DENGEKI DAISY, by Kyousuke Motomi. First published in 2007, and first published in North America in 2010.
Teru is the sole poor scholarship kid at her high school. The rich, snobby members of the absurdly powerful student council go out of their way to make her miserable, but not even their pranks can get her down. Why? Because she has Daisy looking out for her. Daisy is a mysterious entity that Teru knows only through text messages, but ever since the death of her older brother Daisy has served as both confidant and protector. Too bad that he can't protect her from the accident that leads to Teru being forced to become the lackey to the school janitor, Kurosaki. He's a snide slacker, but this is merely a front for his true identity. You see, Kurosaki is Daisy, and he uses his l33t haXX0r skills to get Teru out of all sorts of trouble, be it from her classmates or from shady figures from her brother's past.
You know, the hardest reviews to write are not the ones for very good series nor for very bad series. It's those that fall right in the middle that are hardest, as they cannot be called good by any means, but neither are they offensive or incompetent enough to be truly bad. Such is the case for Dengeki Daisy.
The setup is all too familiar, where the character is forced to serve another to repay a debt. Kurosaki's pretty familiar too, in that he's one of those love interests who pretends to be distant and douchey to the lead in order to conceal his true feelings because taking a grade-school approach to relationships is totally healthy as an adult (and in no way artificially stretches out the premise by having said love interest wallow in internal conflict). Teru herself is...well, in all fairness, she's not a complete cliché, but neither was she all that interesting on her own. She's not completely stupid, though, as she confronts Kurosaki at more than one point about his being Daisy (which he always denies). There's also a genuine sweetness in her unwaivering belief and trust in Daisy, even if Daisy is serving more as a replacement goldfish for her dead brother than anything else. That being said, there are far too many points where the connection between her cries of help to Daisy and the appearance of Kurosaki should be obvious to anyone, and she should be confronting or questioning Kurosaki more than she does.
The story does try for some more serious drama near the end, as people from her brother's past confront Teru to try and get her brother's programs. Sadly, it's all too little and too late to inject some non-romantic drama into this thin premise. I appreciate the effort, but it wasn't enough to elevate Dengeki Daisy from the realm of the mediocre.
Dengeki Daisy's art is no more original or distinct than its story. The character designs are rather typical for shoujo, and the quality varies widely from doe-eyed and finely detailed to so simplified as to approach superdeformed. Truthfully, between his messy, pointy dyed hair, mean-looking face, and choice of name, I wonder if Motomi wasn't taking more than a little inspiration from Bleach's Ichigo Kurosaki. Backgrounds are nicely drawn but mundane, and screen tone and effects are kept to a minimum. The pages are simply and neatly composed, breaking out larger panels for dramatic moments as necessary but not getting crazy with the stacking or layering of panels on the page.
There's a mildly amusing side story after the main one, but it's mostly there for romantic fanservice than anything else.
An inoffensive and mundane series deserves an equally mundane rating.
This series is published by Viz. This series is ongoing in Japan, with 13 volumes currently available. 12 of those 13 volumes have been published, and all are currently in print.
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