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Blue Flag Manga Volume 1 Review

Blue Flag Manga Volume 1 Review

-Written by: Chris T

It can be easy not to realize the impact you have on other people. If you get focused on your own problems, you can lose the forest for the trees until you get a sudden reminder that what you do can have ripple effects you don’t even realize. And for Taichi Ichinose, one of the leads of Viz's new series Blue Flag, those emotional connections are going to get tested.

Taichi is starting his third year of high school, and while he doesn’t have anyone in his life he considers a “best” friend, his closest friends are all split off into different classes, so he’s left to fend for himself. But there is one person that Taichi does share class with – Toma Mita. Toma’s tall, strong, handsome, and a gifted athlete. They were close friends in elementary school, but they’ve grown distant since. Despite that, Toma greets Taichi with warmth and enthusiasm, excited to reconnect. That then draws someone else into Taichi’s life.

Futaba Kuze is a sweet, kind girl, but she’s wracked with social anxiety. She’s clumsy, nervous, and has trouble speaking up in conversation. Taichi doesn’t like dealing with her, partially because he sees a lot of his own flaws within her. But when Futaba realizes Taichi has a connection with Toma, who she fell for a year beforehand, she asks Taichi for advice. At first he’s tentative, but after unintentionally leading her to some rash decisions – primarily convincing her to drastically shorten her hair to get Toma to notice – Taichi agrees to help out.

As the story progresses, Taichi helps Futaba out in her attempts to woo Toma, but as he does so, he realizes that he’s started to develop feelings of his own for Futaba. He’s tormented by the conflict that the person he cares for is also the person he’s grooming to be an ideal match for someone else. But it’s soon revealed that Taichi and Futaba aren’t the only ones longing for someone in particular…

Writer and artist KAITO brings an interesting crossover of styles in the book, finding a way to use both shonen and shojo art styles to tell his story. His artwork is crisp and detailed, and switches effortlessly between intense, realistic moments of emotion and chibi-tastic stretches of comic relief - the scene where Taichi tries to give Futaba speaking lessons is extremely adorable. The pacing of his story feels natural, giving every moment of the story time to breathe but not dragging plot points out to pad the page count. When, in the final pages, the ball finally starts to get rolling on the ongoing story’s true focus, it feels earned. KAITO put a lot of effort into setting up his story, and it makes you want to go back and read it again to watch the pieces fall into place.

I will say, though, if at all possible, avoid reading the summary on the back! It spoils that twist at the end, leaving you waiting the whole time for that pivot only for it to slide in at the buzzer. Despite that, it’s still a great prologue for the story that awaits in future volumes, and I highly recommend it. Seeing the choices Taichi makes in his unique position, and the effects they have on his friends, leaves you wanting to keep reading to see the aftermath.

Blue Flag Manga Volume 1

For some reason, Taichi Ichinose just can’t tolerate Futaba Kuze. But at the start of his third year in high school, he finds himself in the same homeroom as her, along with his childhood friend and school sports star Toma Mita. But one day Futaba opens up to Taichi, admitting she has a crush on Toma and asking for his help in confessing to him! There’s just one problem—Toma seems to already have a secret crush on someone else…

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