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Volume 2 of the hit manga Kiss Blue brings us deeper into the maelstrom of self doubt, insecurities, and passion felt between the two main characters, Tomosaka and Noda. Noda grows a lot in this volume. Having closed off his heart after the fiasco in high school, Noda finds that while he has shut others out, he has always had a very meaningful place for Tomosaka. Just how that relates to his ability to have sex with Tomosaka despite him being male and his growing irritation is something he has to explore within his mind and closely examine. Likewise, an encounter with a female classmate who harbours a crush leads to Tomosaka realising that one simply cannot sublimate their feelings, and that he also cannot second guess what someone else feels without first having made his own emotions quite clear. As the two face their inner selves head on, they also confront each other, and it is a huge step forward in maturity for them both. With this, they can move forward.
Just how important this truly is is echoed in the side story about Tomosaka's manager. His best friend and himself once had an encounter as well, and tried the let's not talk about it and be friends like always thing, and it has had lasting effects that are obviously painful to them both. Just how each of the pair choose to deal with it is bitter-sweet, and we come away with a greater understanding for the seeming capriciousness of the flirty but concerned manager. This tale has no happily ever after, but this is a slice of life manga, so it is entirely fitting that not all the lives and relationships have a fairy tale ending. I couldn't help but feel deep regret though as I watched the emotions flit over the evocatively drawn faces, and hope someday to see this manager get his own manga where he can find some measure of happiness, perhaps by moving on.
The art work is as expressive as the first volume, and the way she artistically expresses her characters' actions and moods really strikes a chord. One stand out moment had no words. It was a kiss, but the way their upper bodies clasped even as they sat so awkwardly far apart spoke volumes over just how shy and inwardly afraid they both were despite their previous closeness as friends. Another moment that leapt out was the expression on the manager's face as he prepared to drive off in his car. It was a face filled with regret as well as longing and resignation, and it was painfully lovely to gaze upon. With such skilful artwork and well considered prose work, Kiss Blue wraps up Noda and Tomosaka's story up in a nice package that moves this onto my list as essential BL reading and a future classic of the genre.