Blue Flag is a wonderful coming-of-age story in which characters navigate the difficult mores of identity, relationships, love, sexuality, and the choices we make. 

In the second part of our retrospective on KAITO’s manga, special guests Maxy Barnard, Ace Christman, and SimplyGee! join us to discuss the broader themes of the story and the way in which it articulates them in uniquely impactful, relatable ways.

First, we share our history with the series and KAITO, and give a spoiler-free review of the first volume to describe what sets this story apart from other romantic dramas through its characters, themes, and art! 

Then we discuss the series as a whole, honing in on specific characters like Masumi and Mami and exploring their roles in the story, empathizing with the feelings of self-loathing and defeatism in our main trio of protagonists. We also answer some listener questions addressing some of the more complicated, and controversial, parts of the story – including how it handles its LGBTQ representation, the mixed messages in the conversation with Kensuke, the flash-forward ending, and more!

In the time since we’ve recorded this, Blue Flag has been added to the Shonen Jump Vault! Please check it out and support the release! We have a lot of love for this series about love, and we hope you love it just as much!

PODCAST BREAKDOWN:

00:30 – Intro 

04:35 – Blue Flag Volume 1 Spoiler-Free Review

06:35 – Background & Context
07:38 – Maxy’s History with Blue Flag
08:48 – Gee’s History with Blue Flag
09:37 – Lum’s History with Blue Flag
11:22 – Ace’s History with Blue Flag
13:07 – Colton’s Experiences with KAITO and Blue Flag
15:40 – First Impressions of the First Volume
18:45 – KAITO’s Art & Paneling
23:42 – Self-Loathing & Compassion
27:28 – The Love Triangle Misdirect
31:57 – Love Triangles, Misunderstandings, & Communication
37:06 – What It Means to Love Someone & Different Types of Relationships

40:18 – Blue Flag Full-Series Retrospective

41:35 – Taichi, the Cat, and Toma’s Accident
49:09 – How You Perceive Yourself and How Others Perceive You
53:41 – Mami and Rejecting Prejudices & Stereotypes
1:02:05 – In-between Chapter Illustrations & Animal Avatars
1:04:27 – The True Moral of Blue Flag: Kensuke Fucking Sucks
1:08:05 – Different Perspectives & Internal Conflicts
1:11:56 – KAITO’s Artistic Versatility & Humor
1:19:29 – Background Character Depth
1:21:48 – Subtle Characterization through the Art
1:28:15 – Relatability & Re-readability
1:31:25 – Length & Focus
1:40:22 – Ace’s Lettering Insights

1:44:12 – Blue Flag Q&A’s

1:44:22 – Which Story Arc Was Most Successful in Presenting LGBTQ Themes and Experiences?
1:55:03 – Do you Feel the Manga’s Tackling of Homophobia was Well-handled?
2:00:06 – Thoughts on the Response to and Acceptance of Homosexuality in the Series?
2:02:11 – The Masumi Question
2:11:08 – Weird Double Standard About Queer Ships
2:13:15 – Thoughts on The Final Chapter & the Theme of Change
2:19:40 – Surprising Spoilers
2:21:05 – Who is Our Favorite Character?
2:24:24 – Would we like to see KAITO return to Weekly Shonen Jump?
2:27:06 – Short-Lived & Obscure Series We Want Licensed!
2:28:58 – Does Blue Flag Need More Lesbians?
2:30:00 – Which Taichi Nerd Shirt is Your Favorite?
2:31:37 – Which Character Do You Relate to the Most?
2:34:54 – Should the Series Have Explored the T in LGBT More?
2:46:14 – What is our Favorite Flag?

2:47:40 – Guest Plugs 

2:55:30 – Community Shout-Outs! 

3:11:26 – Wrap-Up

Enjoy the show, and follow us on twitter at @manga_mavericks, on tumblr at mangamavericks.tumblr.com, and on Youtube! You can also follow the hosts on Twitter at @sniperking323 and @lumranmayasha. If you’d like to help support the show financially you can pledge to our Patreon and receive some awesome rewards like our Patreon-exclusive Bonus pods! If one-time donations are more your speed you can donate to Colton’s Ko-fi here and LumRanmaYasha’s Ko-fi here, and if you want to support LumRanmaYasha’s art and other projects you can follow them @siddartworks on Instagram and Twitter and donate to their personal Patreon. Don’t forget to also like and subscribe to us on Youtube and iTunes and leave us reviews to help us curate the show and create better content!

LINKS:

Black Lives Matter Organizations, Charities, Petitions, & Fundraisers:

Music Featured:

“Shake It Off!” by Taylor Swift
“The Climb” by Miley Cyrus
“True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper
“Change” by Taylor Swift
“Born This Way” by Lady Gaga

About The Author Siddharth Gupta

Siddharth Gupta is an animation student at the School of Visual Arts. Currently residing in NYC, the icy cold, snow-covered neighborhoods of Minnesota will always be his home. An avid animation and comics fan since childhood, he has turned his passion towards being both a creator and a critic. He credits his love for both mediums to Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, which has also defined his artistic and comedic sensibilities. A frequent visitor to his local comic book shop, he is an avid reader and collector, and is particularly fond of manga. His favorite comics include Urusei Yatsura by Rumiko Takahashi, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, The Adventures of Tintin by Herge, Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed, and pretty much anything and everything Deadpool.