Cover Image: Blue Flag, Vol. 6

Blue Flag, Vol. 6

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Blue Flag is such a tastefully done series. The conversations in the volume between multiple different characters had me in tears! The art is gorgeous as always. Highly suggest Blue Flag for all libraries!
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Blue Flag Volume 6 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, Toma and Taichi talk about their futures. But it ends with the two not seeing eye to eye. Shortly after, Toma sits down with Mami for a serious discussion at the cultural festival. In response to her genuine openness, he makes a big decision that could change everything. Meanwhile, time keeps moving forward, pushing everyone to the cusp of making critical life choices.

Blue Flag Volume 6 is beautiful, poignant, and heartbreaking all in one. In my opinion, this volume is the culmination of everything that the series has been building up to this point. All of the drama and emotions come to the enormous climactic moment that nearly broke my heart and made me feel for the characters and their respective situations. I won’t give any spoilers away, but the last page that just had a black background with the word “sorry” especially wrecked my emotions.

KAITO continues to delivers beautifully written stories accompanied by genuine conversations between their characters. I appreciate how they craft honest dialogue as the characters have discussions about growing up, friendship, sexuality, relationships, and love. In Blue Flag Volume 6 there are plenty of conversations like these and all of them are written superbly.
One conversation in particular finally gave me the moment I always I’ve wanted for Masumi’s character. I wanted a moment for her to be vulnerable and talk about all of the things she has been keeping inside herself. From the beginning of the series, Masumi has been perceived as a cool, aloof, and well-put-together person. However, much like Toma, she puts on a facade in front of others to hide her true feelings.

I was surprised that instead of the conversation being with one of her peers, she has it with Toma’s sister-in-law However, as their conversation goes, I don’t think anyone else would have been better suited to have this conversation with Masumi. Since she doesn’t have many friends and with her closest friend, Futaba, being the one she is in love with, she isn’t left with many options for other confidants.

Ultimately, I think Masumi needed an older adult figure with whom to have this conversation. And I’m glad it was with Akiko. She is one of the few adults in the series, but she seems to be very wise and approachable. She can offer reassurance to let Masumi know she is okay the way she is and shouldn’t have to worry about whether other people will accept her or not. And that’s what Masumi needed most of all.

Additionally, the conversation felt fitting since Masumi is aware of Toma being gay and in love with Taichi. So as much as the conversation is focused on her concerns about being accepted for being gay, I think she was also curious to see how someone from Toma’s family would react if it were their child. This adds to the drama of the volume because as Masumi and Akiko’s conversation takes place the panels shift back Toma and Tachi. As if it is a premonition of what may happen next in the story. 

Lastly, the illustration of the facial expressions is so good in this volume. You know that saying, “eyes are the windows to the soul?” KAITO’s artwork is a prime example of that. I don’t know how they do it, but they manage to capture such a variety of emotions in their characters’ faces, specifically the eyes. Particularly, when it comes to the most serious moments in the story. For example, when Taichi makes a comment about Toma being happier in life than he will ever be, that comment strikes a chord in Toma because, in actuality, he is not happy.

He’s unable to be himself freely, he can’t confess his true feelings to the person he loves, and yet, he constantly puts a smile on. He always has a facade up to hide how much pain he is really in. I liked how in this exchange that facade comes down a little and KAITO uses Toma’s eyes to communicate a variety of feelings that have been welling up inside him. Words aren’t needed to communicate how he feels or what he wants, you can just tell by the look in his eyes. 

Overall, Blue Flag Volume 6 is beautiful, heartbreaking, and poignant all at the same time and in the best of ways. So many things happened is in this volume, from decisions about college, confessions of love, discussions about acceptance, and so much more. This volume felt like a huge payoff from everything that has been building up since the beginning of the series. Volume 6 truly is the turning point of the entire series. There is no going back to how things were after this volume, and that just makes me so eager to see where the story will go from here.
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📚 Blue Flag, Vol. 6 by KAITO 📚 

Love is already hard enough, but it becomes an unnavigable maze for unassuming high school student Taichi Ichinose and his shy classmate Futaba Kuze when they begin to fall for each other after their same-sex best friends have already fallen for them. 

The culture festival begins, and Toma and Taichi talk about their futures, but it ends with the two not quite seeing eye to eye. Shortly after, Toma sits down with Mami for a serious discussion, and in response to her earnest openness, he makes a big decision that could change everything. Time keeps moving forward, pushing everyone to the cusp of making critical life choices.

Honestly, I haven’t been the biggest fan of comic books/graphic novels, but I wanted to try this one out and I’m so glad I did. This was such a fun and enjoyable adventure. The characters are absolutely amazing and I really loved the storyline. I think it was adorable following these two characters falling in love with each other while also avoiding the love from their same-sex best friends. It was so fun following Toma and the other characters. 

This was definitely something I would honest recommend. I now need to check out all the other volumes in this series and see if I liked them just as much. I really wished I had a physical copy of this one and really wished I could read it in print because of how much I loved it. The characters were fantastic. The storyline was great. The writing was easy to follow. The illustrations were beautiful. Everything about this was amazing. 

**Huge thank you to NetGalley for providing me an e-arc of this story for an honest review.**

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️ 
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The emotional impact of this particular volume has far reaching implications for the rest of the series. We have characters speaking up for what they want, and for their own happiness, rather than catering to other people. 
The final panel in this volume has me SCREAMING because I have to wait for the next one, but I trust Kaito with the story.
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While a lot of important things happen in this volume, including another painful, painful cliffhanger, what's striking about it is how it treats the idea of "normal." We've seen several permutations of the way that "normal" can hurt people who don't fit the accepted vision of it - Masumi hating her own sexual orientation and actively trying to "fix" it, Mami fighting against perceptions of who she has to be as a classically pretty/hot girl - but this volume also looks at how "normal" is affecting Taichi and Futaba's relationship as college looms, how it plays with beauty standards, and even just the basic idea of family. It feels as if the series is moving towards a discussion of how there is no such thing as "normal" in the toxic sense that the characters experience it, and that's something that needs saying. If any series, manga or otherwise, is going to be be able to pull it off, I think it will be this one.
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Okay - I have been a huge fan of Blue Flag and I was SO HAPPY to get a chance to read the next volume early! I think the story is going in a fantastic direction so far: Toma is handling his feelings pretty well for someone in his position, and it was a nice little moment to see the song list that Akiko gave to Masumi (and we finally learned what Akiko's job was!) 

Overall, great volume!
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WHAT?!? Now I have to wait for volume 7??! TOMAAAAAA! 😭😭💔

This is my favorite new manga series. I love all the characters, and they all feel so realistic. I truly want the best for all of them (but especially Toma!!) and I'm so anxious to find out what happens.
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