That Blue Sky Feeling Volume 1
That Blue Sky Feeling is a different kind of manga series. It’s about two schoolboys, one of whom is thought to be gay, but it’s not an explicit romance or BL (boys’ love). Instead, it’s about friendship and learning to think about others, regardless of how like you or different from you they are. It’s a likable coming-of-age story that reflects how amorphous lines have become these days, written by Okura and illustrated by Coma Hashii.
Noshiro is the excited guy on the cover. He’s new to this school, and he’s intrigued by Sanada, the loner. Everyone else leaves Sanada alone because he’s said to be gay. Noshiro is curious, though, particularly since Sanada seems to be quietly aware of himself.
Noshiro is something of a bull in a china shop, pushing ahead no matter the subtleties. He keeps trying to hang around Sanada until Sanada confirms the rumor. This doesn’t change Noshiro’s feelings, that ostracizing someone is wrong, but it puts a new twist on Noshiro’s naiveté about relationships and what it means to like someone.
What’s being a friend mean when kids are starting to think about boyfriends and girlfriends? Can Noshiro see Sanada as himself, regardless of his orientation? Why is it easier to interpret other people’s motivations than to truly know yourself?
I enjoyed the way That Blue Sky Feeling did a good job walking a tricky tightrope. In large part that’s due to how appealing Noshiro is, as a truly nice guy who means well. He doesn’t always get things right the first time but his energy and determination are inspiring. He’s trying to be more thoughtful about some difficult questions, but he’s always accepting, eventually.
He’s good at fitting in because he’s moved around so much, so his first impulse is to help Sanada do the same. He winds up learning a lot more about himself, though, particularly after a conversation with Sanada’s much older ex-boyfriend. I’m rooting for these kids to keep their friendship, whatever it ends up being and however they demonstrate it to each other. I like that the message is that it’s ok to be yourself.