REVIEW: ‘Blue Box,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Blue Box Volume 1 - But Why Tho

Blue Box is easy to describe: sports manga, but make it romance. Created, written, and illustrated by mangaka Kouji Miura, Blue Box Volume 1 is published and localized in English by VIZ Media through its imprint Shonen Jump. The English translation for Blue Box is done by Christine Dashiell, and it features touch-up art and lettering by Mark McMurray.

Taiki Inomata loves badminton but has a long way to go before reaching nationals. An average player, who will have to work hard to achieve his goals, he’s the opposite of his upperclassman Chinatsu Kano. Every morning, Chinatsu practices her heart out on the girls’ basketball team, and while watching that practice, Taiki falls for her hard. However, after an unexpected turn of events brings the two closer together, sports might not be the first thing on their minds anymore.

While it is marketed as a shonen romance, Blue Box’s narrative structure embodies some of the best tropes in shojo romances. That said, the sports element allows the series to flip certain shojo assumptions and give us a hero and a heroine who don’t necessarily fit your expectations. For her part, Chinatsu isn’t your typical wide-eyed and clumsy leading lady with a crush that makes it hard for her to speak.

Instead, she’s a star basketball player, assertive, and chooses to wear basketball shorts and oversized tee-shirts or hoodies at all times. For lack of a better word, she’s a tomboy, and despite not performing the traditional expectations of femininity that we’ve come to expect from love interests, Taiki is in love with her all the same. But it isn’t just a crush because he thinks Chinatsu’s cute. Instead, Taiki is inspired by her and respects her ability to keep pushing past failure and dedication. His crush is built on respect for her as an athlete as much as it’s built on his liking her romantically, and that wholesome foundation helps Blue Box shine.

Taiki and Chinatsu are more connected in the traditional shojo vein than the two realized. While Taiki is attempting to get closer to Chinatsu, with a sports flair to his advances, a turn of events puts the two under the same roof. Now living together, not only will Taiki have to run an audible on his plan to confess, but he has to be aware of what their situation looks like to the people around them.

With dynamic sports moments and even more dynamic explorations of respect and wholesome crushing, Blue Box Volume 1 is fantastic. It’s a potent blend of shonen and shojo and showcases how the demographic elements of manga don’t always need to be separated.

Blue Box Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold digitally, physically, and on the Shonen Jump App.


Blue Box Volume 1
5

TL;DR

With dynamic sports moments and even more dynamic explorations of respect and wholesome crushing, Blue Box Volume 1 is fantastic. It’s a potent blend of shonen and shojo and showcases how the demographic elements of manga don’t always need to be separated.

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