Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Kurosaki is injured protecting Teru from the mysterious false Daisy, a situation she feels tremendous guilt over. Although everyone assures her that she need not, events seem to conspire to make her feel she is at fault. As Kurosaki struggles to find the right time to confess his identity to the girl he has come to care for, the fake Daisy ups the ante and begins using new methods to solve the mystery of who the real Daisy is – and to get to Teru.
What do you do when the central conceit of your plot is just about played out? This is a question that Kyousuke Motomi will soon be grappling with. By this point in the story, Teru knows that Kurosaki is Daisy and he knows that she knows. This situation can only go on for so long and begs the question of whether or not Motomi can maintain the combination of suspense and charm for much longer.
But pressing questions of continuity aside, this volume of Dengeki Daisy continues to be enjoyable. In the aftermath of false Daisy's tricks, Kurosaki is hospitalized. Riko and the director assure Teru that none of this is her fault. Like most teenagers, Teru is torn between believing them and not trusting what the adults say. This is a theme for the volume, as the grown-ups in her life try their hardest to protect her from the events around her and she is forced to question her own role in those same actions. Still other adults are on the opposite side, trying to force Teru to divulge Daisy's identity for their own selfish purposes. Teru is the rope in a game of tug, with both sides pulling at her while she tries to hold it together. In the end she begins to realize that no one can really make that happen but herself – although having friends can certainly help.
This is a book of realizations for Teru. She struggles with the question of her own culpability, particularly in an incident involving obnoxious school nurse Ms. Mori. Mori is one of the adults who is trying to use Teru, and despite the obviousness of her machinations, the fact that she is both an adult and a teacher makes it difficult for our heroine to fully disregard her. Couple this with Teru's attempts to hide the fact that she knows Kurosaki's identity and the book is a stressful one for her. Motomi does a good job showing this conflict, largely by pointing out that Kurosaki is tormented by similar things as well. This downplays the age difference between the romantic leads, which may make the story more comfortable for the squeamish. While Kurosaki is still clearly the elder of the two, the fact that he is grappling with similar worries makes them seem more compatible.
Character development is fairly strong in this volume, with bit players Rena and Kiyoshi getting some time to show how the events have changed them. Rena is forced to realize that her past actions may not have been the wisest, while Kiyoshi, since his earlier stint as a bad guy, has been steadily showing growth as a responsible friend. Kurosaki gets some time devoted to his inner thoughts this time around, perhaps a bit moreso than in previous installments. He is eaten by something that he did in his past, and thanks to both flashbacks and Riko we get a little bit closer to discovering what that was. This mystery is also central to the reason why Teru's brother asked Kurosaki to take care of her in the first place, so as we get closer to a reveal, the tension certainly mounts. Will the revelation destroy Teru and Kurosaki's budding relationship? He seems to think so, but as readers it is difficult for us to assess without the more information. However, as with the issue of Teru learning Daisy's identity, if Motomi keeps us in suspense for too long, she is likely to lose readers.
That issue is at the heart of this series the longer it gets. Yes, it is still interesting and engaging, but with Daisy's identity revealed to the protagonists and the question of Kurosaki's past near resolution, it is unclear how much longer the author can keep this up. If the series goes much past ten volumes, it could get dragged down by an attempt to prolong a mostly resolved premise. And that issue is starting to show up. Luckily this volume remains interesting, with Teru beginning to realize that adults don't have all the answers and that some things she will have to decide for herself. Add to that good progress on the romance front and some side characters showing real development along with the more central figures, and you have an entry into the series that is both engaging and enjoyable. Motomi has made great strides since the sweetness that was Beast Master, and with her serviceable artwork and interesting plot, this is still a story worth reading.
Overall : B
Story : B
Art : B-
+ Good character development, mysteries working toward resolution, some funny moments.
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