Title: Blue Flag, Vol 1
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Publishing Date: 2020
Genre/Format of the Item: Book—Manga
Reading Level/Interest Level:
Ages 13-16 (No Flying No Tights)
Plot Summary: Blue Flag, Vol 1 is a story about teenagers in their third year of high school. This is a time when the students are faced with many stressors, such as thinking about their futures and school testing. Taichi Ichinose and Futaba Kuze are both insecure in many ways. They are shy and have a lot of social anxiety. Futaba approaches Taichi for help in gaining the attention of the popular Tomo Mita. Tomo and Taichi have been friends since childhood. Taichi decides to help Futaba gain more self-esteem by working on Futaba’s stutter and her general appearance. Taichi can be a bit insensitive to Futaba’s feelings at times, but they both begin to form a friendship as they spend more time together. Taichi even helps to set up a movie date between Toma and Futaba, but this ends poorly, as Futaba brings along her friend Itachi-San. Toma tells Futaba that Taichi is a very good guy and that maybe they should date. This sets into motion the beginning of this series. As Futaba and Taichi consider this possibility, Itachi-San confronts Toma about his feelings for Taichi.
Author Background: Kaito lives in Japan and began writing books at the age of 20. He has written many manga series series including Happy Magi, Cross Manage, Buddy Strike, and Blue Flag (Kaito, 2020). There is very little information on this author on the internet.
Critical Evaluations: Blue Flag, Vol 1 is a shonju romance (Sara, 2020). The premise of the book begins as a simple quest for romance, and ends with a complicated love quadrangle. The characters are well-developed in this first book of the series. Taichi is both insecure and yet confident enough to help Futaba win the heart of Toma. The reader is privy to Taichi’s thoughts and learns of his fears and desires. The reader is introduced to Toma and Futaba and given pertinent information about their personalities and personal histories. The characters are easy to like and relate to. The art work is beautiful. Kaito is a very talented artist and gives a lot of detail in his work. The panels range in size and style and the gutters range in size from non-existent to wide. Kaito offers small insights into his style choices at the beginning of some chapters. The book is printed in black and white. This book will appeal to teens as it deals with the many stressors of life and social challenges.
Creative Use for a Library Program: This book would be good to highlight in a teen manga library evening. Teens would be invited to learn more about manga and do some activities. This book could be one that is on display during the event. The event would include some crafts such as creating bookmarks or collages with old manga book pages. There would be displays with manga and even a table that would teach teens how to draw manga characters.
Speedround/Book Trailer: Life in high school is not easy, especially for shy and awkward Futaba and Taichi. When given the chance to help Futaba win the heart of her crush, Toma, Taichi realizes that perhaps he likes Futaba also! This series will have many twists and turns, but will keep you smiling and routing for true love until the end!
Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: This book may be challenged for its LGBTQIA+ series content. It also discusses ways in which Futaba can change herself so that she can please Toma. This may be challenged for anti-feminist viewpoints. I would defend this book by stating that the characters begin to realize that changing Futaba’s appearance will not actually help her get a new boyfriend. Taichi and Futaba realize that they might like each other because they have become friends and they offer support and support to one another.
Reason for Inclusion: I included this book in my collection because I wanted to have a manga series and this was relatively new and the premise is engaging and realistic. I really like the author’s ability to capture each character’s emotions. I think that teens will really enjoy this series.
Acidrop. (2021, July 13). Blue Flag Manga Review [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3NaOl6Q1hU
Kaito. (2020). Blue Flag (Vol. 1). Viz Media LLC.
Sara (no last name). (2020, June 9). Blue Flag Vol 1. No Flying No Tights. https://noflyingnotights.com/blog/2020/06/09/blue-flag-vol-1/
Lawrence, B. (2021, March 18). My Manga Shelf Presents: Blue Flag Vol 1-6. The Mary Sue Blog. https://www.themarysue.com/blue-flag-series-review/