Art & Story: Nio Nakatani
Translation: Jenny McKeon
Adaptation: Jenn Grunigen
Lettering And Retouch: CK Russel
Logo Design: KC Fabellon
Cover Design: Nicky Lim
Proofreader: Lee Otter and Janet Houck
Production Manager: Lissa Patillo
EIC: Adam Arnold
Publisher: Jason DeAngelis
What They Say:
Yuu has always loved shoujo manga and awaits the day she gets a love confession that sends her heart aflutter with bubbles and hearts, and yet when a junior high classmate confesses his feelings to her… she feels nothing.
Disappointed and confused, Yuu enters high school still unsure how to respond. That’s when Yuu sees the beautiful student council president Nanami turn down a suitor with such maturity that she’s inspired to ask her for help. But when the next person to confess to Yuu is Nanami herself, has her shoujo romance finally begun?
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Yuu Koito is just another girl trying to make it through high-school. She’s obsessed with love stories and shoujo manga — basically, anything that gets her blood pumping. Being a first year in a brand new environment, you’d expect one of Yuu’s biggest problems to be choosing which club she’ll spend the next year in. However, there’s something much bigger she needs to cope with — her inability to feel love.
With her last year of school ending on a cliffhanger confession she still hasn’t replied to, Yuu is hoping to find the answers to her feelings this time around. After being essentially forced to attend a student council meeting, Yuu runs into what may very well be the answer to her problems. Taking shelter behind the corner of the school, Yuu witnesses a boy (Presumably a year older than her) confessing his feelings to a girl we will come to know as Touko Nanami — student council vice-president. Without any hesitation, Touko turns the boy down and sends him off. Almost immediately after, however, she spots Yuu hiding around the corner. Instead of getting mad, though, Nanami simply asks her who she is and what she’s doing there. After a brief explanation, Nanami tells Yuu her name and the two set off to the student council meeting together.
Touko is beautiful — that much is apparent even to Yuu. It’s no wonder she gets confessed to so frequently. Because of this, Yuu decides it might be in her best interest to approach Nanami about her own situation. After all, any teenage girl would be worried if they were incapable of feeling love. Hell, that’s what like 90% of high-school life is comprised of. But after Yuu explains the situation, things take a dramatic turn. Touko confesses to Yuu right then and there. The more interesting part of this (Aside from the two being girls) is that just moments ago, Touko said that she, too, was incapable of loving someone. So why now? Why would she turn her back on her own words right away and declare her feelings for Yuu? The answer is simple — love works in mysterious ways. At this point, roughly all Yuri manga would transition into the period of the protagonist realizing that she may or may not be into girls, but this story is different. Yuu still feels nothing.
Instead of reciprocating Nanami’s affection, Yuu remains silent and time skips forward to the next day. Both girls decide to not even talk about what happened yesterday — at least not until later. Instead of making things awkward or feeling rejected, Nanami asks Yuu to be her campaign manager for the upcoming student council election. Yuu reluctantly agrees and the two start to spend more and more time together, albeit with no change to Yuu’s underlying apathy. Things continue on this way until Yuu decides to bring up the topic of yesterday’s confession. Without any hesitation, Nanami turns to Yuu and kisses her, using an oncoming train as a shield so those surrounding them wouldn’t notice. But, yet again, there is no response from Yuu. She simply accepts the kiss and the story continues.
No matter what Nanami does, Yuu’s feelings do not change. Strangely enough, Nanami seems okay with this. In fact, she even reveals that she was not expecting Yuu to fall in love with her. Nanami makes it apparent that even if her love is not reciprocated, she doesn’t want to give up considering she’s never felt this way before. Yuu, not being technically opposed to Touko’s feelings, decides against cutting off their relationship and allows her senpai to continue being in love with her. The two girls push their feelings aside for the time being and decide to carry on with their goal of getting Nanami elected as student council president.
When the time comes for the final campaign rally, Yuu notices that something about Touko is amiss. After beckoning her outside to figure out what’s wrong, Yuu manages to force out feelings of fear and nervousness from Touko that had been seemingly invisible up until now. So even though Yuu still doesn’t feel any form of romantic affection for Nanami, it’s increasingly clear that she at least cares about her enough to notice things that even her best friend, Sayaka, can’t. Nanami then goes on to detail how she created a different persona for herself — all in an effort to feel like she was special. Nanami then rests her head on Yuu’s shoulder for a while and the two head back inside to finish the campaign. And, after a successful speech from both of them, Nanami is elected as the new president of the student council.
Bloom Into You breaks a lot of rules for Yuri manga — but this is exactly what makes it great. Throwing sexual tension to the side and instead focusing on a relatively unrequited love (At least at this point in time) makes for an incredibly interesting and suspenseful shoujo-ai relationship. With minimal glances into Yuu’s feelings and an already-apparent backstory for Nanami, Bloom Into You combines many different elements of romantic manga into a neatly-wrapped package capable of rivalling almost any other installment of the Yuri genre. Combine that with intimate artwork and well-thought-out, multi-dimensional characters and you have something you’re going to remember. This is one of the best Yuri manga series to date — hands down.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Seven Seas
Release Date: January 3, 2017