Title: Idol Dreams Vol. 4
Author: Arina Tanemura
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
It’s been over a year since the last volume of Idol Dreams was published here in the U.S. and yet, despite so much time away, I instantly remembered the story to moment I read the first page! Volume four picks up with Deguchi (as Akari) agreeing to date Ru, who is a part of the same Valentine idol group as her. Hibiki warns Akari that her relationship would end in tears and that he would mock her when it does. Right off the bat, they tease what kind of relationship it’s going to be, but then Tanemura-sensei decides to throw a curveball your way!
Turns out that Ru was genuinely in love with Akari and that he wanted to do nothing more than impress her. In order to do so, Ru, who was thinking about quitting Valentine, stepped up his work ethic and took this newfound determination and increased his popularity among Valentine’s fan base. He got so popular that he actually overtook Hibiki as the #1 idol in the group for the first time in his career. However, he was accepting so many jobs that it call caught up to him and Ru was hospitalized for work-related fatigue. This caused Akari to make a painful decision and feign a love for Hibiki right in front of Ru. This false betrayal caused Ru to fall into depression and he considered quitting Valentine, until he heard from his number one fan during a radio broadcast.
Thus the volume ends with Akari and Ru’s breakup, but it seems like Ru is going to be just fine. I, honestly, did not expect their relationship to turn out that way. In addition to the situation with Ru, Deguchi is starting to experience issues balancing her 31-year old life and her 15-year old life. A crisis at her publishing company kept her past hours and caused her to miss a job as Akari. I can already see that this won’t be the first time this will happen which means Deguchi, at some point, will have to make a choice between which life she wants to live. There were already some hints of that choice in this volume which makes this even more interesting!
Ru was a pretty adorable character in this volume. It was pretty funny to see him dress in drag for his date with Akari just to voice being noticed by his fans. I thought, at first, there was some deviousness to him going out with Akari, but in the end, he was just a 15-year old boy in love. It was pretty apparent that Akari was his first girlfriend and all he wanted to do was impress her. He ended up pushing himself way too far and that caused Akari to go to such lengths to make sure he gets his life set back on the right path. Through Ru, we can all relate to what our first loves were like. You want everything to go right so you become a person that you’re really not just to try and make the dream last just a little bit longer. In that light, Ru is someone a lot of people can relate to. It makes you wonder how they will handle his character from here?
Deguchi/Akari is starting to come to that crossroads that I mentioned above. She’s starting to wonder which life she wants to live more and, at first, she was leaning towards staying as Akari, but then when Mr. Baijodo called and admitted to plagiarism in his latest work, Degushi took command of the issue and worked hard to find the solution to their problem. This kind of renewed her faith in her life as a 31-year old, but that doesn’t mean the conflict is gone. Still, it’s enough to make you wonder what she will choose in the end.
This volume of Idol Dreams heavily focused on Ru and Akari, but even though they took up the majority of the volume, it was an enjoyable story to read. It gave us a nice contrast between Deguchi’s two lives and how parts of each life are beginning to intertwine with each other. Deguchi’s internal conflict can only grow from here, but in the end, I have a feeling she will eventually leave her 15-year old life behind, taking with her the experiences she gains from it and applies it to her current life.
While he may be just a minor character now, Mr. Baijodo was the catalyst to why I believe that. Even though he admitted that he didn’t take her seriously, Deguchi bringing him red bean buns allowed him to relate to and appreciate her. Deguchi, who felt like nobody even cared about her, finally felt what it was like to be appreciated without the help of a magic pill. I think that small taste of appreciation is what might steer her to remain a 31-year old. Of course, I could be wrong, but that’s the fun part of the journey… making assumptions and seeing if you’re correct!
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media