Title: Idol Dreams Vol. 2
Author: Arina Tanemura
Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
The second volume of Idol Dreams has arrived! In this volume, the 15-year old Deguchi is getting ready for a live performance to help promote the debut of her first single – while competing against the Yuko, the girl she replaced. First, Deguchi needs to find a casual outfit for the event, so she enlists the help of Tokita while she is reverted back to 31. After browsing through 50 stores, Deguchi finds the perfect outfit, right off of a mannequin. During her big day, she encounters several accidents that seem to doom her success… from freezing up in her first performance to needing a back-up outfit. Can an amateur like Deguchi out-sing and out-dance a professional like Yuko?
The second volume of Idol Dreams was much more enjoyable than the first. In the first volume, I was skeptical of this series because of the unbelievable factor of a pill that can make you revert to a teenager, albeit temporarily, but here in the second volume, they don’t even mention the pill whatsoever and just assumes the reader understands why Deguchi keeps going back and forth between being a fifteen-year old and a thirty-one-year old. The absence of the science fiction aspect allowed the manga to focus on developing the relationships between Deguchi and each of her respective interests at each age.
The only thing that bothers me is the cliché that this manga uses in the fact that both Deguchi and Hibiki’s parents are dead. This is a cliché (or a trope; if you want to get technical) that is WAY overused in both anime and manga. I understand that it’s done to give younger readers a sense of encouragement that if they’re strong, they can endure life and still make a success out of themselves through hard work, discipline, and maturity, but does it really have to be to go-to explanation every single time? I guess when you read a lot of manga or watch a lot of anime it becomes a run of the mill excuse. Maybe first time readers will find that aspect tragic, but who knows?
The end of the second volume left us on a bit of a cliffhanger. We knew sooner or later SOMEONE was going to discover Deguchi’s secret and while it’s not a hundred percent confirmed that her cover is blown, the cliffhanger makes you want to believe that it has been. Everyone knows how hard it is to keep a secret when you’re used to being routine in your life. Sooner or later, without thinking or realizing it, you’re going to slip up and this is what happened to Deguchi. It’s a nice hook to make you want to see volume three and, again, now that the weird sci-fi aspect has been pushed aside, the story is starting to get a bit more enjoyable. However, while the story is a bit more enjoyable this time around, it doesn’t mean the story is absolutely fantastic. If you took away the uniqueness of the dual age aspect, the story would be fairy average or even sub-par at best. The age reversal pill is what’s keeping this interesting by offering a unique twist on a typical romance formula.
But it works. There was enough story and character development here to keep me interested enough to want to read volume three. I hope the story can continue to smooth itself out and improve. If so, then after a rocky start, this could end up being a pretty good series. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.
I’m still not so sure why the first volume of Idol Dreams didn’t grow on Josh. I fell in love with this series instantly – but that may have something to do with feeling closer to Deguchi. She’s trapped in an office, wears black all the time, doesn’t care much about makeup, and doesn’t have too many friends. This kind of sounds a bit like me! I can’t help but see a bit of myself in both 31-year-old Deguchi and her 15-year-old-counter part. It’s also understandable that Deguchi, boring and lonely as she is would jump at the idea of getting some time back to change her personality and trying new things. I know the pill thing is a bit hard to believe, but even with how absurd it is, I still love it! What I do find a bit difficult to stomach is Deguchi’s interactions with other teenagers when she has her teen form. It’s obvious a romance is developing between herself and Hibiki; however, how can the author possibly write that relationship into the story knowing that it’s going to crash and burn when Deguchi’s real identity is exposed? I suppose it could add some drama to the series, but I really enjoy this as a light-hearted story about a boring office employee looking to relive high school.
Hibiki is another interesting character – yes it’s annoying his parents are dead since it’s so common now, but he’s still a very developed character that I find charming even though I want to say he’s an ass. He calls Deguchi “ugly” yet he is devoted to making sure she learns how to dance and sing on stage. He keeps her around an awful lot for someone who thinks she’s ugly. Hibiki also encourages her a lot more than he should when she has to battle Yuko over a record deal. Its beyond obvious that this is a potential romance path.
This volume does end on a cliff-hanger, but I think the author set it up nicely. After Deguchi finds out about the new availablity of an old crush, she runs into him as her younger self. I thought this was really fun to read because there was a lot of build-up leading to her running into him again – although I certainly didn’t expect it in this way. I’m really excited to see where volume 3 takes us.
*This item was provided for review