The shounen manga that mixes badminton and romantic baby steps with an admirable senpai is back in Blue Box Vol. 2. The regional preliminaries for the national tournaments are about to start. As such, the new volume focuses more on the sport than the previous one.
However, we start the volume with a big twist: Taiki will have to play doubles with his newfound rival, Haryu-senpai. His goal was to surpass the guy, so the news shocked our protagonist to the point he spilled the beans. Haryu now knows Taiki likes Chinatsu.
Considering the disparity of their experience levels, Haryu decides to give Taiki hell. After all, one is a top star in the badminton team while the other is a newcomer who needs to improve his form. However, Taiki’s determination is enough that nothing should break his spirit. If anything, it’d be more likely to appeal to his masochistic tendencies.
Once we get to the actual matches, we see Haryu’s harsh comments are the unembellished truth. Taiki won’t be in the nationals without improving his skills considerably, which comes down to more training. We can probably expect more effort from him in the upcoming volumes.
Meanwhile, we do see his improvement in a singles match. Haryu praises his levelheadedness when Taiki plays against a guy from another school who wants Chinatsu’s phone contact. By taking it slow at first to understand how his adversary plays, Taiki tired him out with a strategy he wouldn’t have used before.
However, despite developing the sports side a little more, Blue Box Vol. 2 is still centered around character relationships. Matches are short, and the in-between scenes are just as important. Though the characters are 100% passionate about their respective sports, their bonds are their motivation. Nothing better than a date with the senpai you love and admire to give you an extra step toward your goal.
Funnily, while Blue Box Vol. 2 shows an improvement in Taiki’s and Chinatsu’s relationship, another character had the most intriguing highlights: Hina Chono. Of course, we already knew she loved to tease Taiki, but Vol. 2 makes her character nuances clearer and gives some extra depth to her character.
Underneath her girly and approachable aura, Hina’s a promising rhythmic gymnastics athlete. She may have talent, but there’s no doubt she made a lot of effort to be someone so relevant in her area while still being a first-year. And when it comes to Taiki, Hina does her best to see him happy but hates how he only has eyes for someone else and is leaving her behind. When Taiki doesn’t trust her about Chinatsu’s circumstances, there’s no doubt she feels betrayed.
Blue Box Vol. 2 lets us see more of its sports side as we approach the preliminaries to the national tournament. As the characters’ hearts and minds shift into the competition mood, the manga highlights the importance of their relationships. The teenage years offer turbulent times for them as they struggle to figure out how to act. Right now, Hina seems the one closest to break, which should bring a bitter tone to the series in the future.
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