Wednesday, November 6, 2019



STORY: Okura
ART: Coma Hashii
TRANSLATION: Jocelyne Allen
LETTERS: Joanna Estep
EDITOR: Joel Enos
ISBN: 978-1-9747-0797-3; paperback (October 2019); Rated “T” for “Teen”
248pp, B&W, $10.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

That Blue Sky Feeling is a coming-of-age manga from writer Okura and artist Coma Hashii.  It was published from 2017 to 2018 in the manga magazine, Gangan Joker and is an adaption of the webcomic, Sorairo Flutter.  VIZ Media published an English-language edition of That Blue Sky Feeling as a three-volume graphic novel series.

The series follows two high school boys.  Noshiro Dai is an outgoing high school student who finds himself drawn to Hikaru “Kou” Sanada, the school outcast, who is rumored to be gay.  The rumors don't bother Noshiro; instead, they make him even more determined to get close to Sanada.  Thus, what is set in motion is a surprising tale of first love.

As That Blue Sky Feeling, Vol. 3 (Chapters 15 to 21 to Final Chapter) opens, everyone is seeking young love.  New student, Makoto Morinaga, who is gay, is determined to date Noshiro, but there is a girl with her eye on Noshiro.  Her name is Natsu Aikawa, and, with the help of her friends, is building up the nerve to ask Noshiro on a date.

Sanada is chagrined when his friends meet Hide, the 26-year-old man who was once his boyfriend.  Also, Ayumi Yamamoto wants to get closer to Sanada, although she has heard the rumors that he is gay.  Meanwhile, Noshiro and Sanada each seems to struggle to discover the true nature of their relationship.

[This volume includes a two-page character profile section and a farewell from the creators and staff.]

That Blue Sky Feeling manga may have a category, but I am not sure what it would be.  I would not call it boys' love (BL), because, although there are gay characters, That Blue Sky Feeling really does not depict romantic relationships between male characters.  Category aside, this series is filled with love, companionship, and friendship.

That Blue Sky Feeling Graphic Novel Volume 3 is the final volume of the series.  Writer Okura and art Coma Hashii wrap up this portrait of young love with gentleness and with a sense of humor.  The creators, as they relate in a closing note to readers, wanted to offer a snapshot of youth and a depiction of the trials of the heart that come along with being young.  They certainly do that, especially in this final volume, and it makes for an endearing tale, in part, thanks to Jocelyne Allen's excellent English translation.  Joanna Estep's lettering adds the fizz and shojo sparkles to this tale of teens exploring the landscapes of love.

The story ends without fully committing to a romantic relationship between the two leads, but we learn that what they have is special – because they say so.  So instead of calling That Blue Sky Feeling BL manga, we can call it what it is.  It is a delightful manga with LGBT themes that explores the first yearnings of straight and gay love.

8 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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