ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Blue Flag,’ Volume 5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Blue Flag Volume 5

Blue Flag Volume 5 is a romance drama manga written and illustrated by mangaka KAITO and published by VIZ Media. Blue Flag centers on a group of friends entering their last year of high school who are in an unpredicted love quadrangle. When one of the boys and girls starts falling for each other, they are unaware that each of their best friends has already fallen for them.

Following the previous volume,  summer break is over, and school is back in session. Now  Taichi and Futuba are slowly transitioning their relationship from friends to something more. Meanwhile, Mami suddenly starts to be unusually friendly towards Taichi, leaving Futuba feeling anxious. Taichi is unsure of Mami’s true intent but feels like he is getting dragged along in her wake. Their situation attracts attention as more people become involved, and soon, everyone is questioning everyone else’s relationships.

In Blue Flag Volume 5 the mangaka, KAITO, uses interesting tactics for storytelling to immerse the readers into the manga. For example, the first chapter opens without any dialogue until the fireworks show concludes. Since the fireworks are loud and they can not hear each other speak, they can’t tell what they are saying. It sets up the environment of the setting that the characters are in for the audience. I thought the absence of dialogue was an interesting way to open this volume. It grabbed my attention and made me appreciate the art in the opening pages.

Speaking of the art, I can not compliment KAITO’s work enough to capture various emotions on his characters’ faces. Whether it is joy, anger, anxiety, or sadness, they excel at illustrating them. It is capturing these emotions that add both insight and depth to the characters and story. It is one of the things that makes Blue Flag such an amazing manga.

For example, in one scene, where Taichi tells Toma about him, and Futaba started dating. While it is brief, the expression on Toma’s face says a lot. It shows that he is caught off guard to learn that his best friend, the boy he is secretly in love with, is dating someone else. But at the same time, he has to push those feelings down and be happy for his friends.

Another thing that I enjoyed in this volume was that it gave more insight into Mami Yagihara’s character. Initially, Mami comes off as shallow; however, in this volume, she turns to be a kinder and much friendlier person, especially toward Taichi and Futaba. While some characters assume she might have a sinister ulterior motive, she is actually trying to be comfortable with who she is as a person. Even a chapter focused on Mami’s flashbacks and her inner thoughts were a great way to give more insight into her character and motivations. This volume shows a side of Mami that is different, and honestly, I did not expect to see it, but I am so glad KAITO developed her character in this way.

Additionally, Mami’s character introduces an interesting topic to the series, can men and women be friends. KAITO does a great job of working this topic into the story in a way that feels genuine as it touches on the discussion of male and female platonic relationships. Mami doesn’t want boys to want or love her because she is a girl. She also doesn’t want to be hated by other girls that assume she will steal their boyfriends. She wants to be friends and accept that she is deep down and not who people perceive her to be.

Lastly, this volume introduces a new challenge for Taichi and Futaba as the characters are having some trouble trying to navigate their new relationship dynamic. Neither of them has ever been in a relationship before, so it is new territory for them to go from being friends to dating. I’ll be interested to see if or how they learn to overcome this challenge in their new relationship as the story continues to progress.

This volume is a great example of what makes Blue Flag an amazing coming of age story. Blue Flag Volume 5 has captivating storytelling, beautiful l storytelling, and it touches on real-life issues and topics in a genuine way. This volume also introduces some new challenges and changes to relationship dynamics that I am eager to explore more in the next volume.

Blue Flag Volume 5 is available wherever books are sold on December 15, 2020.

Blue Flag Volume 5
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TL;DR

This volume is a great example of what makes Blue Flag an amazing coming of age story. Blue Flag Volume 5 has captivating storytelling, beautiful l storytelling, and it touches on real-life issues and topics in a genuine way. This volume also introduces some new challenges and changes to relationship dynamics that I am eager to explore more in the next volume.