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REVIEW: That Blue Sky Feeling GN 2




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Alexis.Anagram



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:01 am Reply with quote
Glad to see this is out. The first volume was a nice read, although Noshiro makes for something of a confounding POV character for this kind of story: I'm curious to see if there is an angle of real self-discovery to his antics or not, but part of the problem with centering his perspective is that it can run the risk of making this a story more for heterosexual readers and about gay characters, like a guidebook for allies ("Do's and Dont's With Your Gay Pals!"). It's true that microaggressions like those underlying the hook-up fiasco described here are a real, daily experience, but to frame Noshiro as both the instigator and the benefactor of that kind of "teachable moment" is iffy (if that's how the manga presents it, I'm drawing from an idea of the narrative).

Sanada forming an attraction to Noshiro also seems a tad trite, like...sure it's possible to fall for a straight (or perceived straight) guy, especially at a young age when options are more limited, but with Sanada's apparent ability to seek and cultivate connections (as exemplified by his ex) I'm left wondering what it is about Noshiro that holds Sanada's attention...especially if he believes he doesn't have a shot with him. It could be interesting if we get more of Sanada's side of the dynamic, but using it to help Noshiro connect the dots (that may or may not be there) seems like crossing wires for the sake of it. The fact that this new student also has eyes for Noshiro is just pushing it. Gay guys are perfectly capable of finding happy, healthy relationships with other gay guys. Really.

I also hope Ayumi isn't left too much out of the mess of it, or if she is that she gets her due as a character who doesn't deserve to be made to feel like a third wheel. I'd frankly be a little more interested in her relationship with Sanada, and the personal history they share. I feel like it very much matters whether Sanada knew that Ayumi is attracted to him and chose to ignore it, as there's a very relatable story with a lot of potential nuance in there: queer people, especially queer kids, don't often just stumble by pure luck into supportive circles. We're cautious, we're perceptive, we find the people we can trust and the more hostile the environment the more cautious and adept at surviving we become. At the same time that can make forming and maintaining stable relationships with space for real vulnerability difficult, and all kinds of complicated. As Sanada affirmed his own feelings about others with himself, I wonder how he thought that would impact his relationship with Ayumi? That feels like the kind of perspective this story could benefit from engaging.
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:28 am Reply with quote
These are all excellent points; thank you for raising them. There is an unfortunate "teachable moment" aspect to the festival fiasco, but for me at least it was overshadowed by Noshiro's realization that he wasn't taking gender into consideration when he was trying to figure out what to do about Makoto. This feels less like a "guide to your gay friends for straight kids" series and more like it's moving towards Noshiro's understanding that his own sexuality is more nuanced than he ever considered.

As for Makoto's crush on Noshiro, spoiler[that stems from a misunderstanding - he does think that Noshiro is gay because he misinterprets what Noshiro is saying.] Sanada's a bit trickier, but he is actively fighting the feelings because of his perception of Noshiro as straight. It's presented more in the vein of the usual manga romance trope of "falling for the best friend," which still isn't great from a realistic perspective, but also isn't as bad as it could be.

We'll just have to keep reading for the Ayumi angle. I don't see her going anywhere and she is an important friend for Sanada, so hopefully it will be handled well.
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#HayamiLover



Joined: 22 Jul 2018
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:50 am Reply with quote
Thanks for reviewing this manga! I am really glad to see that people are interested in LGBTQ from various angles, and not just mainstream yuri, which has noticeably monopolized qeer representation in anime and manga lately. Especially in male-focused magazines like the Gangan that published this manga.

@Princess_Irene I would not say that this is a bad cliché, since such plots usually tell about characters who are non aware about their sexuality, so this experience fits into the story normally. At least it's better than the toxic cliché "a girl falls in love with a boyish girl / boy falls in love with a girly boy", which in my opinion is an attempt to hide homosexuality under the carpet as "a false signal of the heterosexual norm".
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:00 pm Reply with quote
#HayamiLover wrote:
Thanks for reviewing this manga! I am really glad to see that people are interested in LGBTQ from various angles, and not just mainstream yuri, which has noticeably monopolized qeer representation in anime and manga lately. Especially in male-focused magazines like the Gangan that published this manga.


You're welcome! Honestly, I'm much more interested in (and invested in as someone who falls under the "Q+" part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum) stories like this. I do enjoy most narratives, queer or otherwise, but the more varied the perspectives and topics, the better off we all are.

Quote:
@Princess_Irene I would not say that this is a bad cliché, since such plots usually tell about characters who are non aware about their sexuality, so this experience fits into the story normally. At least it's better than the toxic cliché "a girl falls in love with a boyish girl / boy falls in love with a girly boy", which in my opinion is an attempt to hide homosexuality under the carpet as "a false signal of the heterosexual norm".


That's a good point. It's something that bothers me in both BL and GL, so using the trope is a more positive way, as a means for Noshiro to really think about who he is, is a step in the right direction. Tropes don't need to be used poorly, they just so often are. Confused
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#HayamiLover



Joined: 22 Jul 2018
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:55 am Reply with quote
@Princess_Irene Well, I can “forgive” a lot, as long as sexuality or gender identity is portrayed as a natural part of the character's personality and it is not politicized. Therefore, I like works like Shimanami Tasogare, Yagatte Kimi ni Naru or Blue Sky, they show the life of real people in the real world, and not another variation of GL / BL tropes and archetypes.
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Alexis.Anagram



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
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Location: Mishopshno
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:18 pm Reply with quote
Princess_Irene wrote:
These are all excellent points; thank you for raising them. There is an unfortunate "teachable moment" aspect to the festival fiasco, but for me at least it was overshadowed by Noshiro's realization that he wasn't taking gender into consideration when he was trying to figure out what to do about Makoto. This feels less like a "guide to your gay friends for straight kids" series and more like it's moving towards Noshiro's understanding that his own sexuality is more nuanced than he ever considered.

As for Makoto's crush on Noshiro, spoiler[that stems from a misunderstanding - he does think that Noshiro is gay because he misinterprets what Noshiro is saying.] Sanada's a bit trickier, but he is actively fighting the feelings because of his perception of Noshiro as straight. It's presented more in the vein of the usual manga romance trope of "falling for the best friend," which still isn't great from a realistic perspective, but also isn't as bad as it could be.

Thanks for clarifying these points, I think I have a better understanding of where the manga is headed, and I'm definitely looking forward to getting my hands on it. My main concern is just that question of how Noshiro's character will be handled; I already felt like Sanada was a strong and relatable protagonist, and from the sounds of it Makoto is more thoughtfully depicted than I had considered.

Princess_Irene wrote:
We'll just have to keep reading for the Ayumi angle. I don't see her going anywhere and she is an important friend for Sanada, so hopefully it will be handled well.

Heh, well I'm a bit of a sucker for childhood friendships that transcend romantic ties in their qualities of support and connection so it's a personal wish of mine.

Princess_Irene wrote:
Honestly, I'm much more interested in (and invested in as someone who falls under the "Q+" part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum) stories like this. I do enjoy most narratives, queer or otherwise, but the more varied the perspectives and topics, the better off we all are.

Definitely agreed; I'm also hopeful for more genre-defining/defying queer stories that don't necessarily center common queer tropes (figuring it out/being closeted/coming out) as the end all be all of our experiences and interests. Give me my queer horror/thrillers, give me some gay baseball/basketball/volleyball players, give me (more) trans magical girls, let the next specially gifted Chosen One superheroninjaswordsman love everyone regardless of gender. Like I just finished The Promised Neverland anime and despite being allowed to stick to my reading of Ray's feelings for Norman as certified sweetheart material for now, I'm tired of having to brace myself for the "but he gets force paired with the main girl because actually no homo" eventuality.

But yeah, I'm still glad we have material like Blue Sky being published. Thanks for the review!
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