MANGA REVIEW | "Blue Flag" - Volume Six
One of the things I appreciate about Blue Flag is how grounded in reality it is. Granted, there are some cartoonish expressions and the like, but its narrative and story points feel genuine. Author KAITO has a knack for showcasing the fragility of humans, even within those who appear strongest. In Blue Flag’s sixth volume, that fragility is on full display.
College exams are coming up, as Taichi and Futaba try to figure out where they aim to go when high school ends. Toma’s future is also up in the air, as he attempts to ponder where exactly he could work once graduation comes and goes. However, during the school festival, Toma lets a truth out while talking to Mami, which catches the ear of someone else. As school rumors fly, the friendship between Toma and Taichi is put to the ultimate test.
There’s a deepness of thought that’s placed when Futaba and Taichi are talking about colleges. A realistic thought process is shown through Taichi, who doesn’t want to part with Futaba even after he tells her to follow her dreams. It’s a moment that will surely hit home for many high school couples, who often find themselves in both Futaba and Taichi’s shoes when it comes time to choose a college/university to attend. We all want to go to the same place our beloved attends; it doesn’t mean it’s the right move!
Things seem lighthearted during the school festival, as Toma and Taichi roam the halls and check out what each class is putting on. Laughs are a-plenty when they hit the haunted house and crepe stands, showcasing their good buddy-buddy nature. But while Taichi looks to compliment on how lucky Toma is to have good friends and openings, Toma takes the tone the wrong way, especially with what he’s been hiding deep down inside. It’s a rift between the close friends that’s temporary, but no doubt will leave an emotional scar or two.
A big highlight in this volume of Blue Flag is a discussion between Masumi and Akiko. It’s here where Masumi reveals her true self, with Akiko quick to be accepting. However, a conversation regarding the true meaning of making someone happy hits all of the right marks, as it demonstrates what some people get right when bringing joy to others, and what others do wrong with it. This all leads up to one big moment in this particular volume: Toma coming out.
While you don’t hear the actual words, how some people react to it makes it come off as scandalous. After all, Japan isn’t quite there yet with its LGBTQ acceptance (despite the quantity of gay & lesbian-themed entertainment the country produces telling you otherwise). While some people don’t seem to mind what the rumors may tell, others appear to not be as easy-going, something that I’m certain many gay citizens in Japan often deal with.
And through all of the confusion and hysteria, the moment of truth happens. How Taichi will react to Toma’s secret remains to be seen, but it will change their friendship dynamic at the very least. Volume Six of Blue Flag keeps it real, be it from a couple’s college dilemma to a person coming out to a friend. KAITO brings sincerity and honesty to every page of this latest volume, with anyone reading this series at one point letting out a deep sigh and uttering, “Man, I’ve been there.”
Promotional consideration provided by Gabrielle Dyer of VIZ Media