Discussing romance and the problems that come with it are often reserved for female friend groups in manga, particularly for high school shoujo stories in the genre. But with Rainbow Days Volume 1, audiences see teen boys navigate high school romance, awkward revelations, and even some heartbreak together. Created, written, and illustrated by Mizuno Minami, the series is published and localized in English by VIZ media through the publisher’s shoujo imprint, Shojo Beat. The Shojo Beat Edition of Rainbow Days is translated and adapted by Max Greenway, features touch-up art and lettering by Inori Fukuda Trant, and is designed by Shawn Carrico and edited by Nancy Thistlethwaite.
Rainbow Days main quartet of leads are friends who couldn’t be more different from each other. Natsuki Hashiba is a dreamer and romantic who longs for love. Tomoya Matsunaga is a self-centered playboy. Keiichi Katakura is a winsome guy with a hidden saucy streak. And then there is Tsuyoshi Naoe, a socially awkward nerd who loves anime, manga, and games. The first hurdle the group faces? Natsuki’s first girlfriend. While the other boys, particularly Keiichi and Tomoya are well acquainted with romance and romancing, Natsuki is just happy that he seems to have finally found the girl of his dreams. Excited to have plans on Christmas Eve, Natsuki feels like he’s finally catching up to his friends who are in relationships. But when the night doesn’t go as expected, he’s lucky to have his friends to fall back on and encourage him to get back into the field.
A slice-of-life story focused on the bromance between four friends; despite the title, this is not a BL story, and you know what? I like it that way. While young women and girls have ample stories of slice-of-life moments, it’s often not the same for young men and boys. Despite being published through VIZ Media’s shoujo imprint, Shojo Beat, the series is easily one that I would recommend teen boys looking for stories about friendship and romantic relationships.
Rainbow Days Volume 1 does a fantastic job of highlighting friendship and how sometimes you need to tell your friends the truth even if it hurts them. Each of the characters are dynamic enough while still embodying their tropes to set the stage for larger discussions about love and life between the boys. That said, this isn’t a series that will have the depth of exploration of something like Blue Flag, but sometimes a feel-good slice-of-life is all you need.
Overall, Rainbow Days Volume 1 is a great start to a promising series. While I hope more depth gets explored beyond just romantic pairings and, let’s say, Keiichi and Tomoya’s proclivities in dating, I’m in love with what we’ve been given so far. I hope this opens the door for more slice-of-life from the perspective of male characters than what we have now.
Rainbow Days Volume 1
Rainbow Days Volume 1 is a great start to a promising series. While I hope more depth gets explored beyond just romantic pairings and, let’s say, Keiichi and Tomoya’s proclivities in dating, I’m in love with what we’ve been given so far. I hope this opens the door for more slice-of-life from the perspective of male characters than what we have now.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime.