High school is difficult for everybody, but when you’re the only gay kid in class, it can get awkward. The new manga, That Blue Sky Feeling, is about that situation — at least at first. When Noshiro moves to a new city, he wonders why the other kids tend to leave Sanada alone. Being the overly friendly sort, Noshiro can’t let that stand and makes it his mission to make friends. And the rumors that Sanada might be gay don’t dissuade him — even if that stirs up some unknown feelings in Noshiro.
That Blue Sky Feeling is really sweet. The story starts when Noshiro sees that Sanada is alone and he initially tries to befriend Sanada out of kindness. But when Sanada confirms that the rumors are true — and he is, in fact, gay — Noshiro’s not sure what to think. Not in a homophobic way; if anything, Noshiro goes too far in trying to appear okay with Sanada’s homosexuality. But instead, Noshiro starts wondering if he, in fact, might also be gay. (And that he might just have a crush on Sanada. Strike that. He definitely has a crush on Sanada.)
The tone and feel of the story is low-key and pleasant. Though the other students are leery of Sanada, once Noshiro admonishes them, Sanada’s welcomed back into the group — even if Sanada’s ostraciation is hinted to be part of Sanada’s own desires to be alone. Noshiro is sometimes clumsy with his emotions, but he’s always shown as at least trying to do the right thing; and when he does screw up, it’s nothing major.
Sanada soon introduces Noshiro to Hide, Sanada’s ex-boyfriend and an older guy — Hide is 26 years old, compared with the high schoolers. He ends up becoming somewhat of a mentor-figure to the two boys, though, and Noshiro goes to him to find out more about not just Sanada, but about being gay and whether or not he’s gay himself.
As with some of the other manga we’ve featured here, like My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness, That Blue Sky Feeling started out as a webcomic that was redrawn for the print edition. It’s also the debut for the creators, writer Okura and illustrator Coma Hashii. Hopefully, however, given the greatness of That Blue Sky Feeling, we’ll keep seeing more from these talented creators and their authentic take on the gay coming-of-age story.