Dengeki Daisy Volume 9 by Kyousuke Motomi
This volume marks a turning point in this series. Orphaned high school student Teru and hacker/janitor Kurosaki have been defining their relationship by dancing around the truth. At first, he hid the fact that he was Daisy, Teru’s confident and protector that was reachable by cell phone. Then, Teru found out Daisy’s identity and proceeded to pretend that she was still ignorant. Then Kurosaki knew that Teru knew who he was, but he wasn’t going to tell her that he knew she knew. Teru found out the details of Kuosaki’s past and the burden of his guilt, and he promptly took off, thinking that he was protecting her by avoiding her. In this volume, they finally have a conversation with each other with no secrets or pretense designed to protect each other from the emotions they are both feeling, and the payoff is big for the readers. Of course, they don’t get to this confrontation without some drama and slightly twisted antics.
Teru is determined to track Kurosaki down. She hears all about his past from his colleagues and comes up with a devious plan. She’s going to tell Kurosaki that she’s going to meet the evil hacker Akira in order to discover his location. She knows that if Kurosaki thinks she’s threatened, he will come to save her. Kurosaki meets her at a beach and when he realizes that she’s tricked him he turns around to walk away. Teru keeps him around by making him angry. She starts reading Daisy’s most mushy messages, goading Kurosaki into a confrontation. They finally hash things out and talk, without all the secrets that have been serving as emotional armor. Teru shows herself to be much wiser than her years in the way she deals with Kurosaki. She knows that his guilt is so overwhelming that he wouldn’t be comforted if she tells him that she forgives him, so instead she tells him “thank you.”
So many shoujo series end up spinning out a central conflict between a romantic couple for many volumes, where not much really happens in terms of character growth until the very end. At nine volumes Dengeki Daisy isn’t a short series any more, but it feels like the characters are genuinely changing and moving forward in a way that makes this series seem fresh. Not only does the relationship between Teru and Kurosaki change slightly after their conversation on the beach, they are shown dealing with the aftermath in various ways. Teru doesn’t want to give up her texting relationship with Daisy, but Kurosaki can’t keep playing the role anymore. They have to carve out new ways of communicating with each other, but it seems like they are moving forward with a stronger foundation. Of course, there’s plenty of evil corporate spy antics going on in the background to keep things exciting. This was a very satisfying volume of Dengeki Daisy, and this series continues to be one of my current favorites.
Review copy provided by the publisher.