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Unusual plot twists are not needed for this manga to work since the author is skillful at making the most out of what is common.
Review by: Jane D.
Author and artist: Kiriko Nananan
Publisher: Fanfare/Ponent Mon
Length: Approximately 228 story pages with 10 chapters
Rated: R (sexual situations)
Kirishima is a sensitive girl who takes an interest in her more
worldly high school classmate, Masami Endo. The two join as friends
and in time, allow their relationship to become more intimate.
Kayako feels happiness at the development, but senses Masami is less committed. There are some important things she does not tell Kayako but confides those things to others. Masami then disappears without warning for a short while during summer break, only to return with an explanation for her absence that Kayako knows is a lie. Revelations lead to a rift between the girls and they each must decide on what they mean to each other if they are to remain together in any fashion.
DVD VISION TEST
The art is spare with respect to all details. But, the properly
proportioned features and hint of ethnicity on some of the
character’s faces make these images fall more on the side of
realism than standard manga sketches. The minimal details
actually help convey emotions in part by certain panels not having
the background drawn in, only a character reacting to something.
This also helps symbolically express that all else fades away when
people are confronted with issues of love, a major theme of Blue.
There are no pose shots, but the many emotional close-ups do a
similar job of being memorable.
is not a single sound effect in the book, which is the first time I
have ever seen them missing in a manga. The story does not suffer
from the absence since the artwork alone is enough to transmit the
idea that sounds are taking place.
There were no edits made to the best of my knowledge.
EXTRAS: At the beginning of the book, there is a picture of Kayako sitting and crying on the floor with Masami sitting beside her and on the opposite page, the situation is reversed with Masami crying on the floor and Kayako standing above her. These images foreshadow and summarize much of their relationship. The term “enka” is introduced and defined in a footnote at the bottom of page 21. In another footnote on page 206, “graduation ceremony” is translated from a banner written in Japanese. At the end of the manga, there is a biography on Kiriko Nananan that mentions she is currently one of the most original figures in the industry as well as some of the other titles she created.
Blue is a serious and poignant love story between two high school girls
that is rooted in realism. The romance develops naturally with joy
and pain as constants and never resorts to fanfare or
sensationalism. Kiriko Nananan writes a very good manga about love,
choices and consequences that can easily be identified with.
were no egregious attempts at making these Japanese characters sound
like anything other than Japanese characters, so I conclude that
this translation is more literal than what is found in other manga.
FAN SERVICE: Any gimmicks like panty shots would be out of place here, so they were not included.
THE 2 VIEW
looking to buy this manga in search of lesbianism misrepresented as
a gratuitous marketing device will not be pleased. Anyone looking to
buy this manga for strong political declarations in favor of an
oppressed minority will not be satisfied either. Blue does not cater
to either extreme. This story concentrates on the essence of love
itself and the particular form the love takes is incidental. The
main characters spend no time pondering why they are attracted to
their own sex, nor do they refer to themselves as lesbians or
bisexuals. The dynamics between Kayoko and Masami that occur as
their bond grows are not even unique to gay women; they can be
present just as easily in a heterosexual relationship. Expressions
of physical love are limited to, but come across very well in the
few kissing scenes that are only revealing in the sense that you are
made to know beforehand how strong the emotions are behind them.
There is no need for depictions of blatant love making to convince a
reader of their existence.
like how the author made good use of ordinary things in the story.
Kayako and Masami spend some of their time in school, with friends,
and on the beach, doing nothing very exceptional, yet knowing that
the girls are in love though their tender declarations toward one
another makes these scenes interesting. Unusual plot twists are not
needed for this manga to work since the author is skillful at making
the most out of what is common. The story is pretty straightforward
overall, though contains some surprises too. In short, what happens
with Kayako and Masami often mirrors real life, so it was much more
credible in that sense and therefore, a pleasure to read.
and Masami have some things in common with respect to love that are
also worth mentioning. They ultimately believe that loving someone
strongly is not wrong, cannot be helped and should not be regretted,
even if other people wind up being hurt in the process. At different
times in the story, they have to teach each other this lesson. These
beliefs cleverly blended youthful strivings with a ruthlessness I
was not expecting to see in the characters, so for me they became
one of the more memorable aspects of the book.
think this manga is worth reading if you like love stories that are
truthful and do not exploit the idea of two girls being together.
Some very strong ideas appear when questions of what someone will or
will not do for love are addressed. Blue examines them and instead
of certain characters becoming unlikable due to their choices, they
come across as vulnerable. Many people will find traces of
themselves in this story and that is another big reason this book
works so well.
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