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.

Siren Song

(Note: This post may contain slight spoilers for the first 3 episodes of the show Siren)

After giving up on reading and doing chapter reviews I decided to actually sit down and watch some shows I had on hold for a little bit. One show of note is Freeform’s brand new drama-slash-fantasy show Siren!

I’ve only seen 3 episodes of this show (there are 6 out at the time of writing this) and the thing I would like to focus on in this post is the main relationship dynamic between Ben, Maddie, and the titular Siren (well Mermaid) Ryn. I’m talking about the show now since I live by the 3 episode rule and I want to discuss what grabbed me about the show in just these 3 episodes.

Ryn, played wonderfully by Eline Powell, is a truly alien presence. The way she moves, talks, and even the way she looks shows off a subtle but very real and tangible danger, while couple Ben and Maddie, played respectively by Alex Roe and Fola Evans-Akingbola, both come off as very down to earth science types, both respecting Ryn’s personhood as well as wanting to learn more about her kind and the like.

With a show titled siren, there is, of course, the mystical allure of the mythical creature. When she first meets Ben she sings a song and just the look on his face has him hooked. There was even a moment later on where she almost kisses him. It’s a bit unclear why she did that. I didn’t get the sense that she’s particularly attracted to him, at least not in a way I recognize, maybe there’s some unique mermaid/siren thing going on.

Though something like that could get complicated since Ben is dating Maddie there’s also what’s going on between Ryn and Maddie to think about.

Maddie, much like Ben, finds Ryn alluring as well, but her introduction to the mermaid was decidedly different. Her first hint of Ryn was seeing scratches on Ben’s body, then she quickly learned about the fact that Maddie killed a man, and Ryn also flung her across a room. There’s a tension between them that sits a little uncomfortably between fear (which Ryn points out) and…something else much more…intimate, all played very well by Evans-Akingbola.

And that’s it right there, the central relationship between Ryn, Maddie, and Ben that has me the most interested. I will admit that the fact that there’s something between Maddie and Ryn as well as Ryn and Ben is really what sold it for me. It would have been so easy for the show to only focus on whatever is going between Ben and Ryn but it doesn’t do that. It’s a relatively small thing, considering the other plotlines running through the show at the moment, but it’s the thing that’s caught me.

Only time will tell if the Maddie/Ryn/Ben or if the show will only focus on one or the other. I certainly the three of them continue to develop the relationship. I also hope, in Maddie’s case, it’s just something supernatural related and that she’s actually bisexual. That would be nice as well. I’m excited to continue on with the show to see how everything plays out.

Siren airs on Freeform, Thursdays 8/7c. Check it out!