青のフラッグ, Ao no Furaggu
Genre: Drama, Romance, Slife-of-Life
Written By: KAITO
Magazine: Shonen Jump
Manga Monday was almost about to turn into ‘Reading Wednesday’ but I pushed through to get this post out today. This week, we’ll be diving into possibly my second favorite high school series of the year (Blue Box has stolen my heart completely), Blue Flag. By the end of the first volume, if you’re like me, it becomes clear what makes this series so wholesome and enjoyable. Normally, I can barely stomach high school stories since a lot of them have so much bullying and I also am not a fan of the many teacher x student relationships. Thankfully, this series, so far, doesn’t have either of these. At least the bullying isn’t as extreme as depicted in most Asian media.
Blue Flag centers around three characters; Taichi Ichinose, Futaba Kuze, and Touma Mita. There are two important characters but these three are the main focus for the first volume. Ichinose is someone I can relate to because I consider myself self-aware and realistic. It’s also probably why my imagination isn’t the best because I tend to think about the facts instead of fairytales. It also makes me horrible at parties. Anyway, our outlooks on life are similar and then there’s the low self-esteem. Mainly due to his best friend, Touma Mita, being perfect at everything. Then, there’s Futaba Kuze. At the beginning she has long, blonde hair but after a conversation with Ichinose, she cuts it into a bob. She’s a shy girl but she does her best. There’s an air of innocence surrounding her.
What makes Blue Flag an interesting read is that there is a bit of a love triangle, or square if you will. Technically, most people define love triangles as three people in love with each other but modern day ones disagree. You see, in this series Taichi is in love with Futaba, who is in love with Touma, who in return is in love with Taichi. To make matters even more complicated, Futaba’s best friend, Masumi Itachi, is in love with Futaba. You can see this emotional wreck, right? This volume focuses on everyone establishing their feelings for one another, even though it’s pretty complicated. There’s a lot of taboos and angst as well as heartwarming moments and emotional awakenings. Oh, and they’re in high school trying to navigate all these feelings so you know how that goes.
Throughout the volume, the focus is mainly on Ichinose and his friendship with Touma. The two had been childhood friends with the latter increasing his popularity and slowly itching away from Ichinose. In high school, they have two completely different friend groups. Ichinose more with the “nerds” or “outcasts” and Touma with the athletes and, well everyone else. The first volume had a lot of background. From Ichinose’s eyes, he has no best friend yet Touma considers him one. Ichinose also detests Futaba at first, purely because he sees himself in her and he can’t stand it. Touma struggles alone with his interest in Ichinose, deeming himself ‘un-normal’. Futaba wants to get out of her shell and enjoy life more. All three of them have goals, whether they realize is or not. The journey to reach them, well that’s what the rest of the series will be for.
Ichinose is the gloomy, self-aware friend of Touma. Even though he thinks their friendship has fizzled out, he believes they are just in two different leagues. He develops a crush on Futaba after initially disliking her.
A sweet, gentle soul. She becomes friends with Ichinose after bonding over their low self-esteem. He also agrees to help her with Touma.
Ichinose’s childhood friend. He’s pretty much great at EVERYTHING, but loves baseball. It’s revealed that he has a crush on Ichinose but thinks Futaba does as well.
- Futaba making the big chop (We support all naturalistas)
- Masumi saying, “I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE” on the rooftop
Really love this series so far! It all still feels relatable even though I’m pushing 30. Each character brings something to the story and I just wanna see the kiddos win. I know there will be hard times and heartbreak but I also know they’ll learn more and grow. Plus, I’m a sucker for slice-of-life. Many people think it’s boring and meticulous. However, for me it’s a way to unwind. Something about watching people is soothing. They don’t have to fight or have a great quest. Just cooking a meal, casually chatting, riding the train, it’s entertainment for me.
This volume get’s 10’s across the board (or in my case 5 onigiri).
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