Lesley Aeschliman

Manga Review: Idol Dreams Volume 2

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Idol Dreams Volume 2 follows a 31-year-old office worker named Chikage Deguchi who believes she’s missed her chances at love and success. But when an old high school friend has her try an experimental drug that allows her to be 15 years old again until the effects wear off, she takes on the name of Akari and inadvertently stumbles into the world of teen idols.

Idol Dreams Volume 2

Idol Dreams Volume 2

Written by: Arina Tanemura
Publisher: Hakusensha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 1, 2016

Volume 2 provides some backstory for Chikage and Tokita, which explains how they became friends when they went to school together. I appreciated how Tokita’s flashback helped to explain why Tokita feels about Chikage the way he does, and it also allowed me to know a little more about him as a character. I find it interesting how the roles and personalities of these two characters seemed to have become reversed now that they’re adults.

This volume also provides some character development for Hibiki, the teen idol that Chikage works with when she’s 15-year-old Akari. Tanemura seems to be working at developing a love triangle here, which is made more complicated by the fact that Tokita already has a girlfriend and the fact that Chikage is actually 31 years old. That age difference makes a relationship between Chikage (as Akari) and Hibiki rather difficult, and I have a feeling Hibiki wouldn’t be interested if he learned that Akari was actually a 31-year-old who became younger due to an experimental drug. There’s also Haru, Chikage’s crush from high school, who’s also in the picture. Chikage has a couple of chance meetings with Haru in Volume 2, with the second one potentially having dire consequences for her idol career.

But as Akari, Chikage finds herself being thrust into a competition with another aspiring idol, with the winner getting Hibiki to become their music producer. I thought that Tanemura did a good job dividing the story of Volume 2 between Chikage and Akari, and this allowed both of Chikage’s personas to progress in their respective story arcs. I also liked seeing how Akari doesn’t act like a typical 15-year-old, since in that persona, she’s an adult woman in a teenager’s body. This reminds me a lot of how Conan Edogawa doesn’t act like a typical little boy since he’s actually a teenager who was shrunk down to his younger self with an experimental drug. I wonder if perhaps this element of the Case Closed series might have helped inspire the basic premise for Idol Dreams.

After reading two volumes of this series, I have to say that Tanemura’s “magical girl manga for adults” actually works, and can be enjoyed by both the typical teen shojo manga reader and by adults who can relate with Chikage and her adult world.

When it comes to the art, I really like how Tanemura uses very different designs between Chikage and Akari. While Akari looks like Chikage did when she was 15, this drastic change in look helps to deceive people who wouldn’t have known Chikage when she was younger. It also helps the reader to differentiate between the two personas.

The continuation of the story in Idol Dreams Volume 2 should satisfy readers who enjoyed the previous volume of the series. It also sets up a fantastic climax at the end that will make readers want to pick up the next volume in order to find out what will happen next.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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