Idol Dreams Vol. 5 Review

Title: Idol Dreams Vol. 5
Author: Arina Tanemura
Publisher: Viz Media
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 176
Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance
Publication Date: November 6, 2018

The Story

Another year has passed since the previous volume of Idol Dreams. I can’t believe it’s actually been that long! The fifth volume takes a bit of a detour from Deguchi’s singing career and focuses on Hanami, Tokita, and Deguchi’s backstory and current relationship. Before getting to that, we did wrap up the CD contest from the previous volume. Yuko and Deguchi both gave their performances; however, Deguchi had a tougher time since someone tried to sabotage her stage outfit. In the end, Deguchi ended up winning after Yuko admitted that it was her manager that tried to sabotage her. Her withdrawal didn’t mean anything because Deguchi still ended up selling more CDs than Yuko!

After the drug wears off and Deguchi returns to being 31, she’s walking with Tokita when the two of them spot Tokita’s girlfriend Hanami with another man! The shock drives the two of them apart and even causes Deguchi to break her usual character, scolding and even hitting Hanami! Here, we are treated to Tokita and Hanami’s backstory. Feeling a bit guilty for scolding Hanami, Deguchi takes it upon herself to see if she can get the two of them back together.

After the ordeal blows over (I’ll save the results for those who want to read it!), Deguchi goes back to her younger self and is charged with writing a song. She’s having trouble coming up with the lyrics and just when she gets advice from Hibiki, he up and disappears!

While I do appreciate backstories, I think this one dragged on a little too long. Tanemura-san kept driving the same point home over and over again to where it felt like a broken record. By the time I was halfway through their backstory, I felt like I had read enough. If she had shortened the backstory and made it more to-the-point, I think it would have worked a lot better. This would have given her extra space to focus on the contest as the outcome seemed rather sudden and wasn’t deeply explored as much as I would have liked.

Characters

As I mentioned before, the majority of this volume focused on Tokita and Hanami with a few splashes of Deguchi thrown in.

Tokita admits to himself that he’s loved Deguchi; however, he came to love Hanami after they got together at a mixer (Why does this sound like the beginning to Domestic na Kanojo?). While the two avoided each other, Tokita didn’t want to give up as he saw some interest there. After Hanami was almost assaulted by a random man, Tokita leaped in and saved the day and that was the beginning of their relationship.

On Hamani’s side of things, she wasn’t the prettiest girl back in school and she was often treated differently because of her looks. Tokita became the first person to take notice of her and call her cute, so she did everything in her power to make herself beautiful for him and him alone. Despite this, she came across an old photograph where she sensed that he was in love with Deguchi… so just like any rationally-thinking woman, she decided to cheat on Tokita with several men to see if she really loved him and vice versa.

Because that’s smart and everything…

The fact that she blames Deguchi does have some merit to it though. Both Deguchi and Tokita are in love with each other but they just can’t bring themselves to say it to one another. In fact, it took a LOT of willpower from Deguchi to help bring a conclusion to this quarrel… a conclusion that I didn’t really expect to see but we got it nevertheless. The ending to that story arc really helped Deguchi mature a bit more as a character but it also fleshed out two supporting characters at the same time. In that sense, it was a well-constructed build for all three of them but it was just way too drawn out. I felt like the point and/or the conclusion could have happened a lot sooner and still maintained the same impact.

Final Thoughts

This is two volumes in a row where Tanemura-san has dedicated the majority of a volume to character development. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think it does disrupt the flow of the story some. I’m all for developing characters but I think they need to be paced out a bit better. Anonymous Noise actually does a great job with balancing the progression of the story while developing its characters. Here with Idol Dreams, it feels like either the story or the development flip-flop in both focus and importance and that is pretty jarring to the overall flow of things.

With the way this volume ended; however, I have a feeling we’re going to find out where Hibiki went and then we’ll go into his backstory a bit more. I just hope this isn’t a formula that the manga is going to use going forward. I really hope it finds a way to balance itself out some because the story is still really interesting. Rarely do you see a romance series showcase two romance stories at different age points with the same exact character. It’s a noble concept that I don’t want to see go to waste due to bad pacing.

Until next year… maybe.

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This item was provided for review by Viz Media

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.