of Soichiro's death, is not over. During the mission, Kurosaki and Teru meet up with a shaggy-haired man who seems agreeable enough be exudes an air of menace. This gentleman, it appears, is the worst of the villains we have met thus far, and there's a very real sense that he may be Daisy's match, along with the possibility of him being The Bad Guy for the series. While this might imply that Dengeki Daisy is approaching a conclusion – although only if he really is as powerful as he appears – volume twelve ends with a threat and a promise that the group's troubles are far from over. At this point the new villain is most interesting in that he provokes more panic than we've ever seen before among Soichiro's former coworkers. This allows us to see them as more human than they've previously been (although Motomi's characters have never been one-dimensional) while also implying that Teru may not be as safe as she's been, even under their expert care.
Fortunately Motomi does not keep things fully serious. There are brief moments of humor scattered throughout the book (including one very silly Titanic joke) and Teru continues to make good faces. The romantic moments between Teru and Kurosaki are very sweet, even if at this point readers may be screaming, “Just kiss her already!” Motomi makes it clear just how much Kurosaki cares for her by showing his restraint, but there does come a point where as readers we might like him to show just a little less of that – perhaps her upcoming birthday will help with that situation.
Motomi's art continues to improve, and her layouts and general artwork in this volume is an improvement over the previous book. It is less crowded, although still more tone-heavy than earlier volumes, and makes for easy reading. Femme fatale Chiharu Mori continues to be a visual highlight, changing with each appearance while still remaining clearly herself, which is no small feat for an artist. The new character's design is very different from those of previous players, showing Motomi branching out a bit.
Dengeki Daisy continues to be an enjoyable series. This volume is full of sinister plots, threats, and action while being liberally sprinkled with romance, making it a fun read for fans of the series and a good example of romantic suspense. Motomi may not quite know what genre she's writing any more, but she's still doing it well, and for a series twelve volumes into a story that resolved its starting plot books ago, that is nothing to sneeze at.
Overall : B+
Story : B+
Art : B
+ Exciting first two chapters with a promising new story arc taking off in the rest of the book. Some very good romantic moments between Teru and Kurosaki, improved layout.
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