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Blue Flag Vol. #04 Manga Review

3 min read
I was so looking forward to reading this, and it did not disappoint.

Becoming the best and honest version of yourself.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Kaito
Translation/Adaptation: Adrienne Beck

What They Say
Toma’s older brother, Seiya, asks Taichi to find out why Toma doesn’t want to go to college. On the day of Toma’s release from the hospital, Taichi still hasn’t found a way to broach the subject with Toma. Meanwhile, Futaba discovers Taichi’s birthday is coming up, and she decides to invite the group to a fireworks festival so they can all celebrate there.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Toma and his brother, Seiya, get in an argument right before he leaves the hospital. Seiya asks Taichi to see exactly why Toma won’t go to college. Taichi doesn’t really want to pry, but after Toma is home and they are finally alone he first asks him if he has a crush on his sister-in-law, Aki, and second, he asks about Toma’s future plans. Toma reveals that he’s never crushed on Aki, and his future plan is just to move out as soon as possible. Taichi remains unsettled about this information, but he is relieved Toma isn’t in love with Aki.

Toma runs into Futuba while book shopping. While out, they see a fireworks flyer, and it’s on Taichi’s birthday. They decide to celebrate Taichi’s birthday with all four of them and go look for presents for Taichi together. While they are shopping, Toma confronts Futuba if she is in love with Taichi, or maybe him. Futuba is a bit taken aback by the question, but in the end, really never answers it. She does seem to come to the conclusion that she admired Toma, but she actually is in love with Taichi. Toma and Futuba have a good talk, but in the end, they didn’t buy any presents for Taichi.

When the group goes out to the Fireworks, Toma is Mr. Popular. There are also rumors that he is interested in Misumi, Futuba’s friend. Tom is also told quite bluntly to stop leading on Mami, a girl from school that likes him. When they finally settle down for the fireworks, Taichi tries to give Toma and Futuba some time together, since he still is under the impression that Futuba likes Toma. He tries to nudge Misumi to go with, but instead, Futuba jumps up to help. While there are up for shave ice, Taichi asks why she came with him when he was trying to give her some alone time with Toma. Futuba nervously reveals her thoughts and feelings, including that she does not love Toma, but just admired him. Somewhere in this conversation, Taichi picks up on something Futuba said, and he asks her what she means about her feelings for him. Meanwhile, Toma and Misumi, who both are in love with their best friends, have an earnest discussion about their feelings and the people they want to be.

In Summary:
I was so looking forward to reading this, and it did not disappoint. It’s such a lovely book in every way. The art is very detailed in frames that contain the emotion of single characters. After reading a lot of shojo over the years, it’s so refreshing to find a high school romance story without floating bubbles and flowers abounding once a chapter. Instead, there’s a big focus on emotions coming through even if there is no dialogue. In addition, to the art, the story is crafted in such a manner that it keeps the story flowing, and it doesn’t get stale at all. What is really great, are the realistic emotions of four teenagers trying to figure out their way in life and how to steer their lives. It’s very appropriate and very truthful, without all the tropes you usually see in high school romance stories. This simply has become one of my absolute favorite series of the year.

Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: C+
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: Teen Plus
Released By: Shojo Beat (Viz Media)
Release Date: October 20, 2020
MSRP: $12

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