Blue Box Volume Two continues showing the developing relationship between Taiki Inomata and Chinatsu Kano.
Blue Box Volume Two
Written by: Kouji Miura
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: January 3, 2023
At the beginning of the volume, Taiki discovers that he’s been paired up with Kengo Haryu, the guy that Taiki views as competition for Chinatsu. Kengo overhears Taiki talking with Kyo and finds out Taiki has a crush on Chinatsu. Kengo pushes Taiki hard during their training, and later, Taiki finds out that Kengo thinks that Taiki shows some potential after putting up with his grueling training. This is said in front of Chinatsu, and it’s at this time that Taiki learns that Kengo already has a girlfriend. Not surprisingly, Taiki is relieved by this revelation.
Unfortunately, this relief is rather short-lived. First, Taiki discovers that a badminton player from another school named Ichiro Kishisho, who was a teammate of Kengo’s back in middle school, has a crush on Chinatsu and wants Kengo to give him her contact information. Kengo makes a wager: if Taiki is unable to defeat Ichiro in the singles competition the next week, Kengo will ask Chinatsu if he can give Ichiro her contact information.
There’s also a misunderstanding that happens between Taiki and Chinatsu, which is due in large part to the fact that Chiantsu doesn’t realize that Taiki has a crush on her. But this misunderstanding gives Taiki even more of an incentive to beat Ichiro at the match.
Ryo, Taiki’s friend and teammate, ends up playing a larger role here than he did in Volume One. While he’s still primarily around to be someone for Taiki to talk to and confide in, Ryo takes an action on his own on the day of the singles match. Chinatsu shows up, and Ryo tells her about the wager that was made regarding her contact information. He then gives Chinatsu the idea of taking Taiki to the aquarium if he wins as a way to reward him. I know this is a spoiler, but Taiki wins the match, and Chinatsu asks Taiki to go to the aquarium. Taiki is obviously nervous and wondering if this can be considered a date. We get an entire chapter devoted to the trip to the aquarium, and I liked how this ended up playing out.
We also see some more of Taiki’s friend, Hina. For a lot of the volume, we see her cheering on Taiki and Chinatsu. However, as she sees them getting closer, we see Hina becoming more emotional. I thought Miura was hinting at Hina having feelings for Taiki back in Volume One, and a couple of scenes near the end of this volume seem to confirm the suspicions I had about her back in Volume One. Right at the end of the volume, Hina also discovers that Chinatsu is staying at Taiki’s house… and this only seems to add to Hina’s confusion about her feelings for Taiki.
Volume Two resolved the “Is Kengo in love with Chinatsu?” question a lot faster than I had anticipated. To be honest, I thought this thread would run a little longer before being resolved. But rather quickly, the new obstacle of Ichiro having a crush on Chinatsu and wanting her contact information was introduced. Even with this being introduced, this new threat still didn’t last long. The awkwardness and misunderstanding between Taiki and Chinatsu ran through most of the volume, but the misunderstanding, at least, was resolved by the end of Volume Two. It seems like the stage is being set for Hina and her confusion over her feelings for Taiki to take center stage for Volume Three. And if that’s the case, I think the question here will be whether this thread will continue on for a while in the series, or if Miura will somehow find a way to resolve this by the end of Volume Three. I think there’s a lot of potential with Hina, though, so I’m hoping her thread will run for a little while longer.
Even with the fast resolutions of obstacles for Taiki in Volume Two, I still felt that overall, the story of Taiki and Chinatsu continued in a realistic manner. The depiction of Taiki as a teenage boy trying to hide his feelings from his crush, especially now that they’re living under the same roof, comes across as genuine. Admittedly, Chinatsu’s feelings toward Taiki are a little harder to read at this point. While there are occasional panels that seem to indicate that perhaps she might have a romantic interest in him, they don’t feel quite as blatant as Hina’s feelings are.
If you read and enjoyed the first volume of Blue Box, then I think you’ll also appreciate how the story progresses in Volume Two.
The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media
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