Momo Kisaragi is always the centre of attention wherever she goes, and not in a good way! After an encounter with a group called the Mekakushi-dan, she learns that she has the power to unwittingly draw attention to herself. Will Momo be able learn how to control her power in time to escape a dangerous hostage situation? The story of Momo and Shintaro continues in the manga adaption of Kagerou Daze, the series which inspired Mekakucity Actors.
After their chance encounter, Momo and the rest of the Mekakushi-dan head to the electronics store to buy Momo a new phone but are quickly thrust into the same hostage situation Shintaro was mysteriously able to escape in the previous volume. After using their powers to escape, Ene and the Mekakushi-dan finally get to head to the amusement park for their first mission.
In my review of the previous volume I had complained that Shintaro’s perspective of the hostage situation cut out at the climax of that sequence and while I still feel it could have been done much better, this volume managed to make up for it pretty well in its first half. I liked that Momo’s perspective of the hostage situation managed to creatively utilize the Mekakushi-dan’s powers in a relevant manner, turning this into a serviceable action sequence. I’m hopeful that this will be a good starting point for way their powers could be used in future action scenes, and the Mekakushi-dan’s escape from the hostage takers was exciting from that perspective.
I’m not completely sure what genre Kagerou Daze is attempting to be right now because it completely eschews action in the second half of this volume in favour of following the Mekakushi-dan’s trip to an amusement park. However, this comedic turn was actually surprisingly hilarious, helping to establish Shintaro’s character while delivering plenty of laughs. It certainly didn’t hurt that Shintaro’s entertainingly awkward and cynical narration makes a triumphant return in the second half of the volume of this volume, infusing a welcome dose of personality into what otherwise would have been a fairly bland volume. While watching Shintaro hem and haw about riding the roller coaster didn’t do the main plotline any favours, I still found this unreservedly enjoyable and there were a number of scenes that really made me laugh.
Mahiro Satou’s art work also continues to be an enjoyable part of this series, with his work portraying character expressions standing out in this volume. These are utilized especially well for comedic effect and went a long way towards making this volume as funny as it was. Action scenes are also well drawn and appropriately stylized, and while the backgrounds are pretty plain, the excellent rendition of the characters outweighs this and makes the art a plus overall in my book.
It’s really not a good thing that I breathed a sigh of relief at a change in main characters, but I can’t deny how happy I was to finally get away from Momo being the central character. While she was smartly utilized in the climax of the hostage scene, her narration is still exceedingly bland and devoid of personality aside from her complaints about how awkward her brother is. This extends to the rest of the Mekakushi-dan as well, as they still feel like a collection of forgettable tropes. It’s really hard not to feel as though this series becomes markedly weaker any time the focus is away from Shintaro and Ene as the rest of the characters range from grating to forgettable, never really receiving any meaningful character development.
While the comedic scenes worked extraordinarily well in getting me to relate to Shintaro and Ene as characters, it feels like Kagerou Daze still doesn’t know what it wants to be. The main plotline is completely eschewed in the second half of this volume in favour of comedic escapades and while this was enjoyable, it really doesn’t bode well for the status of this series that the powers of its characters feel mostly inconsequential considering how much the characters make reference to them. If Kagerou Daze wants to be more than just a mediocre action series sprinkled with dashes of comedy, it’s going to need to work a lot harder than it did in this volume to get readers to care about its characters and their powers more.
Kagerou Daze hasn’t proven to be anything more than a solidly mediocre action-series, but when it embraces its comedic side more heavily as it did in this volume, it becomes a much more enjoyable series. I get the distinct sense the Satou doing the best job possible considering how dry the source material is, doing a great job making the series funnier. While it didn’t do anything in terms of advancing the main plot aside from a late tease for the next arc, I still found this volume to be an enjoyable conclusion to the first story arc as well as a pleasingly hilarious read in its second half despite its glaring problems.
Kagerou Daze Vol. 2 was published by Yen Press on July 21st, 2015. Drawn by Mahiro Satou and based on the original story created by Jin (Shizen No Teri-P), the series is currently ongoing in Media Blasters’ Monthly Comic Gene. Volume 3 will be published in English on October 27th, 2015.
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*Copy provided by publisher for Taykobon.
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