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Kagerou Daze Vol #02 Manga Review

4 min read

Kagerou Daze Volume 2 CoverA slight improvement doesn’t help release the shackles of Takane’s character in time.

Creative Staff:
Story: Jun (Shizen no Teki-P)
Art: Sidu

What They Say:
Her life is pretty weird. She attends high school with only one other student in her class and has a teacher who takes “underachievement” to exciting new heights–and neither of the know the truth about her double life as a legendary gamer. Somehow, these three misfits are going to have to put on a show for the school festival. But how does that connect to Takane’s secret? And more importantly, how does that secret connect to the Mekakushi-dan? And come to think of it, how did Shintaro and the rest of the Mekakushi-dan’s trip to the amusement park finally play out? Find out as multimedia creator Jin’s blockbuster novel series hurtles into its second volume!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Kagerou Daze II treats us to Takane’s origin story. Going helpful the story we find out what makes her tick, but I can’t help thinking that Jin mismanaged our care for Takane.

To start, Takane is a student just trying to get through school. Rather than wanting to get up in the morning to do academics, she just wants to sleep in, play some video games and just avoid school. However, the forces that be decide against driving her to attend school. It is where she does that she meets her solo classmate Haruka, an eccentric boy, and see her development. It’s a shame that it lacks feelings for a significant part of Kagerou Daze II.

Takane’s development doesn’t feel empathic in this volume. She hates showing off video game skills in with the book’s explanation being embarrassment. The way they emphasized said embarrassments is quizzical, though. While she cares about what people think and say, the premise seems empty. Few people ever show up in the story, fewer people even interact. Most of the people that are standbys seem to be isolated from them in general. Thus, it makes Takane’s dilemma feel hollow.

The exception: the festival. In said festival, she meets a bunch of fans who beg to play her. It puts her in an awkward position as she’s thrown into celebrityhood, but does not want to be a celebrity. We then get a sense of Takane’s true self: A simple person who wants to be normal and live said normal life. This premise makes sense and truly defines the aspect of Takane’s wishes. Takane, isolated from the school, except with Haruka, wants to feel normal. But, she can’t seem to escape doing things that don’t define normal for women her age. She plays Dead Bullet -1989- with her being one of the best players, but that’s not normal for a woman. She goes to school with a boy who seems to lack contextual awareness, that’s certainly not normal. These things build up an identity that makes her feel misaligned with what a normal teenager is supposed to do.

Finding out her love for Haruka drives home her normality. Like regular teenagers, she meets and develops feelings for a friend, and now wants to tell him how she feels. We see this aspect of Takane play during the Yuukei Yesterday arc where her embarrassment, her anger, her happiness centers on Haruka. All of this aspect represents normal teenagerdom and gives empathy for Takane. We all go through these feelings when we meet our crush or someone who we have an emotional connection. To have these feelings come through the book feels comforting and a good motivation for Takane’s actions. This motivation should seem clear, but feels muddled as once again, Jin’s writing style and organization hamper these feelings.

All of the main issues for Kagerou Daze II issues can be pinned to Jin’s writing style. Once again, very wordy and lacks a sense of urgency one would expect for a light novel. A lot of his methods of communicating lack efficacy because of said wordiness. The organization for this book is also left to be desired. Many chapters feel out of place for their point to drive home, and instead of seeing a cohesive story it feels disjointed. Thus, we’re treated to slogging throughout this volume, hoping to get to the point by the end of it. With that said, focusing on one character for the majority of the book improved the reading experience quite a bit. Instead of having multiple reference points confusion, having one character for most of the books gives us the ground to at least endure Jin’s writing style.

In Summary:
This second volume is arguably better than the first. With the development of Takane, we get to see a little bit more of the Kagerou Daze world and how Takane fits into it. It’s too bad that Jin’s overall format for the volume hampers this development. With his mismatch of setting for the characters to drive home the points, it makes the series seem weaker in the aspect of character motivation. Top that with a writing style that still seems a bit obtuse and this volume doesn’t seem to make itself too accessible for those giving the series a second shot, or for those who may feel interested in reading it. With that being said, for others that enjoyed the series so far, they may enjoy this volume a little bit more. For that, Jin may feel okay with it.

Grade: B

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
MSRP: $14.00