Title: Dengeki Daisy (Electric Shock Daisy)
Author: Kyousuke Motomi
Nutshell: Teru has just lost her elder brother who was her guardian and confidant. He leaves her a cell phone on which she receives mysterious, encouraging emails from DAISY, a person who Teru’s brother tasked with protecting her after his death. DAISY becomes her confidant, the only person with whom she shares her heart.
Meanwhile, due to an accident, Teru ends up working for the school janitor. Somewhat of a rebel and a mystery man, Teru finds herself drawn to him. But he behaves oddly toward her, and it becomes clear he’s hiding a powerful secret about her brother.
Read-alikes: Fruits Basket. Perhaps Kare Kano.
Ramblings: I don’t read a lot of manga (I can name every series I’ve ever finished, and most of the ones I’ve tasted.) and I am very unlikely to recommend much manga on this blog. When I read manga it’s usually for the complete fluff of it. It’s got less bulk than cotton candy, and is just as nutritious. But this manga is not as fluffy as they usually are.
Another point in this manga’s favor is that it’s fairly short, only 16 volumes. (Don’t look at me like that. Ranma ½ is over 40 volumes, Inuyasha is in the hundreds, and Naruto I think is still being written.)
There are a few manga-isms you will still have to forgive. The hacking is a bit bizarre, although it’s mostly vague. And it’s totally normal for a group of computer programmers to quit their jobs and become teachers at their team lead’s little sister’s school to keep an eye on her, right?
One of the hallmarks of manga (especially shojo, if that term means anything to you) is that most of it is an excuse to put the female character into emotionally charged and compromising situations with various members of the male cast. This manga is no exception, except (except for the exception!) that every emotional charged situation arises out of the nature of the characters. There is no wildly unpredictable guy who exists in order to send very mixed messages. There is no dude with a vaguely tortured past who is OMG SO EMO. There is Tasuku, who has a secret past, yes, but it’s actual, tangible bad stuff that he did, and if he’s a little hot-and-cold it’s because he’s trying to do the right thing regardless of his feelings. (A guy trying to be honorable? May I have more please?)
So yes. What I like most about this manga is that it’s a romance between two people who 1. Actually try to care for each other rather than just lusting; 2. Are mature and think about the consequences of their actions; and C. Do sensible things like calling for help when confronted with the bad guy! (Seriously, people.)