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by MrAJCosplay,

Blue Box

GN 3

Blue Box GN 3

At long last, the prefectural qualifiers for nationals begin! After his intense training with Haryu, Taiki will finally be put to the test in a grueling doubles match. Can Taiki take down opponents from the formidable Sajikawa High School? Or will his dreams of reaching nationals come crashing down around him?

Blue Box is translated by Christine Dashiell and lettered by Mark McMurray.


I wouldn't go so far as to call Blue Box a traditional sports manga. The story doesn't really go into the mechanics of badminton or basketball. Even though the artwork is incredibly detailed and well framed, there's more emphasis on the results of matches rather than the actual events that take place in them. There are even some parts where we don't see a match at all despite its build up. If I wanted to look at this series as an energetic sports series that was supposed to enthrall me with spectacle, then I would definitely be walking away from it with more criticisms. However, Blue Box progressively makes it more and more clear that this isn't the type of series it's trying to be.

Blue Box is the type of series that comes off more like a comforting slice of life series with a sports theme. At its core, it a simple story about characters who set a specific goal for themselves and try everything they can to achieve it. The reason why it's more focused on the buildup to a match and its results is because sometimes those are the only things that really matter to an athlete. You can spend dozens of hours working out and training, but that doesn't mean anything if you lose. What's more, you could meticulously go over every single individual step of a match, but your first step should be deciding what you want to do next. Are you gonna let the loss weigh you down, or do you use it as fuel to try even harder next time?

Volume 3 leans hard into that message more than the previous books, and I couldn't help but get caught up in its emotions. The repetitive focus on training made the loss hit so much harder. I'm usually not a fan of overly straightforward characters like Taiki, but he works in this story because it doesn't paint him as emotionally bulletproof. He feels that frustration and discouragement, but letting those feelings take over would be pointless, especially when he has someone just as dedicated living under the same roof as him. I can see why he looks up to Chinatsu as a source of inspiration.

Speaking of Chinatsu, I am thankful that this book goes a little bit more into her personality and worldview. We see a bit more of a cheeky sadistic side from her, and her moments of introspection hit a bit harder than they did before. She's definitely developing into more of a character in her own right, as we see her on her own outside of Taiki's perspective. However, my problem with the series so far is that I don't really buy the romantic component as much as I feel like I should after three volumes. I like the fact that the book seemingly used infatuation as an initial spark before focusing more on individual growth, but I don't necessarily feel the romantic chemistry. As friends that understand the frustration of pursuing your goals? Absolutely! But if anything, I feel like Taiki has more chemistry with his best friend Hina, who the story has already established is realizing her feelings.

I'm not the biggest fan of love triangles personally. I'm also not a fan of when a story sets up one character to obviously lose a romantic competition when they have a closer and more personal connection with the lead compared to the primary love interest. But who knows, maybe the book will surprise me with that? I like the slow revelation and even denial of Hina's feelings here, but I think that came at the cost of making me want her to succeed more.

Regardless of where the romantic component of the story goes, if it continues to develop its theme of straightforward dedication with believably emotional moments through trial and error, then I definitely will find myself constantly coming back to the series. The artwork continues to impress me, Taiki attitude is infectious when paired up with the story's motives, and I genuinely like all of these characters. If anything, it's a great thing to read whenever you feel like your own heart is wavering, because sometimes, we just need to see someone keep trying no matter how many walls they might face. I wonder what the next step is in volume 4!

Overall : A-
Story : B+
Art : A

+ Artwork is still great, Chinatsu starts to feel more like a character in her own right, inspiring themes, Hina's arc was well portrayed
Romance between the two main leads needs more work

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Production Info:
Story & Art: Kōji Miura
Licensed by: Viz Media

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