Blue Flag Volume 4, is a romance drama manga illustrated and written by mangaka KAITO and published by VIZ Media. Blue Flag centers on a group of friends entering their last year high school who are in an unpredicted love quadrangle. When one of the boys and girls start falling for each other unaware that each of their best friends has already fallen for them.
In the fourth volume of Blue Flag, Toma has an explosive argument with his older brother about not wanting to go to college. Toma’s older brother, Seiya, asks Taichi to find out why Toma doesn’t want to go to college. On the day of Toma’s release from the hospital, Taichi still hasn’t found a way to broach the subject with Toma. Meanwhile, Futaba discovers Taichi’s birthday is coming up, and she decides to invite the group to a fireworks festival so they can all celebrate.
As usual, the artwork in Blue Flag Volume 4 is impressive throughout the volume. I especially enjoy how mangaka, KAITO, uses their artwork to foreshadow upcoming events in the manga. A great example of this in volume 4 is the splash page art that features Taichi, Futaba, Toma, and Masumi. The group of friends unknowingly caught up in a love quadrangle with one another. The artwork features Taichi, Toma, and Masumi are covering their eyes, mouth, and ear, respectively, while Futaba is opening her mouth to say something.
This artwork is a great use of foreshadowing because it hints at each characters’ struggles and issues they are dealing with. Toma is covering his mouth because he is not able to speak freely and openly about his true feelings and sexuality. At the same time, Taichi has his eyes covered because he does not see how others feel about him. Meanwhile, Masumi has her ears covered because she is scared of what other people will think or say about her wanting to date a girl. Lastly, Futaba is the one speaking because what she has to say impact the three other characters while she usually struggles with speaking up for herself and saying what she wants.
Another thing I enjoyed in this volume was the one on one dialogue between Toma and Masumi. Since the beginning of the series, I’ve wanted to see these two characters interact with each other on more friendly terms. Since they are the only two characters throughout the series that are in the same situation and could relate to each other’s feelings.
During their exchange, while it is clear, they still are not the closest of friends. The words exchanged between them show that they have a mutual trust and understanding for each other. That is due to KAITO’s writing skills and ability to make characters’ tone and dialogue feel so authentic and genuine.
Something else I loved about this volume and series overall is how KAITO continues to touch on themes of self-love. For example, there is a flashback of Toma and Futaba’s first meeting; Toma offers words of encouragement to Futaba when she is hard on herself. Toma tells her that she should treat herself as she would treat a best friend. Instead of being harder on oneself, it’s essential to be kind to yourself as you would be for a friend that was feeling down. It is important that KAITO touch on self-love because the main characters are all teenagers at a point in their lives that they each struggle with loving and accepting themselves.
Lastly, one of the best and also heartbreaking moments of this volume is when Toma shares his desire to be himself freely. Toma opens up to Taichi about not wanting to go to college because he wants to get a job as soon as possible to move out and be free. Toma’s words hint at so many things at this moment. Two that stand to me the most are his sexuality and feelings toward Tauchi and the facade he puts on to hide his inner struggles.
This moment continues to add to Toma’s character and gives him more depth as a character overall. It’s just another great example of how KAITO does a terrific job creating genuine characters that readers can’t help to care about and feel connected to.
Overall, Blue Flag Volume 4 is an excellent read, and I can’t recommend it enough. KAITO continues to tell a fantastic story about romance, drama, and more in this volume. From the artwork and writing to the themes and characters Blue Flag Volume 4 is a superb manga that tells a beautiful message of self-love and acceptance that many people can appreciate.
Blue Flag Volume 4 is available in bookstores and online October 20, 2020.
'Blue Flag, Volume 4'
Overall, Blue Flag, Vol. 4 is another great read and I can’t recommend it enough. KAITO continues to tell an amazing story about romance, drama, and more in this volume. From the artwork and writing to the themes and characters Blue Flag, Vol. 4 is a superb manga that tells a message of self-love and acceptance that many people can appreciate.