Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Daytime Shooting Star volume 2 is full of cliched tropes (Manga Review)

Mika Yamamori
Daytime Shooting Star vol. 2 - 6.5/10

I'm uneasy with the basic setup of Daytime Shooting Star (Viz/Shojo Beat) to begin with, and volume 2 is filled with a lot of cliche'd plot tropes. It was still a fine enough read, but I'm starting to wonder if this is a series I will continue with. For those looking for more of the same shoujo, this might be fine, but for those looking for something unique, Daytime Shooting Star is wanting so far.

In volume 1, we met Suzume who was from the country, has no sense of direction, and is helped to her uncles house (where she's staying - cliche alert - parents are gone, she must move to Tokyo!) by a young man who is friends with her uncle (literally the first chapter of 50% of all shoujo manga from what I can tell). It turns out that the hot young man who helped her get there is also her teacher in school (yup, you saw this coming). What's a young girl to do other than fall in love with her teacher? (which is how volume 1 ends).

In volume 2, Suzume goes on a class camping trip and guess what?

She falls down a pit (I for one have never really seen a pit in the forest when camping, but who knows), hurting herself and getting a fever (yet another cliche. And while we're on it, what is it with people getting fevers all the time in manga? There must be an article about this somewhere...looking...has nobody actually researched the history of this cliche?). She falls down the pit with the hot sulky boy in her class who is liked by her frenemy, Yuyuka. And guess who has feelings for Suzume? Yup, of course it's the boy her friend likes! (cliche'd cliche!)

So far, this series is nothing but cliche'd plot points? So why am I reading it? Let's make a list:

1) Suzume has a good mix of strength, insight, toughness, naivete, and not-gonna-take-it-ness. She's a pretty winning, but somewhat a-typical heroine, in both her somewhat spacey personality and particularly in her art design. Her character alone carries this series so far.

2) Yuyuka is a wreck but endearing. At first she appears to be the perfect, quiet, ideal girl. But to Suzume, she's a foul-mouthed devil. However, because Suzume doesn't take it, they actually end up friends. Volume 2 sees a breakthrough with Yuyuka and the rest of the class. It totally works.

3) The art. As I mentioned in #1, I really like the character designs. There's a fluidity to the lines, some boldness of blacks, and Suzume has a maturity in her character's art design that helps her stand out as a different look than most shoujo heroines visually.

However, I don't care much for a flirty teacher who calls the student by a nickname and after volume 1, seems to potentially harbor feelings for her too. Like, get a woman your own age perv. Don't go giving the teaching profession a bad name (regardless of whether it is more acceptable in other societies historically or currently than it is in the US, it's still an adult hitting on a minor).

I also don't care much for the sulky kid whose afraid of girls. Sulky has been done, and it's been done better by much more interesting characters than this dude. Maybe he'll get a meaningful back story, but I somehow doubt it. Even in currently running manga, we have much better options for sulky crushes. Unlike Kyo in "Ao Haru Ride," or the side character of Taka (with his pretty f-d up former crush) in "Hatsu*Haru," the sulky teen from "Daytime Shooting Star" just seems like a cookie cutter character. We can't root for him which means we have to root for the teacher and I don't want them to be a couple either. So what's the point of a romance manga where we don't actually want the girl to be with either guy?

So two good female characters and good art. That's something, but if that's all this series has going for it as it continues, it's going to get put on my back burner. And with two potential romance partners that aren't terribly inviting, we can't even really get invested in that part of the story. Hopefully it's just off to a slow start and the creativity and emotional insight will grow as the series develops. I'll give volume 3 a try, but we'll see. As for volume 2 of Daytime Shooting Star, it gets a 6.5/10.


Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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