Fifteen-year-old country girl Suzume Yosano has to move to Tokyo to live with her uncle due to her father's transfer. She bumps into a mysterious man who ends up taking her to her uncle's place after she gets lost. Turns out, Suzume will be seeing him a lot more often once she starts school because... he's her homeroom teacher?!
For those of you not interested in reading a rant or all the nitty gritty details, skip to the very bottom. I make a complete summary and offer if this manga is recommended or not. This review is spoiler free until I discuss the final segment (enjoyment level). With that being said…
PLOT (5/10—average…and that’s being generous)
The story is relatively simple. Country girl Suzume moves to the city for the first time to live with her uncle, thus leaving everything she was comfortable with behind. She gets hopelessly lost in the city, only to be rescued by Shishio, her uncle’s friend
and her soon-to-be homeroom teacher. Around the same time Suzume meets Mamura, a shy boy in her class who has a fear of getting too close to girls. Predictably, Suzume falls for the super young and handsome Shishio, while Mamura eventually falls for Suzume, thus leading to the formation of you classic love triangle. The story then gradually unfolds to resolve the love triangle issue and decide which boy Suzume should end up with. Nothing new, riddled with overdone clichés, yet presented in a refreshing enough manner so that the plot continues to draw you in. Average.
However, the plot DOES have some glaring problems. I cover them in my overall enjoyment of the show because I don’t want to give spoilers.
THE ART (10/10—drop dead gorgeous)
This manga is one of the few which I’ve come across with such lovely artwork. It’s simple yet elegant. The characters can have plain features while still looking captivating. Over time, the art actually continues to improve (not that I had many complaints to begin with). All in all, if your looking for a manga that is beautifully drawn, it’s hard to beat this one.
THE CHARACTERS (6.5/10—fine but needs improvement)
Let me just take the time to say that Suzume is one of the most refreshing main leads I’ve come across in a very, VERY long time (Trust me, I've read more shojo manga + romances than I can count). Her character is by far the best in this manga (7/10) while the others, although beautifully drawn, are only slightly above average (6/10). Now, why do I say this?
Suzume is refreshing because unlike the vast majority of shojo heroines, she isn’t a cry baby. In fact, she rarely cries, so when she does, it is very impactful on the readers. Another plus point is she uses her brain and tries to solve problems with logic…something which sadly can’t be said for the vast majority of female heroines. She isn’t over-the-top-pretty. In fact, she’s just average and is called plain on multiple occasions. Her personality is also kind of quirky. She loves to eat, run around, stare at stars, slaps people when they need it, and so on. In a nutshell, she’s an average girl like you or me, making her easy to relate to. However, she still isn’t great enough to be over-the-top-memorable and some of her actions ARE questionable. For example, how she claimed to be in love with Shishio and very quickly followed up being dumped by beginning to date Mamura. Either she didn’t love Shishio as much as she had claimed or she was using Mamura as an escape for her feelings towards Shishio. Both are not very appealing scenarios. Also, there is no real reason for the characters to fall in love. It just kinda...happens?
Next up, the other characters in the show primarily consist of Suzume’s school friends, her uncle, Mamura, Shishio and Shishio’s ex-girlfriend Tsubomi.
Suzume’s friends are interesting but they never really get developed as characters, with the exception of Yuyuka. It’s almost like they are just there for the sake of showing Suzume is not a loner. Mamura’s fear of girls touching him isn’t explained AT ALL until the very last chapter, though he is very cute and overall likable. Shishio felt nicely developed but his actions in the manga and his overall maturity as a “responsible adult” sometimes felt questionable. It would have been better if he truly sorted out his feelings for Suzume before rushing into a hasty break up. As for his ex-girlfriend and Suzume’s uncle, they played major roles in plot (or drama) progression, but there isn’t really too much to say regarding them. They were honestly just average and not in the story enough to be more likable characters.
OVERALL ENJOYMENT (3/10—devastation, mostly at the ending + the bonus chapter to be released in January)
I am going to discuss problems with the plot so BE WARNED. CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS.
When I first started reading this manga, despite the simplistic plot and overused clichés, I was immensely enjoying myself, to the point where I thought this manga might become one of my all-time favorite romances. I was so hyped to see them (suzume x shishio) kiss even once. However, things quickly took a turn for the worse when Shishio broke up with Suzume because of her uncle’s strong negatively towards their relationship (understandable enough). Following this incident, Suzume begins to date Mamura. I was upset about her dating someone else (even though I honestly don’t dislike Mamura) but kept reading because I expected Suzume and Shishio to eventually sort out their true feelings and get back together.
In fact, half way through the series, it began to felt like the author had completely switched to Mamura and Shishio was just out of the picture. Despite this, I still held onto the small hope that maybe the original couple I had subscribed myself to would miraculously return (the reason this manga caught my attention and I began reading it was because I wanted a good teacher-student romance). In fact, the ending of the second last chapter gave me insurmountable hope that they would reunite. I didn’t know at the time it WAS the second last chapter, and so, I was tricked into believed that Suzume and Shishio would get back together and then continue to slowly date + fall in love. (They hadn’t even kissed ONCE for crying out loud)
My hopes were crushed upon reading the final chapter.
Firstly, I’d like to point out that the ending of the manga felt abrupt. I honestly didn’t expect it to wrap up so quickly and was shocked to find out the final chapter had been translated. Secondly, there was far too much that felt unresolved. Shishio never gets to tell Suzume that the reason he lied about not liking her and broke up was because of her uncle’s pressure. Shishio simply apologizes for his past mistakes and confesses he truly loves her (it is shown Suzume is the first person that Shishio loved enough to chase after). Suzume rejects him, saying she already moved on even though she ditched Mamura and came dashing to Shishio’s side when she thought he was injured. The manga ends with Suzume returning to Mamura, she says she loves him, and it ends with suzume and Mamura kissing FOR THE FIRST TIME. No dating or challenges to face as a couple afterwards. No relationship progression beyond holding hands the entire manga with either candidate. ONE kiss after 12 volumes with the dude that wasn’t even the original focus of the manga.
As a member of the minority who was praying for Suzume and Shishio to get back together, it felt like the author had taken my own hopeful feelings and rewarding me for reading 12 volumes of her manga by slapped me in the face with them. The things is, I was already expecting Mamura to win so I was mentally preparing myself for the ending for several months now, but the feeling of having your OTP just completely shot down without even proper closure (Suzume never discovers her uncle’s meddling + she never kisses shishio even ONCE)…I have never in my entire life felt so disappointed, rejected, or shocked, nor did I expect the author to end things this way. To add salt to my wounds, I found the following announcement of a bonus chapter…
"In January a little extra chapter is going to come out in which it explains Sense’s [Shishio's] and Tsubomi’s relationship and how they GOT BACK TOGETHER. I heard some blogs reported that it will also involve Yuyuka. There is also a memorial book up for sale for HNR!”
Shishio learning from his break up with Tsubomi and moving forward was a MAJOR plot point (there was an entire arc dedicated to this) and it was also Shishio’s SINGLE moment of character development. And now I learn after being rejected by Suzume he gets back together with Tsubomi…
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!
It’s like the entire plot of the manga was just completely rendered USELESS and shishio’s entire character development had been reversed. What was the bloody point?!
The ONLY thing which prevented me from giving my enjoyment rating a zero or 1/10 is the fact that I was IN LOVE with this series when I first picked it up. Honestly, the plot is a bloody mess so I wanted to give it a 2-3/10 as well but I tried to not hate the main series for the final piece of mind-fuckery delivered by the bonus chapter.
-The art is drop dead gorgeous
-Suzume is a very likable lead who is NOT generic or a cry baby.
-Good, steady progression until roughly half way through the series
-Original pairing is tossed aside in a way that makes suzume x Shishio shippers feel worthless and underwhelmed.
-Half way through the manga the main pairing completely changes to suzume x Mamura
-Ending feels abrupt and not fully resolved
-Characters could be more fleshed out (especially Suzume’s friends)
-Bonus chapter renders the plot and Shishio’s character development completely useless.
RECOMMENDATION (yes/no): Yes, for those who don’t care too much about pairings and those who like “light” amounts of romance [BUT just know that there are better romances out there]. NOT recommended for people not into romance, for those who like “heavy” romance which progresses beyond just holding hands, for those specifically searching for a student x teacher romance, or for those with a tendency to get attached to first male interest introduced into a romance.
Similar manga (student x teacher) to fill the void: Sensei Kunshu is worth a shot :)
Falling in love has been likened many times to being on a rollercoaster—it has its ups, its downs, its twists and turns. But an amusement park ride always comes to an end eventually, then you're left to wait in a long line before you get the opportunity to ride again. That metaphor is strangely appropriate, especially for this manga. It's not just about falling in love the first time—it's about picking up the pieces when the first time doesn't work, and eventually learning how to fall in love again.
The synopsis is deceptively simplistic in that it reads like any other school,
slice of life shoujo manga you have ever seen. Suzume is a country bumpkin that moves to the city, and the mysterious man that helps her when she gets lost in the cement jungle happens to be her homeroom teacher. It would only sound more cliche if there was some romantic development between the two. Well, of course there is—its a romance manga, after all.
HnR is not bereft of any of the cliches that plague the shoujo genre, but it does avoid the gag-inducing pitfalls that a lot of them succumb to. However just because something avoids doing something common and boring doesn't inherently mean that it is good. What makes this series something of a gem is that it succeeds where many of its predecessors and peers have failed.
It has a compelling cast that encompasses even the most minor side characters. Almost everyone is multi-faceted and receives some level of development, even those more peripheral to the story. Shishio is an incredibly unique character in just how childish and immature given that he's a teacher, and just because he's an adult doesn't mean he's immune to making mistakes or poor decisions. If anything he exemplifies poor decision making, but that's part of being human. Suzume on the other hand is incredibly mature if not a bit clueless at times. The series is highly devoted to her development in learning what it means to love someone, because love is not something so simple as the butterflies fluttering around in your stomach when you see the person you like. Loving someone is making sacrifices, is being honest—so much more than she is initially prepared for.
Mamura, for his part, is an interesting foil to Shishio. He is not unflawed, and in fact spends the majority of the story learning how to be a more open person when he's initially so shut off from everyone else. Suzume opens his eyes to the rest of the world, and gradually he's able to be a little more honest with himself. He's not without his moments of childishness, but he matches those with moments of wisdom as well. Mamura is someone who is incredibly perceptive and observant, especially when it comes to Suzume.
In regards to the plot, we are presented with the trope of student-teacher but it's not dealt with as typically or flippantly, in fact it's incredibly realistic for a shoujo manga. Angst is not present in this story for the sake of angst, but because this is how real life works—this is what happens when two people enter a relationship when neither one of them are fully prepared for or aware of what it means to love someone when the rest of society would look down on you for it. In fact, that's never the only obstacle when you love someone. Your love also means the scrutiny of the people around you, the people who care about you and may be concerned about your relationship. The fact is, there aren't always happy endings to every love tale, most of them are bittersweet. We hurt, we learn, we move on. That is exactly the essence of this story—learning not to hang on to the past, learning that true happiness means moving forward.
The art for HnR is phenomenal, not just because it is beautiful and clean. But because every panel is expressively constructed, and each page has little tidbits in the background that give you deeper insight into the characters—all of whom are individually flawed with their own set of strengths. Even their designs are unique enough that you will not have any trouble differentiating between each character. It's clear that Yamamori-sensei went to great length to ensure each character was fleshed out in even minor ways. She is incredibly talented especially at the emotional scenes, where the dialogue and the panels so clearly convey much more emotion than what's given on the surface.
This has been a third revision for this review as I took some time after finishing the series to really contemplate its strengths, weaknesses, and how well it fulfilled its potential. A love triangle is not a popular trope, in fact it's something that most people generally tend to get annoyed at. It's overdone especially in shoujo, and so it's no surprise that many people will dislike this series because it utilizes that very cliche.
However, I contend that love triangles in other series feel contrived, superficial and serve only to drag out the plot and deliver unnecessary angst. This is not the purpose of this trope in HnR. It exists here as a integral part of the plot that serves not only to break the traditional mold of shoujo where the end pairing is obvious, but also to demonstrate an important point—moving on. Too many romance series focus on holding on to relationships when they only hurt you, whereas HnR focuses on moving on toward the future. It wasn't just a suspenseful device, although it certainly served the purpose of keeping us on pins and needles with bated breath 'til the very end, wondering who Suzume would truly end up with.
Having said all this and expressed why I am so satisfied and endorse this series so much, I feel it's only fair to admit that the end pairing was not the one I was hoping for in my heart of hearts, but it was the one that was necessary for this series to be as amazing as it is and for the characters to stay true to who they are. Yamamori has presented us with a realistic story of first love, how it comes with heartache and how you eventually learn to move on when that happens. And how you'll eventually understand what it means to be someone else's daytime shooting star.
Okay, for those of you out there who are still trying to make a decision whether to read this or not, let me tell you one thing; this shoujo is not what you think it is. At least for me, definitely not.
Right, now that that's said, let's proceed.
I have finished this manga, and there really is nothing very unique about it. Also, the title 'Daytime Shooting Star' has little to do with the actual story itself. The plot chosen is actually a bit too cliche in my opinion, the forbidden love between the student and teacher, only that the author, Yamamori Mika-sensei, successfully made it
different by adding a few tweaks on it, but then in the end, there still isn't anything much to say.
The story started off pretty good in the first few chapters. It tells the reader about Suzume, a country girl moving to the city where she made some good friends and experienced a few times heartbreaks. I can't say much about the story without spoiling it, but the manga is really good in the beginning. It does not only focus on the love triangle between Suzume and her teacher, Shishio, and her classmate, Mamura.
Everything was nicely paced, until later at the middle, where it kind of gives off the feeling that it's rushed.
One thing that might appeal you to read this manga though, might be the pretty and clean art. Yamamori Mika-sensei's drawing style changes from the first few chapters until the end. You could clearly see the changes, but it's not a bad thing. She gets better at drawing the characters, and at some point, managed to make me feel frustrated out of trying to decide who between the two main love interests, and the rest of the characters, looks better in terms of appearance.
Although the characters may seem beautiful, the main characters do lack some character development. This, in my opinion, resulted in the somehow.. unrealistic (due to the lack of a better word) ending of the manga. Besides that though, the main characters; Suzume, Shishio and Mamura have nothing too special about them.
What made this manga different from other shoujo mangas out there may be the fact that Suzume is a strong girl who doesn't cry all the time. There is also none of those 'flowery' scenes that normally appear in shoujo. And Suzume has her own flaws, like the rest of the characters. Even though she's not perfect, messes up and falls, she still has the courage to get back up and try her best.
Shishio and Mamura are both also good characters. However, there is so little character development with both of them. Shishio let what happened to him and his previous lover happen again, and Mamura, although he did change, he lacks a good background. Not only that, Mamura lacks a good enough background story to explain his misogynist behavior. Since he was the main focus for a love interest in the beginning of the manga, Shishio had much more chemistry when compared to Mamura. Some scenes in the manga may be a bit awkward due to the lack of development and chemistry between the characters.
I really enjoyed reading the first few chapters of HnR, but in the middle, I kind of lost the 'feeling' and everything started to crumble for me. Here, let me make it clear for you; I am not one of those hardcore shippers and I am neutral at this so I am perfectly fine with what Suzume decides to do and etc, as long as it has a good chemistry to it. HnR is the first shoujo manga that I read after a long time trying to avoid the genre, since the art and characters are quite nice, I'd give an overall rating of HnR a 7/10. But some scenes are just unrealistic and I have a very high expectation on this manga. Sadly, it was not satisfying enough. Looks like I'll have to resign from that genre again for some time.
How do I start talking about this particular manga? It starts out pretty typical – Suzume’s parents are transferring out of the country and she’s heading straight to her uncle’s place in the big city. When she arrives, she tries to get to her uncle’s place by herself and ends up getting lost because she has no sense of direction. There’s a kind man who helps her find her way and soon, Suzume finds out that the kind man is her homeroom teacher!
And of course, she falls in love with him. And of course, there’s a rival for the teacher. And of course there’s
misunderstandings. And of course she gains friends from misunderstandings.
The story is pretty typical but the difference from most shoujo involving a potential affair between student and teacher is that both the main characters and other characters are actually active and try to get their goals instead of relying solely on the heroine who’s still muddling over her feelings about her teacher for most of the chapters.
I really liked it, honestly. I really could relate to the main character because she’s flawed. She’s absolutely not perfect and makes plenty of mistakes in the course of the story. She’s not also painted as someone who’s completely awful either. There’s a good balance of both and you can see why people gravitated to her even back in her old country school – that’s what makes a good heroine. She doesn’t have to be perfect just… relatable and she has to have that little charm that draws people.
The thing about this heroine though is that she is obsessed with seeing stars during the day. The story goes is when she was younger, she got lost. She looked up at the sky, while it’s still light, and saw a shooting star. And that’s extremely rare in itself. Because of this obsession, her head is in the clouds and often says things without thinking.
It’s hard to really describe Suzume’s charm. Even the characters can’t explain it but it’s one of those things that I’ve naturally accepted.
Now let’s talk about the beaus.
The teacher, Satsuki Shishio, is charming and handsome, of course and is really a big dork. He collects manga but still is the idol of the school and the original star in Suzume’s eyes. Throughout the story, you can see he genuinely cares about “Chun-chun”, the nickname he gave to Suzume when he first met her, but there’s the obvious problems: He’s a teacher and she’s a student.
Another thing as well is that he had a breakup with another lady – it didn’t work because she always traveled and couldn’t really be tied down to one place. As he starts to spend more time with Suzume, though, he starts to slowly cross the line the more he spends time with her – the harder it is for Suzume to stop her feelings.
Do I like him? Personally, yeah – he seems like a very nice guy although he tends to hide his feelings a lot. But do I like him with Suzume? Well, I’ll talk about that in a bit.
For Daiki Mamura, the other guy, is a completely different matter. He’s seated with Suzume in their first year together and he has to put up with her flighty attitude. Naturally, they become friends because of Suzume’s insistence and apparently, he doesn’t like girls.
From what I gather, there are nothing but boys in his family, him, his little bother, and his father. Apparently, his mother had cheated on his father, consequently divorced, and never bothered to contact her sons again. I can understand his reasoning for it. It’s not a good situation, either way.
Do I like him? Personally, he’s okay. I imagine that I would need to take him in little doses as he opens up more. Do I like him with Suzume? Well!
Despite the fact that the story is very typical, there is a certain charm to it. Suzume does start to grow up and tries different things (like makeup, being more girly, and being shy when she’s so used to being open) and have varying results. The art is really nice but I kind of feel the two main beaus should have been easier to tell apart.
I won’t say it’s the same face – it’s more of the same hair. Sometimes it’d go into random flashbacks or points of view and it’s a little confusing on who we’re trying to focus because it seems that almost all the guys have the same hair. The girls are clearly defined by their own personalities and history and I really do appreciate that! I just wish there was just as much variety as the girls.
But that’s a nitpick.
The real issue I have is that the males aren’t as developed as they should have been. Granted, Daiki is done fairly well and I really shouldn’t expect a miracle with his type of character. I think the thing I’m more annoyed by is the teacher’s character development. Despite the obvious that Suzume is way underage, his past girlfriend was added for unnecessary angst and honestly something that really shouldn’t have been brought up.
The ex-girlfriend was a little annoying and it felt that the only people who actually cared about things like the law was the uncle and Daiki (but he only cared because it involved Suzume). I get the author’s trying to get in with that angst that it’s forbidden and that he has man pain from a past relationship. Perhaps if the girlfriend was written a little better and if his issue with the past relationship was written and planned better (mostly because it seemed like it was added in last minute as filler), it wouldn’t feel like she’s just a random character at all.
Cause that’s what it boils down. If there’s a potential threat of a new lover, or threat of an ex returning, it actually needs to feel that way. There needs to have that feeling of “Oh, wow, they have history with one another!” There needs to have the actual feeling of danger between the couple’s relationship.
Now, which guy actually was better for Suzume?
This is the manga that actually does ask that question for us in a much better way than just being completely forward about it. Both male characters get enough screen time, so to speak, to actually be able make a fair judgement.
Satsuki is pretty forward with how he is and actually has a lot more demands than one would expect from an adult man. And Suzume is only a teenager. Would she be able to fulfill his needs? The short answer: no.
The long answer: Satsuki is very needy and very clingy. He has a problem with being able to let go and has difficulty with not knowing where the line is. He tends to flirt with Suzume a lot during the manga, especially when you know he knows she loves him. He tends to be very flightly and can’t really seem to want to settle (oddly enough, that’s the problem he had with his ex) down while Suzume is really simple, for right now, and doesn’t have a lot of needs.
I won’t say Suzume isn’t mature enough for him, but that’s not exactly wrong either. I’m going to say that he’s not mature enough for her. He’s still very much into flings and doesn’t seem to care where the line is if there is one. Suzume needs a rock in her life that she can always turn to and who can help encourage her being the best. And someone who’s not shy enough to tell her no.
Not only that, any time Suzume is on a date with Satsuki, she’s always so miserable. She always worries about him and he really doesn’t seem to give her a passing thought. Once again, she needs a rock. She needs someone who can assure her of her raging feelings and bring her back to Earth. All Satsuki does is just shrugs his shoulders and go, “Okay.”
And that’s why I didn’t really like them together.
On the other hand, Daiki is actually the ideal for Suzume because Suzume is really slow and she hasn’t had a lot of life experience but neither does Daiki. He is the rock that she needs, especially when they’re still growing up. Because he’s quiet, he listens. He becomes more aware of Suzume and why she reacts the way she does. He caters to her and he does genuinely cares about her. Not to say Satsuki didn’t – but as a man, he doesn’t seem like he’s not grounded on Earth enough to comfort her, should she ever come to him.
Don’t get me wrong – Daiki still has plenty of ways to go before anyone can call him the perfect man. But I think that’s the charm of Hirunaka no Ryuusei. It’s not perfect and nobody is perfect but it’s those imperfections that makes it charming. It’s really not that different from any shoujo manga when you get to the bare bones – but because the author allowed her characters to flesh themselves out naturally, therein lies the charm.
And you know, something like this is just about as rare as a daytime shooting star.