By Mika Yamamori. Released in Japan as “Hirunaka no Ryuusei” by Shueisha, serialized in the magazine Margaret. Released in North America by Viz Media. Translated by JN Productions.
It has to be said, when it comes to shoujo heroines, I have a type. Strong-willed, seemingly blase about life but capable of flipping out when needed, being as accepting and loving as a bunch of puppies in a park, and usually coming with a seemingly darker but also fantastic best/friend/rival character. This is present in Daytime Shooting Star, a series I was initially wary about (student/teacher romance is hinted at, though it’s uncertain if it will actually go anywhere) but turned out to be far more fun than I expected. It’s got a lot going for it. Country girl in the big city, seemingly stoic but in reality easily shy and embarrassed male lead. The teacher, the other male lead, waffles back and forth between mentor, teasing friend and love interest depending on the scene. And it has a good mix of light and dark moments. If you’re trying to cut back on the ongoing manga you read every two months, this one won’t help you do that at all.
Suzume is our heroine, a country girl who’s lived her whole life in the same remote town with the same friends. She skips class a lot, and has no real desire to do anything but watch the stars and ignore the guy who’s clearly crushing on her. Then her parents are sent to Bangladesh for work, and she can’t come and can’t life by herself. So it’s off to Tokyo to live with her uncle, and as you can imagine she’s somewhat overwhelmed, though not nearly as much as I’ve seen in similar titles. She meets this huge dork who turns out to be her homeroom teacher; the cook guy everyone likes, who’s secretly terrified of girls; and the cute girl who says she wants to be friends and invites her out to go bowling… and if you guessed she’s secretly a bitch in sheep’s clothing, congratulations, you can write shoujo. And if you further guessed that Suzume would win her over with the power of FISTS AND LOVE, you can write even better shoujo.
Suzume is the main reason I really enjoyed this. She’s equal parts naive and blase, and there are a few good scenes that show this off, such as when the girls in gym attempt to bully her only to find that in fact she IS really good at sports. As for the teacher, so far she may find him attractive but he seems mostly to be interested in making sure that she grows as a person… and gets good grades, as it turns out skipping class all the time means she’s abysmal in school. As for Yuyuka, I have another type, and it’s absolutely the “I am a villain so why do you associate with me” person who is gradually revealed to be good at heart. We haven’t seen the good at heart yet, but there were hints we will, and I think these two girls will be good for each other.
I finished this book wanting to read the next one immediately. Which is all you can ask of a debut, really.