Idol Dreams Volume 4
Idol Dreams is coming back! The last installment came out (in English) just about a year ago, and volume 4 is due out November 7. (It can be ordered now through your local comic shop with Diamond code SEP17 2079.) It’s the story of a lonely, reserved office worker who magically becomes a 15-year-old celebrity to get a second chance at romance.
Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for the series doesn’t seem to have returned. As I said in my review of volume 3, I like the adult sections more than the teen ones, and this volume mostly focuses on the young Chikage. She’s decided to date Ru, another teen idol, as her younger self, without realizing that that’s a) deceptive and b) creepy.
That’s far from the only head-scratching choice by author Arina Tanemura. To avoid crowds of fans, when the two teens go on a date, the boy decides to dress as his twin sister. Who’s acting as a threat/competitor to Chikage. At a certain point, I stopped following the story and started counting shojo manga cliches, like their career managers not wanting them to date or lying to someone “for their own good” or one of the couple working themselves too hard to satisfy the fans and managers.
There’s a page of fairly decent dating advice that Chikage gets from a cute co-worker, although it’s undercut by some surprisingly deep self-loathing that seemed out of keeping with the rest of the tone of the volume. My favorite part of the book was seeing Chikage handling a crisis at her adult job, involving a misleading author, although it’s ultimately simplified down into a “how can I juggle both lives” incident. Before then, though, it’s a pleasure seeing her competent at something.
I also found the art lacking a bit, with too many generic faces without enough grounding in space. The pages can be sparse. Combined with the familiar plot points, I found this volume disappointing. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)