Blue Box Vol. 3 Review – Obsessions, Effort, and Failure
Title: Blue Box Vol. 3
Author: Kouji Miura
Release Date: March 7, 2023
Publisher: VIZ Media
Blue Box Vol. 3 continues Hina Chono’s development before it’s time for Taiki’s prefectural qualifiers. Once again, the shounen manga focuses on the characters’ relationships first and foremost, keeping its sports side as a means to an end.
Love can be a complicated mess for people. Despite our best intentions, it can sometimes be a crushing force that surpasses all our barriers. Illogical and hard to ignore, these feelings may even build up the more we try to act against them. For Hina Chono, it’d be so good if she could feel only friendship towards our protagonist Taiki. She knows his genuine love for the basketball-playing senpai Chinatsu and, as a friend, she’d be pleased to see the two happy together.
As an individual, though, this drives her towards a very negative mindset. She isolates herself and tries to push the façade of the happy, bubbly girl with no issues. That is until an accident shows her that no matter what she may think, Hina Chono is but a frail girl, and being alone is a psychological weight she should not endure.
As Taiki tells her to be selfish and act like her usual self, her feelings finally settle down, and she regains her confidence. As frail as Hina may be, she’s a warrior who can do her best against adversity and dedicates everything she has to her craft as a rhythmic gymnastics athlete.
And this is the point Blue Box explores with its sports theme. While it may be closer to a slice-of-life romantic work, it shows how much these activities are more than a pastime for the characters. Be it Hina, Taiki, Chinatsu, or even some of the secondary cast, their relationships with their respective sports borders an obsession.
We get to see this further during Taiki’s and Chinatsu’s preliminaries. As Chinatsu and her teammates hear one of the other teams say the heroine hasn’t improved, this motivates her anger. Though she may look calm and collected, she says she’s the kind who absorbs negative emotions and uses them as motivation to improve.
Later, Blue Box Vol. 3 shows the badminton games, revealing a few rivals. They should continue being relevant in future volumes as they’re supposedly the big names in the region. As the protagonist gets to play against them in short bouts hardly explored in detail, he notices his shortcomings and how his effort isn’t enough to make him a consistent winner in matches.
Now it’s time to reassess his abilities and improve significantly on what he can do. Understanding you’re not the best in something you dedicate all your soul to is a frustrating, disheartening experience, even for someone as cheerful as Taiki. We can only wait and see how much this can improve his performance for future matches.
Blue Box Vol. 3 encapsulates the best parts of the series with sensible drama and character development in the context of sports. Taiki, Hina, and Chinatsu are all protagonists of their own stories and only grow more intriguing with time. With the current events, I hope Vol. 4 will focus on Taiki’s mindset either deteriorating further or giving him the right drive to polish his play style.
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