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Review: Dengeki Daisy, vol. 1

Teru’s older brother died, leaving her an orphan. But he didn’t leave her alone. Before his death, he arranged for a friend of his–the mysterious man called “Daisy”–to be on call through Teru’s cell phone. Teru tries not to worry Daisy when she talks to him, but as her life starts to fall apart, she’s not sure who else she can turn to. A broken school window forces Teru to work for the grumpy young school custodian Kurosaki and soon Teru finds herself relying on Kurosaki almost as much as she relies on Daisy. He just always seems to be there when she needs him…

Dengeki Daisy, vol. 1
Kyosuke Motomi
Age Rating: OT/Older Teen/16+
VIZ, July 2010, ISBN 978-1-4215-3727-6
192 pages, $9.99

On the one hand, Motomi’s story is nothing new in the world of shojo. There’s the usual blend of comedic elements, sexual tension, overly dramatic pronouncements, a heroine who always needs rescuing, school uniforms, etc. Even Motomi’s art is shojo-standard–big eyes, floppy hair, plenty of screen tones, etc. In a few places Teru’s cluelessness can be frustrating. Is she really that unaware of how computers work? And it really can’t be that big a leap to guess who Kurosaki is. Readers looking for something new and fresh might think about skipping right over this one.

However, on the other hand, in Dengeki Daisy Motomi uses those familiar elements capably, crafting both a story and a relationship that slowly build, gradually bringing together threads to weave into a whole. Teru is a typical spunky manga heroine, but she’s likeable and realistic. She doesn’t feel like the type of leading lady who is secretly amazing. Readers will see her as any other girl just trying to survive a terrible situation. Kurosaki is the prickly leading man who often shows up in shojo romances, but by the end of the volume readers will realize that he may well have good reasons for his terrible attitude. The people who surround Teru are the usual mix of school character types, but Teru’s resistance to caving into the popular kids brings a fresh reality to the setting.

Even though there are a lot of dramatic shojo school romances out there, Dengeki Daisy is still a good addition to a collection. It is an enjoyable read with a traditional “girl falling for boy who must use his ‘powers’ to save her” type romance. And if the popularity of Twilight has proved anything, it is that that type of romance still resonates with readers. Pair this with Black Bird by Kanoko Sakurakoji or Beauty is the Beast by Tomo Matsumoto (both also from VIZ) for older teen manga reads that will make romance readers’ hearts beat just a little faster.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © VIZ Media LLC.

Snow Wildsmith About Snow Wildsmith

Snow Wildsmith is a writer and former teen librarian. She has served on several committees for the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2's Guide, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids and also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. Currently she is working on her first books, a nonfiction series for teens.

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