Rummanah Aasi

 Love is already hard enough, but it becomes an unnavigable maze for unassuming high school student Taichi Ichinose and his shy classmate Futaba Kuze when they begin to fall for each other after their same-sex best friends have already fallen for them.

Review: Blue Flag is a relatively short manga series with a total of eight volumes. This manga is much more of a slice of life rather than a shoujo/romance, although readers may be immediately drawn to it for its love quadrangle. 
  Blue Flag is centered around four teenagers as they navigate through high school, their identity and their relationships. Despite having a love quadrangle in the story, the manga series is surprisingly low on the angst and melodrama. Kaito is much more interested in focusing on how our choices shape our identities, which caught my attention and drew me to this manga. All four characters are flushed out in the series and at times surprised me as they went beyond their cookie cutter box such as the jock, the awkward nerd, the ice queen, and the cute ditsy girl. Each character is frustrated with their label and want to become someone else, which is highly relateable and yet coming to this realization at a young age is actually quite profound. 
  While there are romantic elements in the series, they are downplayed. I think readers who are true romance fans will be a little disappointed in this series. Though two characters fall within the LGBTQ+ umbrella, the exact words are never actually uttered by the characters but inferred within context of the story. I am not sure if this choice is indicative on how sexuality is addressed in Japan or the creator's choice. I did love the character development and how the characters interacted with one another, especially during the vulnerable moments when they quietly voiced their doubts and fears. The silent panels and the zoom close up into the characters' facial features during these moments are exquisite. The first seven volumes of the manga flow naturally and remain consistent in terms of theme and character development.The final volume, however, was my least favorite and felt rushed with huge, confusing time jumps, and an underdeveloped ending which really hindered my enjoyment of the series. Overall, I mostly enjoyed this series and I think this is a good pick for manga readers who are drawn to character driven and slice of life stories.

Rating: 3.5 stars for the entire series

Words of Caution: There is mention of sexual abuse from a secondary character, partial nudity in a shower scene, and suggestive poses of female characters in negligee. Recommended for Grades 9 and up. 

If you like this book try: Boys Run the Riot by Keito Gaku, Sweet Blue Flowers by Takako Shimura, and Our Dreams at Dusk by Yuhki Kamatani
1 Response
  1. As a high school librarian I would have been thrilled to find a popular manga series with only 8 books! :-) This sounds like it would do well with students.

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