Review: Kagerou Daze (Vol 3)

(art by Sidu)

For general information on this series: Kagerou Daze entry

This review is for the third volume of Kagerou Daze by Jin (Shizen no Teki-P), featuring art by Sidu. The English edition was released by Yen Press in January 2016. In July 2017, the seventh volume will release in English, catching the series up to Japan.

Vol 3 — The Children Reason

Like the previous two volumes, Kagerou Daze: The Children Reason tells two stories. Similar to volume 2 specifically, the A story of this one follows unfamiliar characters at some past time, while the B story continues the present-time adventure/misadventure of the Mekakshi-dan gang. And over the course of the volume, we get a few more pieces of the puzzle that is the overarching storyline of Kagerou Daze as a whole.

Kagerou Daze is a series I recommend in general, but some volumes (or more specifically, some stories) are better than others. In this case, I did not really enjoy the A story of volume 3, which follows two new characters: a boy named Hibiya, and a girl named Hiyori. These two children, who I’m guessing are around 10-12 years old, are tough to like. Hibiya is both bratty and spineless, and his obsessive crush on Hiyori is… somewhere between bizarre and uncomfortable. Meanwhile Hiyori is about as self-absorbed as an ice queen-in-training can get, and her valley girl dialogue (like, um, yeah) grew tiresome quickly.

Needing someone close-at-hand to verbally abuse, Hiyori enlists Hibiya in departing the countryside with her for a short summer vacation in the big city of Tokyo. There they meet Konoha--a mysterious character whom readers of volume 2 will be aware of, but not exactly be familiar with. The volume becomes more interesting at this point, once connections with the central Kagerou Daze plot are unveiled.

The B story for volume 3 has the advantage of featuring the more engaging ensemble cast--but with only half of a short book to work with, we don’t learn a lot more about any of them in particular. My favorite scene of this volume is probably a short exchange between the former shut-in Shintaro and the morally-dubious Kano, but the dialogue does little more than hint at vague (but presumably tragic) events of the past. I keep waiting for the big explanation behind certain plot points, but the revelations continue to be delivered on a drip-feed basis.

Of course, more volumes are already out, so I only have myself to blame for not keeping up, ha ha. I plan to read more, so it’s just a matter of finding the time. Despite not liking some of the characters, I still found this volume fun to read, thanks to its informal yet colorful prose. Lines such as “It sounded like the shell-shocked drone of a boy who had Seen Things” and “I couldn’t guess why he so valiantly fought against Mr. Sandman a second ago” make for an entertaining read.

Cho’s Rating: Maybe Recommended

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