by Lissa Pattillo,

Dengeki Daisy

GN 4

Dengeki Daisy GN 4
The secret is finally out and Teru has discovered once and for all that her janitor and next door neighbour is actually her cellphone penpal, DAISY. The discovery only complicates things further as the secret still can't be discussed openly just yet, especially with Teru aware of how she feels about Kurosaki. Distraction comes in the form of another hacker attack at the school with fingers pointed at DAISY. Teru goes to investigate without truely realizing who the plot's real target is. Meanwhile she becomes the victim of bullying at school for her connection to the now infamous DAISY but finally has some classmates willing to back her up.

Four volumes in and at last Teru knows that DAISY is Kurosaki. Finally the thing that we credited her for suspecting from day one has been confirmed. Everything's far from being out in the open though as Kurosaki doesn't know that his secret is out. Or at least Teru and (and we readers) don't know if he knows. Either way they're still pretending they don't know about the identity of Teru's secret protector and hacker extraordinaire, DAISY. Both are trying to act natural and pretend nothing has changed. Unfortunately this means that despite the big reveal, we're still stuck in the same frustrating cycle as the duo do the same dance over and over.

Dengeki Daisy has already fallen into a state of monotony only four volumes in. It often feels downright repetitive. Its one saving grace is that the characters are still as entertaining as ever. Teru turns her fretting into weird poses and teasing while Kurosaki prods back in mostly friendly frustration. Their banter is fun in how abrupt its executed. Amusing as they may be however, Teru and Kurosaki are still facing the same problems they were one, two and three volumes ago. It's not until mid-way through that we really get the feeling something is happening to advance the plot forward in this fourth book. The first half is taken up with battling bullies and the flu as Teru plans to attend her first mixer to get her mind off of Kurosaki. These stories have their charm but don't feel worth the postponed plot.

Similar to past events, someone in Teru's school has supposedly hacked into the cellphones of several students. Using the name DAISY, they threaten to wipe all the data on their phones if they don't pay for the software to stop it. Expectantly Teru is concerned about DAISY's reputation and well aware it's a ruse. Admirably for a shoujo-lead, she questions the stupidity of following the blind lure of an e-mail message to confront a stranger by herself. It takes the involvement of a new and especially homely looking character (and one with quite a bit of relevance it seems) to stop her from actually doing something idiotic.

This particular chapter ends on a daunting cliffhanger as we see a glimpse of the individual behind these plots. We're left to ponder – is it someone new? Or could it actually be the person it looks like? We can only assume the artist intended it to look like a certain someone. These suspicions are only fueled as a certain deceased character is suddenly being discussed in greater personal detail than ever before. A variety of characters share personal stories and go on for pages about how much they loved him. Whether this is foreshadowing or just idly laid sentiment, it's being laid on thick.

Meanwhile the romance between Teru and Kurosaki continues to blossom at its own pace. It still leaves something to be desired in regards to actual chemistry though, with Teru and Kurosaki sharing something more akin to sibling affection than that of lovers. All the same, Teru has admitted to herself that she's in love with Kurosaki. She also realizes that by having told DAISY in the past, Kurosaki knows this as well. It's another secret that everyone now knows and yet nobody really talks about. Fortunately this frustrating trend expires with two new friends Teru makes, both of whom had short roles in the series previously. Teru finally has some sounding-boards her own age to discuss and share everything with and readers will find themselves just as relieved as Teru to finally have some of the secret-tension relaxed.

Physical humor has always been a big part of the series and visually it gets pretty wacky when the artist over-emphasizes and exaggerates the characters' expressions. There are some peculiar visual quirks in this volume where particular frames really stand out. Super elongated limbs and joints that come to extra-sharp points are used for things like humor-engaging kicks or someone being comically knocked to the background. These particular shots utilize some bold, almost rough inking that stand out all the more amidst the artist's usual repertoire of strange yet neatly rendered chibi-style artwork. The rest of the artwork is pretty yet focuses in too tightly. It loses a lot of potential luster by not pulling back more often and letting the art shine on pages not cluttered with so many panels or word bubbles.

Fortunately despite the different repeating elements, there seems to be plenty up the author's sleeve to keep the characters busy in the future. Dengeki Daisy may be shoujo but it's not the kind of story that can live off its characters staring into space and pondering how they feel about the other person forever. To spice things up, the end of the volume even ends on a somewhat violent note to lurch things forward a bit. Dengeki Daisy may suffer from the repetition but at least it feels like we're moving forward, even if it is at the speed of molasses. The plot's a little sticky but just sweet and substantial enough to be worth the mess regardless.

Overall : C+
Story : C-
Art : B

+ Finally clears up the big 'mystery' once and for all and the story foreshadows some big future events; interaction between Kurosaki and Teru is still lively and entertaining
Plot is moving slowly and it feels like a lot of the same stuff repeating; two leads lack chemistry because of age-difference and personalities which makes a fair portion of the story fall short

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Production Info:
Story & Art: Kyousuke Motomi

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