Dengeki Daisy – Manga Review

Japanese Title: Dengeki Daisy

 

Genre: High School Comedy Romance Drama

Length: 16 volumes

 

Positives:

  • Chemistry between main characters.
  • Snappy humour.
  • Well-suited art.
  • Starts so well…

Negatives:

  • …continues so poorly.
  • Goes far longer than it should.
  • Villains aren’t really villains.
  • Repetitive.

I’m not sure which is worse: the series that tells you it’s terrible from the start or the series that starts great and spirals after it has held you for several volumes. Dengeki Daisy is a case for the latter. It starts so well – hilarious, likeable characters, and more depth than expected. Around volume seven, however, Dengeki Daisy took the populist American sitcom route of overstaying its welcome, as it got renewed volume after volume to milk the cow.

Dengeki Daisy centres on orphan girl Teru and her secret guardian ‘Daisy’, a hacker who watches over her, particularly at high school where she is bullied for being poor, though she holds her own rather well. Her only contact line is through her phone, the last memento from her late brother. Daisy is the school janitor, Kurosaki, her senior by several years and a foil to Teru’s snappy attitude. Daisy’s identity isn’t a spoiler, which isn’t a good thing, actually. Though Teru doesn’t learn Daisy’s identity for a few volumes, we figure it out within a chapter. I don’t know why the author did this, especially when you see how much filler they resort to later on. It would have been more interesting to keep Daisy a mystery for the first arc (at least), replacing (at least) one of several dull villains.

The villains are Dengeki Daisy’s greatest failing. Their blandness is responsible, in large part, for the story feeling so slow and dragged out. They aren’t even villains. Every villain arc goes as follows: villain is interested in Teru for her brother’s legendary hacking software (story maguffin), acts creepy towards her, kidnaps her (or her friend), Teru talks to him a little, villain becomes weak, and really wasn’t such a bad guy all along. Yep, every villain gets an instant redemption story. I didn’t mind the first time, but after three instances, my eyes couldn’t roll any further – after a half-dozen, I wished I didn’t have eyes to roll. The more I read shoujo manga, the more shoujo authors seem to think girls can’t handle real villains in fiction.

As alluded to earlier, Dengeki Daisy promises surprising depth through Kurosaki/Daisy, as his feelings conflict with his role as protector and his past actions. His two identities are vastly different, making for an interesting character. Unfortunately, like everything else in this manga, depth takes a sharp, boring turn after volume six.

Sixteen volumes is far, far too long for a story of this nature. If made into an anime, Dengeki Daisy only has enough material for thirteen episodes without filler, maybe twenty-four. For context, The Rose of Versailles has forty episodes – packed with content – adapted from a mere ten volumes. I loved these protagonists, their chemistry, and their humour, but it wasn’t worth reading beyond the first six volumes. I just wanted it to end!

Art – High

The art style is close to that of a manhwa style, which is well suited to the shoujo genre. Good use of visual humour and not too busy. The artist uses camera angles to keep panels varied.

Story – Medium

Dengeki Daisy starts strong with great chemistry and a lot of humour; however, after six or so volumes, the arcs repeat, you realise the villains are the same weak opponents, and the plot goes nowhere until the final two volumes.

Recommendation: Read until you get bored. Dengeki Daisy’s strength is in its humour and chemistry between protagonists – the overall plot isn’t particularly engaging. You don’t need to keep going once the repetition no longer feels worthy of your time.

(Find out more about the manga recommendation system here.)

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