Considered one of the finest examples of ‘yuri’ (lesbian) manga around, Sweet Blue Flowers’ high school setting may not be original, but its dramatic tone sure is.
Wandering Son creator Takako Shimura’s story follows Akira Okudaira and Fumi Manjome, two girls who were close friends in kindergarten before Fumi’s family moved away. Now the fam is back in the area, and both girls are studying at the same high school. One thing Fumi has never told Akira is that she was her first love – but before she can spill the beans, Fumi meets tomboyish senior student Yasuko Sugimoto. Their relationship blossoms after Yasuko kisses Fumi – leaving our protagonist torn between her old love Akira and her new-found friend.
Adapted as an anime back in 2009, Sweet Blue Flowers’ main appeal is how convincing its drama is. While there’s no shortage of yuri manga about schoolgirls – if anything, there’s way too many, which is why an adult-focused series like After Hours is so refreshing – the character interaction in Sweet Blue Flowers is much more true-to-life than is standard. For starters, teenage Fumi’s lesbianism is treated seriously rather than just played for laughs – take her tearful reaction when others question her sexuality after she comes out as gay, for example. Reviewed by Ian Wolf
Credits: Takako Shimura
Publisher: Viz Media
Release Date: Out Now
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