I found Idol Dreams volume one by Arina Tanemura while on the hunt for manga in my local comic book store. The purple and white cover drew my attention and the synopsis made me curious. I was not in the mood for anything too serious nor long-running and after a quick Google search, I saw that there were not too many volumes. So I decided to adopt the manga and bring it home. I finished it in the backseat on our drive home.
Chikage Deguchi is a standard 31-year-old office worker looking forward to her high-school reunion and meeting up with her old friends and possibly reuniting with her first love and finally confessing that she has always loved him. Upon arriving at the reunion she immediately recognises and gets chatting with Tokita whom she had not seen in a long time. Not long afterwards Haru, her first crush and love arrives. Too shy to talk to him just yet she mingles with her other classmates. However, it is quickly revealed to the whole class that she has never had a boyfriend and that she is still a virgin. Haru laughs at the announcement. Mortified she quickly leaves and drowns her sorrows with a can of beer.
In the morning feeling hungover she overhears her colleagues mocking her. Distressed she sees Haru walking quite intimately with a woman from the class reunion. She feels that she has no reason to go on when she looks at her life. Feeling like a failure she decides it is better to just drown herself.
Thankfully Tokita sees her and stops her. After hearing that she wishes she could go back to when she was younger he offers her another choice. He explains that his company has developed a drug that can restore one’s youth, returning one’s body to 15 years in the past. Gladly accepting the risk of an untested drug she takes it and finds herself once again 15-years-old.
Now what will Tokita do upon coming face to face with his first love once again and how will Chikage change now that she has the chance to re-experience her youth for a few hours a day?
I was honestly surprised at how well the interaction between the characters as well as the individual feelings of looking back on once youth was portrayed.
Chikage is a successful woman in her own right, even if she had been awkward and failed at grasping her first opportunity for love. She works hard and is earnest and proud of her work. Yet she jumped at the chance to do over her past. She was unsatisfied with her current self and wanted the chance to change. She has regrets over how she handled Haru’s confession during graduation and has held onto her lingering feelings for him. As a 15-year-old she is given a brand new opportunity and after a while decides to really give it a go.
Hearing that Chikage has a suicide note in her bag that will help Tokita out if the experimental drug kills her, he tries to stop her from taking the drug but is too late. Feeling both guilt and relief that she is okay he is also faced with his feelings from the past. Seeing his first love as he remembers her and reconnecting with her has started to bring back memories and feelings, even if he loves his girlfriend. When confronted with her feelings for Haru he feels envious that he did not have the courage to tell her of his feelings in the past. Knowing of her desire to change and of her regrets, he encourages her to accept the offer to become an idol.
The battle and balance of past regrets, memories and emotions with the current lives and circumstances was really good and entertaining. The blending of the two was illustrated quite well with the reconnecting and reestablishment of the friendship between Tokita and Chikage. The dialogue and art all beautifully leant itself to the setting of these developing situations.
With the younger ‘second-chance’ alter ego, Akari, we get to see Chikage as she once was and as she wishes to be. Vibrant, warm and determined to make use of every opportunity. However, even her path forward has a connection to her past. Her co-star is a prodigy who happens to look like Haru when they were younger. Due to a random set of events, she also ends up being trained by Hibiki to sing and dance to a song that he has written. While doing her best she also starts to influence those around her, like Ru, Hibiki’s bandmate.
While I am on board and looking forward to seeing how she manages to develop, I am cautious of the plot development with the actual youths she is now involved with. That, and I am worried about Tokita becoming too involved with the ‘past’.
I am curious what the future holds for Chikage and so many characters that we have been introduced to in this volume. I am glad that I already have volume two.
Have you read the manga, Idol Dreams?