That Blue Sky Feeling vol. 1

Recently I finished reading the first volume of That Blue Sky Feeling (Sorairo Flutter in Japanese), written by Okura and drawn by Coma Hashii and I gotta say…I really enjoyed it!

It’s a sweet BL, Slice of Life, Drama where we see our main character, Noshiro Dai, build an adorable friendship with classmate Sanada Kou, who we quickly learn is gay.

The relationships in this volume were written very nicely. We see Sanada slowly open up to Noshiro in certain ways, though he’s still pretty closed off in other ways. Noshiro is a pretty honest guy, open and friendly, who seems to really care about Sanada and wants to do right by him. It’s a very soft kind of story, even the drama didn’t feel particularly angsty.

One thing I like is that there’s an older gay man named Hide, who is Sanada’s ex-boyfriend (and I can say a lot about how I personally feel with a 26 year old dating a 17 year old, or maybe younger but whatever), who helps both boys deal with their feelings.

While I find the art style clean and soft (like the rest of the story) I think there are times it looks kind of wonky and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but overall Hashii’s art really helps bring the story to life in this volume. I especially like the body types of Noshiro and Hide (Sanada has a type) which breaks away from what I’m used to seeing in BL and its a welcomed change.

You can read That Blue Sky Feeling online but it has been licensed by Viz Media and I recommend buying the official release if you can. I consider it worth the purchase.

note: maybe unimportant to most but i refer to this story as BL because that’s how I’ve seen it listed (shounen ai) and i know there are people who get up in arms about separating BL, which is seen as primarily targeting (straight) women, Gay Manga/Bara which primarily targets gay/bi men, and like Yaoi, which is porn. But I don’t want split hairs.

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The Maze Runner Chapter 23

So more cool-down time, Thomas has a lot on his mind. He’s worried about Alby, worried about hat the Changing will do to him, still thinking about the girl, and the real weight of being trapped inside the Maze.

Night falls and the doors close, Thomas and Chuck talk. Thomas doesn’t seem too comfortable with all the praise her’s getting. A part of him feels proud of what he had accomplished but another part of him feels like shit.

Newt, who seems to be the new guy in charge, is having a rough time. We learn a bit more about the Changing and the fact that boys who go through it come out very unlikable.

Makes me wonder about Gally though. What was he like before and why was he in the Maze in the first place? I don’t think he was a Runner, in the beginning, he’s a Builder. Why did he go into the Maze?

But we know Thomas is going to be the subject of an upcoming Gathering which should be interesting at the very least.

Just an okay chapter.

The Maze Runner Chapter 22

This chapter is the aftermath of chapter 21.

It starts right where the last one left off. Thomas and Minho are standing at the cliff with Thomas crying his eyes out. It wasn’t emotionally effective to me, but for someone who found the previous chapter frightening I think this would work well as an opener.

Thomas managed to pull himself together and looked over the edge, trying to figure out where the Grievers vanished to. He doesn’t see anything and finds it impossible (as do I). I know where this is all leading up to, but I still find it ridiculous.

There’s some more talk about what they differently (Minho doesn’t know), and how none of the boys seemed to have any idea what the cliff is. Things like rocks don’t vanish from sight, but the Grievers appeared to.

It seems like all of the boys are hyper focused on solving the Maze, and while I understand that, with the way Thomas came in and asked all these questions and tried to put things together it seems like he’s the only one who is trying to find other solutions.

It’s possible that they all came up empty but it pushes Thomas into “The Special” category and not in an interesting way.

Minho and Thomas made it back to where Alby was put and found a search party looking for them, or, more likely, looking for their bodies. Everyone is surprised that they made it through the night and even more so that Alby can potentially still be saved.

Thomas and Minho are taken to get medical treatment and rest. Thomas has some fleeting thoughts about the girl (still don’t buy their connection) and then he falls asleep.

We end the chapter with confirmation that Alby is in fact alive and is going through the Changing.

It’s a fine chapter, slow, but that makes sense compared to the previous chapter. All in all it’s pretty okay.

The Maze Runner Chapter 21

In this chapter Thomas and Minho (yeah, he’s back) run from the Grievers and throw them off a Cliff.

These chapters really don’t need to be this short. Really.

I don’t have too much to say about this chapter, the writing is fine, the main issue still being that I don’t find the Grievers scary. Minho finding Thomas and pulling him along through the Maze.

I wonder where Minho had been in order for him to say.

“I just saw…the dive move you did…back there…gave me an idea…”

Was he just…around the corner? How?

Thomas does bring up a good question about how this Cliff can be there in the first place. Who put this Maze out there? It brings up the question without calling too much attention to it.

One thing that makes me pause is this line:

Dawn was beginning to make it’s Mark, the sky seeming to have lightened considerably…”

How long has Thomas and Minho been out there? It doesn’t seem to be that long. I don’t know how it takes for the sun to come up in this universe, but still. It doesn’t seem like they’ve been out there for hours.

Time is weird to keep track of.

Minho comes up with a good plan and Thomas pick it up quickly. It shows both of them as smart and quick thinkers. Minho is my fave so far.

Anyways, decent chapter over all. This book is mostly becoming “meh” as I read on.

Untill next time.

The Maze Runner Chapter 20

This chapter is all about Thomas running away from the Griever and…it’s pretty underwhelming. That’s pretty sad since I do like the way Dashner writes action. 

I blame the Griever since I don’t find them interesting. 

But this chapter wasn’t terrible, so it’s okay. Thomas quickly came up with a plan and started swinging away from the Griever and Alby. Luckily, or unluckily, the Griever followed after Thomas and started chasing him. I do really like the fact that Thomas is working so hard to try and save Alby’s life, even if he’s not 100% sure if his life can actually be saved.

Makes me like him.

Thomas spends some “tense” minutes, or seconds (I don’t really know), swinging away from the monster. I’m not too sure how exactly the Griever is climbing the walls, but…I don’t dwell on it too much.

There’s a line that gives me pause when Thomas kicks and struggles with the monster:

“…he kicked out with both feet to push off, squirming to avoid the swarm of needles and claws coming at him from all directions.”

I don’t know how many needles the Griever has, the book never tells us, but I assume it’s a lot. So the fact that Thomas kdoeent get stung here seemed really… convenient. Too convenient perhaps.

Thomas makes it to the ground and starts running. The fact that Thomas can track his own movements so easily considering the situation too easily connected to him being a runner, but whatever. 

It ends with Thomas running into 3 other Grievers. Let’s see how Thomas gets out of this one.

The Maze Runner Chapter 19

Short review for a short chapter. This chapter is mainly focused on the Griever and Thomas’s response to the monster which is…well I guess it’s good if you are a person who finds the Grievers scary and terrifying, but I don’t.

At all.

So this chapter really fell flat for me.

First of all, the monster is…dumb. Really, really dumb. Here’s the description:

It looked like an experiment gone terribly wrong—something from a nightmare. Part animal, part machine, the Griever rolled and clicked along the stone pathway. Its body resembled a gigantic slug, sparsely covered in hair and glistening with slime, grotesquely pulsating in and out as it breathed. It had no distinguishable head or tail, but front to end it was at least six feet long, four feet thick.

Every ten to fifteen seconds, sharp metal spikes popped through its bulbous flesh and the whole creature abruotly curled into a ball and spun forward. Then it would settle, seeming to gather its bearing, the spikes receding back through the moist skin with a sick slurping sound. It did this over and over, traveling just a few feet at a time.

But hair and spikes were not the only things protruding from the Griever’s body. Several randomly placed mechanical arms stuck out here and there, each one with a different purpose. A few had bright lights attached to them. Other has long, menacing needles. One had a three-fingered claw that clasped and unclasped for no apparent reason. When the creature rolled, these arms folded and maneuvered to avoid being crushed. Thomas wondered what—or who—could create such frightening, disgusting creatures.

That was a long description, but this…it’s not very compelling. It’s very hard to wrap my head around what this thing looks like and, yeah, that’s a big part of why I don’t find them terrifying. Plus…the Grievers move in a dumb way.  Up there it says that they spin, but I think a more accurate word is ‘roll’ and that’s just plain silly!

Maybe I expect too much from my book monsters.

Oh well, the most unnerving thing about this creature is when it started to climb the wall where Thomas and Alby are hanging out at (though how exactly it’s climbing I’ll find out next, I guess), other than that, it’s nothing special.

I know where the story is going but I hope it picks up again soon.

The Maze Runner Chapter 18

This chapter we focus on Thomas trying to save Alby while they are trapped in the Maze overnight. Thomas is a bit upset in the beginning over the fact that Minho left both of them there.

While I understand Thomas’s feelings on the matter I really don’t think he has a right to judge Minho. Minho has been there for who knows how long and I think he has every right to try and save himself. Maybe not the noblest of moves, but I get it.

We also learn that Thomas officially considers Alby a friend. That was nice to know since with Alby’s attitude and Thomas’s responses to him didn’t really suggest much. Although Thomas makes a mental comment about how “Thomas before” couldn’t leave a friend behind, and I just wonder what made him think that he was like that before? Maybe he assumes if he wasn’t like that before that he would have pulled a Minho?

But the main event of this chapter is Thomas tieing up Alby in the vines to try and avoid the Grievers. It’s a pretty decent plan, though I wonder how he ended up tieing Alby up there. The book describes Thomas pushing Alby up and then tieing off his arms and legs, but…unless he wraps all of the vines multiple times around his limbs?

However, he did it Thomas was successful in getting Alby and himself off of the ground. It’s a solid plan, even if Thomas isn’t sure what a Griever is really capable of yet.

The end of the chapter isn’t too great; Thomas get’s spotted by a Bettle Blade, we see it has WICKED written on it’s body, and then a Griever comes around the corner. I don’t find either of these things scary so it fell flat.

Till next time!