Friday, November 22, 2019

Daytime Shooting Star vol. 3 cements a disgusting possibility for the series (Manga Review)

Four attractive high-school boys in uniform on a purple background with stars
Daytime Shooting Star vol. 3 - 4/10 or 7/10 (depends on what happens next)

I'm so sorry that lately I seem to be giving mixed ratings. But sometimes an individual volume can't be judged in a vacuum and the way the story evolves later will change the way I feel about a current volume. Such is the case with Daytime Shooting Star vol. 3 (Shojo Beat/Viz).

The story: Suzume moves in with her uncle, falls for an older guy, who happens to be her teacher in school and a friend of her uncle's. In volume 3, she finally confesses to him. At the same time, she thinks he's getting back together with a former girlfriend.

Let's get the obvious concern out of the way first. I am not okay with adults dating teens, and I'm really really not okay with teachers dating their students or even contemplating it down the road. The whole set-up to this series hinges on that possibility. My sincere hope is that they never get together and that both of them grow up and grow on their own paths. But this volume seems to suggest that the teacher, Shishio, might harbor feelings for Suzume, the student. Yuck.

Of course, we're meant to like him, and I get why Suzume would crush on him. He seems sensitive and thoughtful and caring and attractive. But it is every adult's duty to clearly and succinctly turn down children who confess to them. Thankfully, he does. However, in his own internal dialogue, he seems to suggest that he wasn't being completely forthright with her when he did so. That's what has me concerned for this series.

Now, it was an ambiguous enough line to leave open the possibility of a more complex narrative, one that ultimately resolves in an acceptable way. But this series is officially on notice for being dropped by me if it goes down the wrong path. Hence, the split rating for this volume. If it does ultimately get them together, or even crosses some earlier lines, this will be the volume that clearly started it. However, if the series ultimately makes some more honorable decisions, then it was actually a pretty good volume.

In this volume, we get good background on Shishio and his ex, whom he ultimately decides not to reunite with. Maybe more importantly, we get some good scenes with Suzume, her friend Yuyuka, and with Yuyuka's crush Mamura (who likes Suzume). That love triangle is interesting in its dynamics, as all three characters are well sketched out at this point and have actual honest to goodness personalities (unlike some manga characters, particularly secondary ones, all three of these are well defined people).

What I liked best was that Yuyuka and Suzume actually work out Yuyuka's complex feelings and hurt around Suzume's friendship with Mamura and Mamura's liking Suzume when Yuyuka is the one with the crush. It's emotional, intense, but also shows two teens actually getting through it with tough conversation. It doesn't let misunderstandings and confussion linger or fester and was well written. We even get later scenes where Suzume continues to make it clear to Mamura that she has no interest in him as more than a friend and is conscious of even being that much relative to her friendship with Yuyuka. I like how she is prioritizing and aware of Yuyuka's feelings.

So if we put aside the potential problems with Suzume and Shishio, we actually get a well written teen drama with Suzume, Mamura, and Yuyuka. The art continues to be nice, with a slightly unique character design quality and good use of screentones to give panels depth. Taken from that lens, it's a pretty strong volume, hence the alternate higher rating.

It remains to be seen where this series will go: will it become a teacher/student romance that is realized and thus pandering to the worst of fandom and fantasy. Or will it use the initial crush Suzume has on Shishio to help both of them grow forward (and apart) as they mature? Future volumes will tell, but there's been an awful lot of teen/adult stuff in manga I've read lately, and I really really wish that trope would die. So this volume is either a 4/10 (for a problematic teen/adult relationship) or 7/10 (for good teen drama, writing, and art). We'll see.


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  1. I think you will be pleasently surprised by this manga. It many times seems like it's going to go to the yikes terroritory but forunately the mangaka makes the right decision at the end.

    1. Thank goodness. Cause I do like the art style and the main character. I'll keep reading! Thanks for checking out this blog!


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