Title: Hirunaka no Ryuusei
Alternate Titles: ひるなかの流星, 한낮의 유성, Daytime Shooting Star, 昼行闪耀的流星, 白晝的流星, الشهاب الصباحي
Author & Artist: Yamamori Mika
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Slice of Life
Volumes: 12 (Complete)
15-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?! All information come from Manga Updates. This blog post will contain spoilers please read after the cut if you’ve already read the manga.
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.