THIS, is what Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru could have been.
THIS IS HOW YOU WRITE CHARACTERS, A LOVE TRIANGLE, A DRAMA, SOL.
I will savor the criticisms of Yahari for some other post, but to keep it short, it cuts out a lot of the nonsensical edginess with hard hitting drama, addressing common themes that occur in youth with a more "realist" outlook.
I normally dislike the "slice of life" genre because the characters and plot moves too slow. This series is the golden standard on how to do drama and SOL in a way that keeps the fire hot. Every panel, every chapter,
every piece of dialog just flows like butter and contributes to developing the characters or moving the plot.
Characters & Story:
Being a character driven story, the characters are top notch. Honestly the story seems extremely surreal. The themes of drift between friends as they progress through school,
the restrictions of what society places for boys growing up into "men" (cut off creativity and imagination and get real),
the loss of childhood imagination because of the ridicule on creative works(custom battle pencils) that aren't practical,
the gossipy bullying girls experience (as a guy, holy shits),
the thorns and complications with romance, of misunderstandings and miscommunication,
and the struggle of self acceptance.
As they say, "you can only love someone else to the extent you love yourself" and it shows very hard in this manga.
THE MAIN CHARACTERS HATE THEMSELVES, and throughout the entire story, they slowly grow and learn how to express themselves honestly.
SPOILERS ON CHARACTERS HERE:
Kuze Futaba is a ditzy clumsy whimsical anxious character, seen by society and her family as an airhead who isn't capable of much, condemned harshly when making mistakes, and if not only pretending to be clumsy because it's "cute". Seeing her being socially crippled by anxiety to growing out of her shell was remarkable.
Mita Touma, strong, athletic, the all around pretty perfect guy. Also is in sort of the same boat with Taichi in just wanting to do stuff that are "unmanly"(baking madelines Tachi's for birthday).
Ichinose Taichi is a creative crafty person, enjoying making his own toys when he was younger but threw it all away due to ridicule because it was "lame" and wasn't as cool as being good at sports, etc. He decides to play everything normal and not embrace his passions, a lost soul wishing to be more like his best friend Mita, athletic strong and liked by everyone. In denial and un-confident, unable to see his positive aspects, he redicules himself whenever he feels pain as it pales in comparison to what his best friend struggled with, scourging himself, not letting allow to mourn.
Yahari - She is bitchy, she is annoying, she keeps getting in our characters way, but she breaks the 4th wall and shouts at the audience as to why we hate her. She reveals that she's just too playful as a person and this screwed her over because her girlfriends bullied her thinking she was trying to steal their boyfriends. The author knew what we were thinking of her and blew it out of the water.
Itachi Masumi - haven't seen her backstory yet, but in the progress.
the flustering, the drama of miscommunication, misunderstanding, it all intermingles so well with the characters as they can't accept and embrace themselves for who they are, and live honestly
The character development, the slick progressive flow of the story, the growth of our characters, fricken RIGHT IN THE KOKORO HERE LADS. Puts the "D" in good drama.
Caught up with all 30ish chapters that were out in one night. Curse that it kept me up making me lose sleep but this is how I tell a manga is good. When you can't stop turning the pages, you know!
A good manga compared to the huge load of fantasy manga that keeps coming out... As other people have said, the path this manga is going towards is pretty predictable... But hey, who doesn't want to read something realistic for once?
The story itself is pretty good, very realistic. The development of the characters is decent too. All of the MCs seem to be in a situation where they are not fully sure of the decisions they will make in the future. They kind of help each other to know their true feelings towards each other. But many paths seem to be open in my opinion
as to who ends up with who.
The art is pretty cute, though their heights are a bit changed throughout... Like from one scene they're really small then they look like they have normal heights... But anyway, the art was still good for me. Overall an 8.
But if you want something unique, this isn't what I'd recommend.
Overall, this manga is quite predictable to anyone who has read shoujo manga. The characters have more development than many other shoujo heroines and their ubermensch love interests, and it shows here. Unlike other shoujo manga that you will read purely for enjoyment, you will find yourself invested in these characters and their interactions. The artwork is quite fluffy and expressive, with minimal panel background art.
I gave this manga an 8 because through it's characters it actually got me invested in the story and feeling a similar sense of finality to friends going through their last year at high school together, unsure of their
own selves or their future. 16 chapters is too short to judge whether this will be a success or whether it will just peter out in later chapters. If they keep the plot pacing and provide some real opportunities for character growth, I think it could score even higher.
Story about two guys and one girl, a very interesting love triangle. I don't like these complicated love triangles but in this manga it's actually looks very potential and likeable. MC is trying to help his classmate to confess to his friend but is slowly starting to like her too. Story just naturally progress and presents some original concepts.
Characters are very well done and feel very realistic. MC is kinda average type of character, very normal. His friend on the other hand is very popular within girls and boys. He has a lot of friends but MC
doesn't. Main girl is very cute and shy, but it doesn't feel like her character is too over the top. Just from the start I was easily invested in them because they feel pretty normal, like people I've met at my school too. Interactions between characters are done very well.
Art is very good. Author know how to put panels together and tell a story throught it, nothing feels forced, everything is very clear. It shows emotions in very relatable way. It has also very nice and cute touch to it =)
If you like serious romance which is also cute I think you might like this one.
If it would progress like this and wouldn't end up as one of those boring and overcomplicated cliché things I might continue. So far it's very interesting!!
I feel like some of the other reviews are missing some information about the new recent chapters that have been published, so I felt the urge to write a review.
I still remember, a few months ago, shopping through my local manga store and reaching out to see an interesting cover. It was Ao no flag. I'm gonna be honest, I wasn't planning on buying it, but it did seem interesting enough to give it a try, and so I did.
It's not outstanding at a first glance. Its plot is about a high school boy that, due to some ridiculous coincidences starts helping a girl
in her class that has a crush on the most popular boy, Touma, who happens to be childhood friends with the MC. This relationship may remind you of Toradora, but I found it quite amusing and pleasing how the characters progress from being completely unknown to each other and forging a really nice relationship, with a lot of funny moments.
In these last 15 chapters, I was truly surprised on how it changed, for the best. It started talking about some... let's call them taboo topics, like gender equality and being homosexual. (I really hope you'll experience this on your own).
Art was surprisingly good. When I first started reading this manga, I was gratefully surprised on how good the drawings were, being this not a mainstream manga. I really liked some panels, and how natural the reading was, although it was sometimes kinda difficult to understand who was talking (very few times).
What else can I say? I'm truly enjoying this manga, and I really think it deserves more attention, so I encourage you, a fellow manga reader, to give this manga a try, because it truly does deserve an opportunity.
If someone's curious, as of the time of the writing, it has 45 chapters, and they're releasing new ones every 3 weeks (roughly).
Ao no Flag is a high school drama and SOL done right. While the plot (at first glance) isn't anything super unique, its strength comes from its characters and how they're developed.
It does appear to be a generic high school romance toward the beginning and brings in a lot of stereotypes, but later on it subverts those tropes. Characters are introduced at the beginning that appear one-dimensional, but as the story progresses you get to hear their perspective, and you can definitely see the characters grow (or not grow). There's a surprising amount of life advice imparted throughout.
What impressed me the most is how this
manga handled some topics (e.g. gender equality, homosexuality, love vs the idea of being in love) that are ignored or glossed over in most anime and manga. If you're looking for a standard fluffy mindless high school drama to read, this series might not be for you. But if you want a more realistic, thought-provoking read, I highly recommend Ao no Flag.
Ao no Flag, or Blue Flag translated, has been flying under the radar for too much time. A manga like no other. You won’t find anything even remotely similar to Ao no Flag. So, before we get into the review mind that, if you still haven’t read it and you have some kind of ideologies on society, this manga might not be your cup of tea. Taking that into account, my review will be based off of my enjoyment and point of view alone. Now, without any further interruptions, let’s get to the review. Minor plot points spoilers ahead.
Ao no Flag (AnG for short) is
what you can call a coming of age story, and as such, it deals with many heavy but common themes teenagers go through their adolescence. Everything revolves around love and acceptance, and AnF represents the latters perfectly. The story is about five teenagers, two guys and three girls. They seek for happiness and love, chase dreams for their future, look for a meaning in youth and ask themselves if society is with them or against them. so, when I say that this manga is like nothing else, is because it dives into a yet to be explored territory by japanese authors and goes to a direction you would never expect: the LGBTQ+ community. Therefore, no need to mention that the plot is character-driven. Yes, every chapter is about interactions and relationships, and as it goes on they get more and more complicated. AnF’s story is a thought-provoking one that criticizes society through the eyes and minds of teenagers as they enter the forbidden territory of love. As a consequence, suffering, anger and depression are more than often represented through the actions of the characters: the most important side of this manga.
Every character represents a typical teenager. We have the one guy who can’t accept and comprehend his bestfriend’s sexuality. There’s the shy girl who motivates his boyfriend to make actions for his good. There’s the lesbian who hides his hidden love towards the other main girl and suffer from it and the gay one who doesn’t want to be who he is. And then the last girl introduced who wants to have a normal friendship with a guy and always misunderstood for wanting a friendship with a person of the opposite sex. While these main characters have the purpose of representing the society that differs from the rest, the side characters represent society and its ideology towards the minority. Society is both a blessing and a curse in life. It can either help you or make you feel worse. There’s that one side of it that supports you and the other side that doesn’t want to help you. The main characters find themselves in a harsh society that makes you question about yourself, what is around you and who will stay with you. Touma, Ichinose, Futaba, Musumi and Mami are the ones who will tell their story to you and their social constructivism battle.
The art might be the weakest point of this series. While being a very good drawn manga, it doesn’t have the excellent One Punch Man’s art, the insanely well portrayed horror-ish Mieruko-chan’s artsyle or the unstable but unique drawings of Kimetsu no Yaiba. So yeah, the panels feel clean but as I said they are nothing sort of unique. On the other side, while it might sound both funny and incoherent with what I said before, the art is also the strongest point of the series. Meaning that, the author manages to convey strong feelings through silence. Silence is a very important word for this manga. The characters’ silence play the big part in AnF, and by that I mean hiding their true selves. So, not only it’s important story wise but also artistically speaking wise. There are whole scenes of characters saying absolutely nothing, yet you can feel what they feel. Also, as simple as some scenes can get, the author likes playing around a very interesting first persona view sometimes. You see what they see, nothing more.
Being part of the LGBTQ+ and also an adolescent, of course my enjoyment is out of this world. I can relate to most, if not to every main character in the manga. Fear not, you don’t have to be a teenager or part of the LGBTQ+ family to enjoy this manga. It touches many important themes and I think you’ll find yours. Ao no Flag in less words is a criticism to society through youth. Therefore I recommend you to read this manga for many reasons.
Sorry for my grammar I’m not native speaker and thanks for reading! Hope you found this review hopeful!
This is such a beautiful manga. Not just the art: the plot, the romance, drama, the characters and the joy and pain you feel with them while accompanying them through their last year of high school. It is not perfect (nothing is perfect), but everything fits really well together and while the story may not be the most unique, it is executed beautifully and in such a grounded and realistic way. It is painful to see the protagonists Touma, Taichi and Futaba (and Masumi) struggle and there is always this underlying feeling that the way things are now, at least one of them is going
to end up unhappy. But you see them trying so hard and living so earnestly and you just want the best for them. The characters are so inspiring and touching in a way that they make you think about your own life and the decisions you made. This manga really is worth a try in my opinion, but it shouldn't be rushed (honestly it would be hard to rush because the art is so good (the author has a really nice style) and some of the chibi drawings are just too cute).
At first glance this seems like your typical shojo manga, though on the more well drawn side of shojo, the lame dude gets close to a girl to help her with a guy and they end up falling for each other, love triangles etc. However, as the story progresses I was really pleasantly surprised by the depth of these characters and their interactions, ESPECIALLY in the more recent chapters! (say 30 onward). It touches on some difficult topics and the mangaka was able to really accurately depict a number of opposing biases, in a way that makes you question your own standing in the conflicts
as well. I think when the characters argue with each other, we get the most interesting bits, where there are complex and sometimes contradictory high school students that are figuring themselves out.
Good LGBT+ representation! Done tastefully
I'm really looking forward as to how things will go on from here. If you are considering reading or continuing to read, I recommend you to power through the initial clump of chapters because its worth it.
p.s: My favorite character is Mami, as I felt I could relate to her the best.
I have never before heard about this manga by anyone online or in real life and im so thankful that i did find it. By accident i came across a manga that fully embraces what "Slice of life" means by giving a story that fills us with all emotions we experience in our lives. I would recommend it for most people who like romance stories. I hope more people will find and read this great manga.
Although the story is by no means a brand new plot that has never been done before, its still great at what it does. It doesnt need or try
to become something different, instead it focuses on being amazing at what it tries to do.
One of the great Things about manga is that it can show us the characters emotions in other ways than Words. I personally love the way the art style changes to fit the mood or emotions of the characters. It makes it possible to create funny and cute moments and turn it into a deeper and realistic style in a fitting way.
The reason the whole story works so well is only due to the characters and their great dynamics. The story manages to explain to us the complex nature of our characters with their romantic feelings and self doubts. We see our characters wanting to grow and find their ideal self through the other character which gives us a clear understanding of who they are. They are flawed and awkward, but still we find them great due to their inner self and strengths that we as the reader get to observe.
I found myself extremely invested in the story and characters. I am usually very Critical to rating Things, but i found myself loving for the manga before i knew it. The romantic feelings between the characters dont feel forced which gives a great vibe.
Overall i found myself enjoying this manga very much and im sure that most people who read it will enjoy it as well.