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Blue Box #47 Manga Review

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

“August 26 Part 3”

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):
With this series launching back in the spring of 2021 in Japan as Ao no Hako, it was as part of a number of new Weekly Shonen Jump titles added last year. This series comes from creator Kouji Miura and they’ve had a handful of titles over the last few years since getting formally published back in 2015. I had randomly picked the title in the late teens from the Shonen Jump site as something to try out a few chapters ago and got hooked on it – which is why I’m still here talking about it. Part of the appeal is the generally shorter chapters, often coming in at 16 or 18 pages, but we’ve been getting longer chapters for a bit now and it’s definitely helped a lot. 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.

The series took an amusing and somewhat unexpected twist the last time around with Taiki and Chinatsu being stranded with the train out of commission due to a mudslide. That has them staying at an inn where they’re lucky to get a room for both of them to be in. Suffice to say, Taiki’s nervous about it just from appearance’s sake and even lies to his parents by telling them that “everyone” is there, implying his friends in addition to Chinatsu. Chinatsu, for her part, is taking it in stride and has picked up a number of games from the lobby so they can play them into the night as part of her birthday celebration that has taken a new turn. That the chapter ends with her having an almost wistful look out of the window of the room about being seventeen, it’s definitely an interesting element that continues to play her to being more mature.

We do get a good bit of material here between the two, including when Nagisa calls to talk to Chinatsu as part of her birthday and being glad to hear she’s not only having fun with family but got to wear a yukata. With Taiki hiding of his own volition, we here from Nagisa about Chinatsu’s feelings on certain things but never in dangerous ground. But it does lead to the two of them talking for a bit about things they’ve not been clear on while still not going for the full reveal when you get down to it. It’s something that lets them feel like they clear the air, especially with Chinatsu apologizing for making him keep his distance because she hadn’t realized exactly what she was saying and how he would take it. It’s like a mild thaw for the two of them in a way, allowing for a fun night of board and card games. The sleeping arrangements, however? Oh my.

In Summary:
Blue Box has had a strong run from nearly the start and it’s only getting more engaging. This one opens with a positively beautiful cover page for the chapter title and all and then digs into just how well these two handle a night alone. There are no awkward moments of near-nudity, groping, or anyone falling on top of the other. Instead, there’s some mild general awkwardness about it even happening and then time spent dealing with playing some games and getting a little personal truth out there with some apologies. I won’t say it’s more mature than it should be because it’s pretty appropriate for these characters and more kids that age than we give credit to. A very good chapter overall.

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

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Shonen Jump
Release Date: April 3rd, 2022

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