Daytime Shooting Star (Hirunaka no Ryuusei) (ひるなかの流星)
Original Story by Mika Yamamori
Art by Mika Yamamori
Published by Margaret from 2011 to 2014
Genres: [Shoujo] Romance, School
Status of manga: Completed*
*Review based on entire manga series
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Purchase links are not available because, as of when this review is published, this manga has yet to be officially serialized in English. However, you can still read this online with fan-subs.
3 Stars, Completed July 3, 2017
– read the bold text only to avoid major SPOILERS –
He emitted a light as bright as that of a falling star…
Daytime Shooting Star is a high school romance centering around the story of a teenage girl named Suzume Yosano that moves to Tokyo from a small town to reside with her uncle after her father’s job transfer. Upon her arrival to the city she meets a mysterious young gentleman that helps her reach her uncle’s place. Though she learns that this man is an acquaintance of her uncle’s she remains skeptical of this happy go lucky guy and tries to avoid him after their first encounter… but it looks like this will be harder done than said considering he’s her homeroom teacher at her new school.
Having read the entire series-all 12 volumes (which is roughly 80 chapters)-in the span of three days, there’s clearly an addictive quality to Daytime Shooting Star. And the sole reason why I think it was so compelling to read was because (dare I say it) the love triangle.
I might be the black sheep with this confession but I’ve actually never been one that disliked love triangles if done well. My biggest annoyances with the bad ones have been when A) the triangle itself was completely unnecessary and could have been avoided but was there to add unwanted drama B) it became blatantly apparent who the protagonist would choose at the end early on and/or C) the author decided to take a cop-out and villainized one party so that the lead female would alternatively get together with the seemingly “nice guy.”
Luckily, there was none of that nonsense with Daytime Shooting Star. Instead, it excelled at the push and pull aspect of these sort of romances but in balanced moderation to minimize readers’ frustration. It was also pretty obscure throughout the entire series who the heroine would eventually pick. In fact, the mystery of the outcome was this manga’s greatest charm, in my opinion.
And, most importantly, both guys were perfectly decent and rootable characters. I could totally understand and sympathize with the protagonist’s indecision and swayed feelings.
Bit by bit… the thing that is changing… is it my surroundings or myself?
But, actually, the primary reason why this love triangle could be justified in my mind was that it felt, surprisingly, requisite. Believe it or not, Daytime Shooting Star probably wouldn’t be the same without the polygon. Both Shishio (the teacher) and Mamura (the classmate/friend) and their relationships with Suzume are essential for sparking the beginnings of her character growth and keeping the story move along. And I don’t mean the former in an anti-feminist way by any means. Suzume’s character development is very much contributed by her uncle’s and (girl) friends’ presences as well, but what she gains from the time she spends with these two men are important with her transition into womanhood. (Man, that sounds cringey. But, I promise, that it’s really not.) And once reaching that maturity, she begins to want to learn more about herself.
In addition, the two separate romances that make up this triangle were just so right up my alley. I adore the best friends into something more romances and the student-teacher relationships have always intrigued me. I find the preceding to be the most realistic of all the romance tropes in fiction, which is possibly why I was game with joining team Mamura from chapter 0. (GO, GO MAMURA!) But I also wanted to give Shishio and Suzume a fair chance because of my curiosity towards such taboo relationships. (I’ve read a good many aside from this one.) And so, because Daytime Shooting Star essentially featured the kinds of romance that interest me it was perhaps even easier for me to disregard the triangle than most others.
But, with that all having been said, I don’t think readers that despise love triangles ought to give this a chance. Owing to the fact that the romance is the very plot device that drives the story forward.
Now onto the subject of the cast. For me, the cliché romance didn’t hurt the rating of this series but rather the underdeveloped characters.
The only complex individual was the teacher, Satsuki Shishio.
They say that age is just a number and love does not have constraints, but the timing of meeting that fated someone will always be an important factor. Daytime Shooting Star plays with this motif generously, especially when dealing with Shishio and Suzume’s relationship.
“Don’t judge me if you don’t stand in my position.”
With Shishio and Suzume scenes, readers can truly get a sense of the struggles and pressures a teacher would have to face when dating someone underage. I’ve noticed that many fans of Mamura have the misconception that Shishio is a terrible guy for not facing his feelings and lying to Suzume, ultimately breaking her heart. But I think they fail to realize what the poor man has at stake. Such as his career and the responsibility of taking care of Suzume’s reputation if the relationship is discovered or ends badly. The guy is a coward, sure, but his hesitation to follow through a relationship with a minor is lucid and only confirms that he’s mature. He has enough hindsight to recognize that Suzume is going to only experience worse heartbreak if she stays with him because he can’t promise her a normal relationship and protect her. (Mainly since he wouldn’t be able to acknowledge their relationship in the public.) And he knows that she’s young enough to move on and find someone more suited for her than him.
But, as I said earlier, just because he was a teacher and older didn’t make his actions correct either. He was a weak-willed individual and lacked courage when it came to confronting matters of love. In fact, he seemed almost child-like in that respect at times, which explained well why he was compatible with Suzume, who was 8 or 9 years younger than him.
It’s sad that he carried the burden by himself and he didn’t confided his insecurities to Suzume because a relationship is between two people. It felt wrong for him to decide on everything on his own. I’m not sure if they would have stayed together if he told her the truth but I wish he could have given Suzume a chance for her to have a say all the same.
Regardless, I felt really bad for Shishio even though I was never on his team. I don’t understand how readers could hate him.
“Sensei is just like those shooting stars. They make me cry happy tears and make me want to be near them. They flicker and I get dizzy and my heart flutters.”
Also, let me take a second to praise how wonderfully innocent this student-teacher relationship was portrayed. What disturbed me the most with Unteachable and other student-teacher stories I’ve read in the past were the physical aspect of their relationships. Those explicit relations could possibly be accurate portrayals of reality for all I know. But I admit that I’m a prude. Thinking about a teacher having sex with a minor simply creeped me out terribly. (I’d feel comfortable if the heroine was at least 18 or in college. But the one in this is not so.) Maybe this was more tame because this is a Japanese manga targeted towards young girls, but either way, I’m not complaining.
Daiki Mamura takes the award for the best second male lead (ever). I’m not surprised that I feel this way because I tend to fall victim of second lead syndrome rather often. Plus, it didn’t hurt that Mamura represented the bff to bf/gf romance of the triangle. He totally won me over and I couldn’t get enough of his personality and sincerity at pursuing Suzume.
Mamura is a natural tsundere, a Japanese term to describe someone that is at first cold but is actually a nice and caring person once one gets to know them.
The fact that he gets extremely shy around girls is just so cute. (However, I wasn’t going to buy the mangaka’s weak backstory behind why he became that way; it wasn’t well written or realistic however way I looked at it.)
Mamura and Suzume argued and joked around each other a lot. I really enjoyed their easy friendship and the silly antics that came along with it.
And I was especially fond of Mamura because, as he expressed and reassured Suzume many times, he was first and foremost Suzume’s friend before anything else. Because he saw Suzume in her most vulnerable states, he understood her inside out. He was a trustworthy confidant that was able to comfort her (physically and emotionally) when Shishio couldn’t. Like Shishio, most of his decisions related to Suzume were made out of selflessness as well. He cherished Suzume, valued his friendship with her, and sacrificed a lot for her happiness. He’s just one of the sweetest and most caring characters to have exist. :’)
Ending my tribute to Mamura on that, I also want to address that I believe antifans of Mamura make a lot of unfair judgements about him when it comes to not revealing Shishio’s true feelings to Suzume. (Re: Mamura finds out that the teacher still loved her.) I mean, didn’t Shishio conceal the truth intentionally to push her away? I’m sure Mamura probably thought that it wasn’t his place to tell. Regardless of his reasons keeping quiet, I still believe it was best he didn’t become involve with Suzume’s last relationship. (Shishio needed the opportunity to muster up the courage to confront Suzume himself.)
But enough about the boys.
As for Suzume… she is such a pretty shoujo manga heroine. (Like, can a moment be taken to appreciate how her outfits and hairstyles aren’t tacky and gaudy, like other manga heroines, but rather incredibly stylish? Gah, I want her wardrobe.)
She’s illustrated to be a natural beauty (and sort of a tomboy). Though timid and a bit clueless, she’s spontaneous and has the guts to confront her feelings. And I liked that a lot. Also, her character felt genuine and consistent when handling her feelings about the two guys.
Although, I also felt like her character didn’t reach its full potential in terms of growth. She did change from the beginning, but I expected even more development from her.
Conversely, I really thought the frenemy, Yuyuka Nekota, was well developed. Her development is much more apparent than Suzume’s since she changes vastly from how she’s first introduced. She turns over a new leaf and even becomes a great support to Suzume.
She’s also likely the most mature and experienced of the group of girls featured in the story, which again contrasts from Suzume’s innocent character. I like that she’s quite sarcastic and freely criticizes Suzume when the latter does something wrong.
She had a refreshingly unpredictable persona and was the ideal character foil to Suzume. (Plus, her little side story romance with Togyuu Minagawa was pretty adorbs.)
Also, the way this manga highlighted girl friendships is praiseworthy. There’s an unspoken rule among girlfriends that a girl does not date another’s ex-boyfriend or crushes. And I like how this was exemplified in the story. (Re: Suzume telling Yuyuka about her plans of accepting Mamura before she even sees Mamura. Like YES, sistas before mistas or however the saying goes.)
And, finally, the biggest chunk of this review will be covering the ending. (This is venturing into extremely SPOILER territory; tread carefully by only reading the bold. You’ve been warned.)
Is it possible to love an ending yet be disappointed at the same time? Because this is exactly how I feel about Daytime Shooting Star‘s conclusion at this point.
I try to refrain myself from wording things such a way (because, ugh, modern jargon) but for lack of better words it had me so shook. It didn’t go anything like I predicted it would, but it went exactly as how I’d hoped.
By the last page it became apparent why this was called Daytime Shooting Star. For the longest, readers are led to believe that this manga will have a typical shoujo ending where the heroine ends up with the first guy she met/fell in love with (this trope is better known as the first guy formula by the way) because Suzume calls Shishio her “daytime shooting star.” And such a star is special but… unreachable. So the puzzle pieces all fall into place and everything makes sense.
My spirits were soaring that she chose Mamura because she finally felt like she was needed and could be considered someone else’s “daytime shooting star.” Shishio loved her but didn’t trust or depend on her enough to speak his true thoughts when they were together. It consequently made her insecure when she was around him. And none of this was the case with Mamura. Plus, I like that this manga shows that people are capable of changing and that first love/relationships don’t always work out but things will be okay even if they don’t. I have a mighty soft spot for second chance love stories. :’)
Yet a part of me also cannot deny how very poorly written that conclusion was.
I thought Suzume made the right choice but the events leading up to that decision felt unnatural and abrupt. The recovery of Suzume’s heart should have been seamless and the clues of her getting over Shishio should have been more noticable. Instead, the mangaka was trying to keep the final, big reveal ambiguous so there was too much back and forth with the love triangle in the very last chapters.
Suzume moving on from her first love within a year was legitimate, but the mangaka needed to eliminate all those misleading hints that Suzume wasn’t over Shishio. (Like she was constantly reminded of her memories of him by practically anything.) The mangaka wanted to shock readers and she achieved that, but her approach definitely backfired and made the ending seem inauthentic.
Therefore I would say that the ending will make it or break it for readers. But, surprisingly, I docked off a star not because of the actual ending but rather for how poorly it was written. The last chapters appeared too severely rushed to ignore.
Before wrapping this ridiculously long review up, I wanted to bring to the table a few other aspects of the manga.
There are a number of similar scenes from Blue Spring Ride in this. Personally, this didn’t affect my reading experience because I liked both mangas for different reasons and, consequently, could differentiate between the two. Some of you may recall my review for BSR; that one resonated with me greatly despite the cliché and cheese. And I viewed this one as light entertainment, which is okay, too. Besides, both mangas were publishing in unison; I highly doubt that plagiarism was involved.
The art style was so splendid. (But then again, when have I ever went for any type of graphic novel comic series for anything but the art initially?)
Another big bonus is the mangaka’s continuous attempt of including LGBTQ+ and POC characters (mostly with the one shot chapters but still). (The creative gender bender extra will forever be my favorite among them.)
Ultimately, I thought this was a very fun series because instead of interpreting the romance as a love triangle I viewed it as a second chance love story.
But, admittedly, there isn’t much beyond the romance. Readers need to dig deep to find life lessons and buried subliminal messages, and even when found they’re not mind-blowing profound. However, this series does prove how fickle a young teenage girl’s heart can be during her youth to a tee.
And so Daytime Shooting Star is best picked up as a guilty pleasure read and nothing above those expectations. For the cheese was sprinkled omnipresent throughout, the writing and pacing left more to be desired, and many characters remained stagnantly one dimensional. Though not original or spectacular, this series would still provide great entertainment for those craving lighthearted coming of age love stories.
Apparently a live action film has been released in Japan so it’s only a matter of time before it comes out on DVD and is subbed for international fans. For now here’s a trailer with English subtitles!
This is just a teaser but why do I already feel disappointed? I’m afraid Daytime Shooting Star may be one of those stories that I don’t want adapted as a live action. (Really, they should have opted for an anime.) I’m also secretly hoping that the writers of the film will take this chance to change the ending, not that I have a big problem of the original but it would make things interesting. Anyway, you guys can bet on me watching and writing a mini review for this in one of my future Summing It Up posts.
Into Your Arms | I Wait | How Can I Say | I’m Yours | Call Your Name | You Were Beautiful | Congratulations | I Smile | Kagerou
*the bold/underlined are must listens!
(I do realize that nearly all the songs I linked are K-Rock and it probably would’ve been more appropriate if they were J-Rock… but DAY6’s Sunrise album (sound and lyrics) embodies the vibes and feelings of this series so perfectly that it was too good of a chance to pass up.)