ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Blue Flag,’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Blue Flag Volume 2

Blue Flag, is a romantic drama manga written and illustrated by mangaka KAITO and published by VIZ MediaBlue Flag Volume 2 tells the story of an unexpected love quadrangle with a bit of unrequited love as two classmates, a boy and a girl, begin to fall for each other when each of their best friends has already fallen for them.

It is Ichinose Taichi’s final year of high school and he is very aware of the distance between himself and some of his classmates. He’s childhood friends with Mita Touma, the popular star baseball player. Taichi keeps Touma at a distance because of his popularity. One day he finds out that Futaba Kuze, a shy and clumsy girl in his class who Taichi does his best to avoid has a crush on Touma. Futaba asks for Taichi’s help to get closer to Touma. While he is reluctant to help at first, Taichi eventually agrees to help. Through their efforts, they try to change themselves, navigate relationships, and make the most of their last year in high school together.

Blue Flag Volume 2 consists of chapters 6 through 12. In this volume, the school sports festival is right around the corner. Toma is asked to be class 3-A’s cheer squad captain. He accepts the position but on the condition that Futaba and Taichi can serve as his vice-captains. Wanting to live up to Toma’s faith in them, Taichi and Futaba practice their squad’s routine diligently. However, when the time comes to perform, Futaba hits a wall that threatens her participation.

In this volume, we get more time with one of the supporting characters, Masumi. Masumi is Futaba’s best and closest friend. Masumi tends to be very protective of Futaba and doesn’t like Taichi’s plan to help her get closer to Touma. Partly because she doesn’t want Futaba to get hurt when she inevitably gets rejected and Touma doesn’t return her feelings.  However, another reason she is protective of Futaba is that she is in love with her herself.

Something I appreciated in this volume was the conversation that Masumi had with Taichi about romantic love and friendships with the opposite sex. The conversation takes place after Taichi happens to bump into Masumi after she just broke up with her most recent boyfriend.

Masumi confides in Taichi that even though her ex-boyfriend was great in every way and he loved her, she still did not have the same feelings for him. This leads to Masumi asking Taichi about his thoughts on having romantic feelings for the opposite sex versus having feelings for a friend.

Blue Flag Volume 2

I felt that Masumi’s dialogue was genuine. It is an interesting discussion and shows the reader Masumi is trying to process her feelings for Futaba. On one hand, she knows that she has deeper feelings for her friend than what she has ever had with any of her previous boyfriends. On the other hand, she wants to know for sure if those feelings are just normal feelings for a friend or if they are an indication of something more.

My one gripe, however, is that I wish this conversation was between Masumi and Touma instead of Taichi. I think it would have been more meaningful if the conversation was between someone that could relate to Masumi’s feelings and situation. Maybe the two of them could have been a safe and non-judgemental space for each other to confide in. Not that Taichi came off as judgmental, but he also didn’t add much to the conversation either.

Another thing I liked about this volume is that it explores the themes of internal conflict. The story takes place during the main characters’ senior year of high school. This is a time in their lives when they are thinking about their futures and making decisions that will change their lives, such as going to college, and what careers they want to pursue.

A significant part of this volume also centers on Taichi’s internal conflict with indecisiveness and making a decision on what he wants to do when he gets older.  Specifically, involving his decision about going to college and what career he should pursue.

I am enjoying the direction the plot is heading overall. When it comes to drama, KAITO knows how to do it right. At this point in the story, the love quadrangle between the four friends is slowly taking its shape and you can’t help but wonder what will be the end result for everyone.

Will it end with everyone heartbroken or will anyone come out of it without any emotional scars? More importantly, will their friendships survive? At the end of the day, as I get to know more about each character, I can’t help but want to see each of them have a happy ending. So I look forward to seeing what comes next in Volume 3.

Overall, Blue Flag Volume 2 is a great read and I cannot recommend picking it up enough. The topics and themes covered in this manga are serious and everything from the characters to their dialogue feels very genuine. In this volume, the drama picks up towards the middle and end of and it leaves you on a cliffhanger that makes me eagerly await the next installment.

Blue Flag Volume 2 is available from booksellers June 16, 2020.

IMAGES: AO NO FLAG © 2017 by KAITO/SHUEISHA Inc.

Blue Flag Volume 2
5

TL;DR

Overall, Blue Flag Volume 2 is a great read and I can not recommend picking it up enough. The topics and themes covered in this manga serious and everything from the characters to their dialogue feels very genuine. In this volume the drama picks up towards the middle and end of this volume and it leaves you on a cliffhanger that make me eagerly await the next installment.