The latest English language volume of Mika Yamamori’s shojo manga, Daytime Shooting Star, will be published later this year, and soon we will find out who its female lead, Suzume, ends up with.
Daytime Shooting Star is about a countryside girl named Suzume Yosano who moves to Tokyo to live with her uncle, Yukichi. While adjusting to her new life, Suzume befriends a boy named Daiki Mamura and develops a crush on her homeroom teacher, Satsuki Shishio. Readers are torn between Suzume’s two potential partners, Daiki Mamura and Satsuki Shishio, as both show their love and compatibility with her. With that in mind, let’s take a look at both male protagonists and see who is the rightful soul mate for Suzume.
Shishio’s interaction with Suzume fluctuates between a teacher and a lover. Shishio was familiar with Suzume before the two became teacher and student as he’s a frequent customer at her uncle’s cafe and so, he gives her special treatment in and out of school. For example, while at school, Shishio advises Suzume about making friends, even though he doesn’t need to. All his efforts are about him looking after his students. Yet, over time, Shishio’s actions begin to come from his love and desire for Suzume as he invites her on dates to the shrine and the aquarium.
Unfortunately, Suzume is unable to detect whether or not Shishio’s feelings are sincere. For example, when Suzume gets lost in the forest, Shishio searches for her as a good teacher should, but his excessive care for Suzume suggests a more loving side to him. As a result, Suzume becomes confused as to whether this is romantic love or not. To make matters more complicated, due to Shishio’s position as a teacher, he forces a wall between them. The two are unable to openly communicate their feelings for one another nor establish a clear definition for their relationship. Their lack of communication ultimately becomes the main factor as to why their relationship never comes to fruition.
At first glance, the separation between Suzume and Shishio makes them appear to be star-crossed lovers; destined to be together, but outside forces prevent them from doing so. However, Suzume and Shishio shouldn’t be considered soul mates. A “soul mate” is someone with whom you have a deep and natural connection, whether as a lover or a close friend. Suzume and Shishio’s relationship doesn’t fit into this idea because their relationship didn’t flow organically. Shishio and Suzume don’t have open communication with one another because of the teacher and student barrier. As a result, they made assumptions about each other rather than talking these issues out as romantic partners.
Also, Suzume’s feelings for Shishio appears to be more of a “first love” infatuation as opposed to true romance, which is evident from always asking her friend Yuyuka Nekota for romance advice due to her inexperience. Thus, these issues make their relationship look like “puppy love” as opposed to true soul mates.
If Suzume’s feelings for Shishio are just a crush, how do we define Mamura and Suzume’s relationship, then? Mamura, a fellow classmate of hers, avoids any interaction with girls his age due to past trauma. Yet, when Suzume insists on being his friend, Mamura slowly opens up to her and eventually falls for her. Mamura subtly shows his feelings towards Suzume first by being a supportive friend. When Shishio is unable to spend time with Suzume during Christmas, Mamura is there to wish her a happy birthday and give her his muffler as a present. Whenever Suzume gets heartbroken by Shishio, Mamura is always there to comfort her as a friend.
Mamura and Suzume’s relationship is a "soul mate" one because of how organically their relationship flourishes as friends and then potential romantic partners. Mamura doesn’t pressure her to be in a relationship with him, but he makes himself available to her. He wants to make Suzume happy, which Shishio wasn’t able to do due to the teacher-student barrier.
Furthermore, Mamura shows empathy towards Suzume whenever she is heartbroken. He understands Suzume’s unrequited feelings for Shishio since Suzume doesn’t see his feelings for her. He even offers himself as a replacement for Shishio to help her move on. Mamura’s feelings for Suzume are genuine -- his love for her is motivated by his desire to protect and care for Suzume’s wellbeing. Therefore, Mamura is a true soul mate for her rather than Shishio.