MANGA REVIEW | "Blue Flag" - Volume Seven
Ever since the first volume, Blue Flag has been leading towards the truth behind Toma’s feelings for Taichi. In Volume Six, the truth finally came out, in what could be described as the worst possible way. Now after the incident that led to Toma’s suspension, Taichi and Futaba are left to wonder how they feel not just about their friend, but also each other. However, there are some things that need to take top priority in the fixing department in Blue Flag’s seventh volume.
Rumors spread far and wide about Toma and Taichi, with no sign of where they originated from. Taichi is dragged to Kensuke’s place by Shoko and Sayaka, where he and Shingo talk about what happened between them and Toma. As they try to explain how they feel and how they now see Toma, some big revelations about Kensuke’s past bring up why he may not be comfortable with Toma’s true self. Meanwhile, as Futaba tries to figure out what’s going on, she inadvertently opens a wound in Masumi, leading Mami to chase her down to see what’s on her mind.
To be blunt, this volume of Blue Flag is a very complicated one. On one hand, it showcases some of the problems Japan has when it comes to how the gay community is perceived. Kensuke’s attitude of not wanting to understand is a true-to-life issue when it comes to full LGBTQ acceptance, with some not even able to go halfway to feel remotely tolerant. As Shoko and Sayaka push Kensuke to see why he’s in the wrong, he in return pushes back with how they can’t accept those with different opinions. It’s when Kensuke reveals why he can’t feel comfortable around gay people when a real bombshell goes off, leaving the classmates quiet and in shock.
Meanwhile, as Futaba tries to figure out what’s going on in Taichi’s mind, a question about love and emotions leaves Masumi to walk away from the conversation. Mami breaks the truth out of her, as the two of them go back and forth about the societal perception and the need to be more open to better understand one’s mindset. As all of this is going on, Toma has a deep conversation with his older brother Seiya about the importance of not just being happy, but also being alive. All of this leads to a flashback from the eyes of Toma, leading up to the very moment he started to feel something for Taichi.
There are a lot of hard pills to swallow throughout the many conversations that happen. KAITO demonstrates the different mentalities of humanity in this volume when it comes to LGBTQ acceptance. We are shown people who are struggling with their sexual identity, people who have a hard time accepting those who are attracted to the same sex, those who don’t have trouble being accepting, and those who will only be friends with those who think on their same level. You may not agree with all of the points that are dragged through Blue Flag, but KAITO finds ways to make it hard to argue with certain viewpoints.
Volume Seven of Blue Flag will hit you like a ton of bricks. There are a lot of uncomfortable things brought out into the open, as well as plenty of harsh truths regarding love, society, and friendship. It’s no pretty picture, but the perception of those who refuse to understand what they can’t comprehend never has been. There’s only one volume to go, so it’ll be interesting to see how Toma, Taichi, and even Futaba deal with everything before graduation occurs. One thing’s for certain: the path towards redemption and rekindling won’t be an easy one.
Promotional consideration provided by Gabrielle Dyer of VIZ Media