Brilliant Blue Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Release Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2009
This slice-of-life romance comes to a quiet close.
Author/Artist: Saemi Yorita
Translation: Ken Wakita
What They Say
Life is full of obstacles, and the path leading from Shouzo and Nanami’s obvious feelings for one another is littered with more than a few. Not the least of which is Shouzo’s own self-doubt about a possible romantic relationship between the two of them. Can Shouzo overcome his personal and professional concerns and learn to follow his heart instead? Or is the growing attraction between he and Nanami destined to result in a damaging blow-up neither of their reputations will survive?
Content (May contain spoilers)
After the events of the first volume, Nanami is now smitten with his hero Shouzo. Shouzo, while not trying to come off as manipulative, waits impatiently for Nanami to make a move on him that goes further than a kiss. All of these romantic yearnings are hidden from their families and community, no small feat considering that both still live at home.
It’s not long before Nanami finally goes against his brother’s warnings and relaxes enough to take the next step with Shouzo. And because it’s Nanami, it’s also not long before his brothers find out and forbid him from seeing Shouzo outside of work. They even go so far as to order Nanami to get a hair cut and shave off his dyed blond hair. Nanami is distraught, Shouzo is annoyed, and it escalates to Shouzo sneaking off for a night alone with Nanami.
The resolution to the conflict of family obligations and societal expectations is surprisingly tame. The world doesn’t end around them, and the end result is a fair portrayal of what happens when a family realizes that there are more important things to worry about than your child’s sexual orientation. (Such as the possibility that reactions towards them might have lead the couple to run off and commit suicide.) The lack of excessive drama is a nice touch considering that Shouzo and Nanami are adults, even if Nanami never acts like one outside of his work.
Nanami continues to be my lead complaint about the series. He speech patterns make him sound like a five year old. I’m not sure if the translation could have done something to alleviate that or if it was that pronounced in Japanese. Whether it’s the fault of the author or translator, surely there was some other way to show that Nanami isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed without the creepy childlike speech mannerisms.
The last third of the book takes place six months after Shouzo and Nanami cement their relationship. Shouzo is still clearly self conscious of his reputation and how the community sees him, but is more concerned with a new employee apprenticing to the family business. There’s a surprising lack of focus on Shouzo and Nanami’s relationship and the story centers more on the mechanisms of their continuing everyday lives. There’s a quiet humor to the events, and a lesson about not prejudging people, but it’s probably just an excuse for the author to draw Nanami with longer hair again.
Brilliant Blue is almost as much a story of everyday life as it is a romance. In the end, Shouzo remains down to earth and Nanami remains frustratingly naive. It has the same lazy pace that most slice of life stories have, with subtle humor and wry smiles. It adds a certain air of maturity to Shouzo and his struggles with having a relationship with Nanami in a small town. It also results in the story being fairly benign. There’s no high drama, and the conflict and it’s resolution are simple affairs. Probably too simple for people who are looking for something with more zest.
Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Brilliant Blue