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by Rebecca Silverman,

Dengeki Daisy

GN 16

Dengeki Daisy GN 16
Moments before the island explodes, Akira solves the final puzzle of M's Last Testament before at last getting what he really wants. After the main story's conclusion, a series of short stories give us insight into Kurosaki's emotions and Soichiro's life and death before wrapping everything up with a “post-credits” tale about how life goes on for the main cast. Also included is Motomi's debut short story, “No-Good Cupid.”

Few series, shoujo or otherwise, have consistently retained the air of excitement, tension, and romance that Kyousuke Motomi's Dengeki Daisy has over its sixteen volume run. While the story shifted from high school romance to technological thriller, essentially settling on a “romantic suspense” classification, it rarely, if ever, dragged, lasting far longer than we might have supposed from its opening volumes. In its final book, the series strives for a more calming tone as the cliffhanger from volume fifteen is resolved and we see life go on for the gang. It's a good way to settle things, and if it isn't as consistently page-turning as its predecessors, it still feels like a comfortable way to end the series.

The actual series finale is only the first chapter of the book. It opens with the explosion of the island where Akira, Kurosaki,and Teru had gone to solve the final mysteries of M's Last Testament, giving us a bit of a heart-in-the-throat moment before flashing back a fifteen minutes to show us what really happened. Motomi tries her hardest to misdirect the reader, and while we're pretty sure we know that she's pulling our collective leg, there's still a niggling doubt, because after all, one of the main characters in the series, Teru's brother Soichiro, has been dead since the start. Soichiro, despite his absence, or perhaps because of it, has been consistently one of the most interesting characters, and we really get the sense that his presence remains an active force in everyone's lives. This volume offers us a little more insight into that, with a short chapter about his life with Riko before he died. While we knew before that she was romantically involved with him, this chapter allows us to see that it was more than that – he was the love of her life. As we watch (and she watches) Teru and Kurosaki grow closer and more secure in their relationship, that really adds a bittersweet quality to the character that was never fully realized before. There will always be a Soichiro-shaped hole in Teru and Kurosaki's lives, but in Riko's that hole will be deeper and darker – a piece of her will never be able to bridge the gap that he left. Given how other characters are given more of a sense of closure with their ghosts in the series' conclusion, Riko becomes a much sadder person than we ever really realized, serving as a reminded that Soichiro's loss can never really be compensated for and that the control he exerted on the story is greater than Akira's tale.

Luckily for happy ending fans, the rest of this book is rather more upbeat. Motomi does her level best to resolve as much as she can without overwriting, which is not always an easy feat. While some readers may wish that there was a more definite conclusion to the romance plot, I feel that Motomi took it as far as the characters, specifically Teru, were comfortable and that to expand it further might have compromised the characters' personalities. Neither Teru nor Kurosaki are perhaps as mature as they will be, and Teru's going to take longer to get to a place where she's fully comfortable in a romantic relationship. Motomi does a fine job of showing us that, throwing in a panel in a short chapter from Kurosaki's point of view as sort of carrot for readers, and showing us that while the relationship is evolving, it'll still take time. For Teru, who lost everyone close to her barring Daisy, allowing herself to move too quickly would be out of character.

Despite its generally enjoyable qualities, there are still a few stinkers in this volume. The “post-credits” chapter includes the usually annoying plot device where Teru and Kurosaki must take care of a randomly dumped infant, and while this isn't quite as bad as it has been in other series, it still feels hackneyed and unneeded. The final chapter in the volume, Motomi's debut manga “No-Good Cupid,” does make you realize how far she's come...because it's really quite bad. While it is interesting to see how her art has changed over time, the writing is not good and the story fails on a number of levels. Thank goodness it showed someone her potential; let's just enjoy the fruits of how far she's come and leave this bit of the past in the past.

Dengeki Daisy's final volume manages to resolve everything that needs resolving and to provide a sufficiently happy ending for those we care about. Teru's world still goes on, but the major crisis of her life is over, and it was a great read. While it isn't perfect, this is still a fitting finale to what has been a very enjoyable series, and we can close the covers and feel that all of our answers have been given as Teru and Kurosaki ride off on a bicycle built for two.

Overall : A-
Story : A-
Art : B

+ Resolves what needs resolving, short stories give us some more insight into several characters.
Baby story not great, neither is Motomi's debut work. Some anatomical issues, particularly in terms of hands, which is a problem since one story centers on them.

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Production Info:
Story & Art: Kyousuke Motomi
Licensed by: Viz Media

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