Friday, October 26, 2018

Bloom into You volume 5 is boring and forced (Manga Review)

Touko and Yuu
I LOVED Bloom Into You Volume 4 so I was really excited to see if the character development and writing quality carried over into Volume 5 (published by Seven Seas). Sadly, volume 5 felt like it was treading water (literally) to fill some time, plus some of Touko's internal dialogue felt very forced.

We left the end of Volume 4 with the student council finishing their summer play practice retreat and Yuu and Touko trying to really connect with each other with Yuu also getting a better understanding of Touko's psychology and being concerned by it. Volume 5 picks up with some rewriting of the play and continues into a date between Touko and Yuu before finally getting back into school and final preparations for the play (which ostensibly will be Volume 6).

First, this volume has so much time devoted to a minor side character but that side character hasn't been developed enough to warrant our attention, and nothing here changes that. So I consider that time lost. Sayaka, however, is a side character who is intriguing and central to the story and yet she goes underutilized in this volume. It's a strange (im)balance.

The date between Yuu and Touko, which could be a highlight, ends up being boring and perfunctory. It's a waste of space with little dialogue, less character growth or realization, and no real developments in their relationship. Nothing actually happens on the date. It really felt like meaningless filler. Given how many things could have happened to bring up interesting reflections and conversations between them, this was a missed opportunity. Oh, BTW, they go to the aquarium. They see some fish. That's it for plot pretty much.

In the final chapters, the revised script, one influenced by Yuu wanting to push Touko towards self-realization, is finally introduced. Through this, we get some internal dialogue from Touko and instead of it feeling either 1) like she's really doing some deep reflection or 2) that she's spiraling down, we instead get a strange middle ground where it feels like she's telling us things we already know in a very expository way. Not strong writing and it feels forced. I'm not feeling as hopeful that this is going anywhere as I was after volume 4. I also still don't believe the underlying psychology of Touko's desire to "be" her sister. There's a contrived aspect to it.

At the end, without spoiling, there is yet more proof that Yuu is an exceptionally written character with a consistent and meaningful internal psychology. It's moments like this that make me wish Nio-sensei could maintain this skill in the rest of her writing. But overall, we had to go through 5 1/2 pretty meaningless chapters to get one really good scene.

Each volume of this series has been inconsistent, and the series itself has been inconsistent. So while I loved volume 4, I felt volume 5 was pretty much a waste. It's not bad, but it's not anything to write home about. 6/10 for blandness.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Remember: please talk about the work, and offer counter points to others' analyses but DO NOT ATTACK THE PERSON whose analysis you are countering. (no ad hominem comments) Thanks! <3