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Blue Box #29 Manga Review

4 min read
While from a familiarity with manga and anime storytelling point one can see how things can turn to bring Taiki and Chinatsu together, the rest of me hopes that this means a real opening of potential with Hina for a while.
AO NO HAKO © 2021 by Kouji Miura / SHUEISHA Inc.

“It’s Not a Good Thing”

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Kouji Miura
Translation: Christine Dashiell

What They Say
A badminton guy falls for a basketball girl. Do these sports-crossed lovers have a chance?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Getting underway earlier this year in Japan as Ao no Hako as part of a number of new Weekly Shonen Jump titles, it’s from creator Kouji Miura who has had a handful of titles over the last few years since getting formally published back in 2015. I had randomly picked the title from the Shonen Jump site as something to try out a few chapters ago and got hooked on. Though the relationship aspect is simple and the sports elements aren’t deep, the combination of what we do get with the artwork ended up delivering something that made me want to keep coming back for more.

This is one of those chapters where you really feel for Taiki but at the same time you also understand exactly where Chinatsu is coming from. Their living situation is a familiar storytelling cliche so there is a need to be careful to not give the wrong signals, especially if the feelings are there. With the two off buying some additional food for the BBQ at home, Taiki is getting to know her a bit more with small talk but also some cute aspects such as her wanting to eat the ice cream before they get back. But when he pulls her to the side when a car goes by fast, he’s quick to apologize and that opens the door for her to talk about what happened before. And she uses it as a way, while talking about her father as well, that she needs to be more careful with the living situation between a boy and a girl and promises it’ll never happen. Each time that she seems to open up to him a bit more she ends up also seeming to pull away further.

When it segues back to the school side of things, we get the day before the summer break with the deluge of homework and busy schedules. Some of them have practice every day and a number of Taiki’s classmates opt to try and meet and do homework together, or at least copy off the smart members. For Taiki, he’s just in a depressed place now because of how things went with Chinatsu and he actually manages to get some of it out to a few of them. It seems like it’s making a real impression on Hina, which could be interesting if they do really move things forward here and get the triangle in full position. There are a couple of amusing moments in all of this, such as Taiki hiding from Chinatsu and lying so badly about it, but it is going to make for an interesting summer period with how they may have a lot more time to spend together at the same time that she’s trying to push more distance between them.

In Summary:
While from a familiarity with manga and anime storytelling point one can see how things can turn to bring Taiki and Chinatsu together, the rest of me hopes that this means a real opening of potential with Hina for a while. Chinatsu is something that has really awoken Taiki and the possibility of life but there are so many barriers and issues with it that he really should take advantage of it by making her an incredible best friend and wingwoman. I like the possibilities that Hina offers even if I so far like Chinatisu more. The struggle that Taiki goes through here is handled well and I like exploring how it’s impacting him in general and that he does smartly keep a lot of the feelings to himself as much as he can. Lots of options ahead.

Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Shonen Jump
Release Date: November 14th, 2021

AO NO HAKO © 2021 by Kouji Miura / SHUEISHA Inc.

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