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Bloom into You

Bloom into You, Vol. 1Title: Bloom into You, Vol. 1
Author: Nio Nakatani
Series: Bloom into You #1
Publisher: Seven Seas
First Published: September 13, 2017
Pages: 188
Genres: Drama, Slice of Life, Yuri
Format: Web
Source: Web
Rating: ★★★★★


Yuu has always adored shoujo manga and yearns for the day when someone might give her a love confession that would send her heart aflutter. Yet when a junior high school classmate confesses his feelings to her -- she feels nothing. Disappointed and confused, Yuu enters high school, where she sees the confident and beautiful student council member Nanami. When the next person to confess to Yuu is Nanami herself, has her romantic dream finally come true?

Rating Breakdown:

Volume 1: ★★★★★
Volume 2: ★★★★★
Volume 3: ★★★★★
Volume 4: ★★★★★
Volume 5: ★★★★★
Volume 6: ★★★★★
Volume 7: ★★★★★
Volume 8: ★★★★★

My Review:

Bloom Into You is, without a doubt, one of the best coming of age love stories that I’ve ever read. Yuu is a young girl that dreams of experiencing the dazzling love that she sees in books and film. Despite this, she doesn’t find herself feeling at all excited when faced with romantic prospects. There is also some wonderful aromantic and demiromantic representation that I didn’t expect to find in this manga, and the subtle differences between each are written well.

The story is paced well, while many romances fall back on overblown drama to keep the narrative going with many ups and downs, Bloom Into You was consistent from start to finish, like a gentle heartbeat humming with life. The title of the manga is apt, as the characters bloom into love but also into themselves as they discover who they are.

I found myself relating a lot to Yuu, who wants to experience the excitement of love but doesn’t know what it is. It can be easy to fall into the comforts of verbal and physical acts of love to mask a lack of love for oneself, as in the case of Touko; or the admiration of another that you place the other person on a pedestal, like Sayaka. Each of the characters was multilayered and written with such care and understanding of the nuances of romantic attraction.

This manga talks a lot about love, how we fall in love, and what it means to be in love. The fluttery feeling that happens when we find the right person is something that many strive for, but love is more complex than that. People fall in love in different ways, and for different reasons, love is defined by the lover and each person’s experience can be wildly different. Bloom Into You stands out from other romance stories for the way that it presents the concept of love, and the sometimes steady journey toward realizing what it really means. It’s heartfelt and written with so much warmth that it made me feel happy from start to finish.

“What is love, in the end? It’s a word I could never say… Even though I’d always wanted to. But now that I’ve said it, I don’t understand what it really is.”

Trigger Warning: Sex

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Warnings: Nudity, Mild Fan Service, Sexual Situations

My Review:

Citrus had been on my radar for a while being one of the more well-known Shoujo Ai manga available in the west. I finally sat down to read it and found myself feeling conflicted about it. The art is spectacular and the manga is worth reading to appreciate that in itself. The characters and the story can be charming and genuinely heartfelt at points, and horribly cliche and boring at other points. My ratings for each volume ended up moving up and down wildly and left me wondering how much I really enjoyed it.

The story follows Yuzu, a loud-mouth gyaru, and her new step-sister Mei, a reserved and goal-driven tsundere. The beginning is rough and the characters are so hot and cold, it takes a while for the romance to feel like it was actually developing. Though Yuzu and Mei’s parents marry, Mei’s father is barely in the picture from the onset, which really made me wonder about the convenient marriage to create a step-sibling scenario. Sibling romance in Japan feels overplayed, and the foundation was so weak in this one. Yuzu and Mei are cute in a way, but they were both so terribly inconsistent that their romance feels forced at times.

I enjoyed the fun female friendships in this series, but each character introduction was frustrating as every new female that Yuzu and Mei befriend happened to be lesbians, and all have some romantic interest in one of the two leads. Most of these brief romantic rivals have next to no good reason to be rivals; the stories that focus on these side stories are so overblown and absurd, it feels like reading a shallow harem manga at times.

The manga does seek to address issues regarding society’s views on homosexuality which I appreciated. The issue of acceptance and support from friends and family is as important as ever, as gay marriage is still not legal in Japan and many other countries around the world. I appreciated the conversation that this story brings to the table about the struggle for LGBTQ couples that have to hide who they are. However, I feel that the reality was not well represented in this series, it explores the issue, and the main characters dating in secret, but it also paints a rosy picture that is not possible for many.

In all, it is a decent series that is relatively tame in terms of sexual content. It isn’t a bad first yuri series for those that are looking into getting into the genre, especially for folks that enjoy colorful characters and plenty of drama without being too emotionally taxing.

“Unknowingly, I ended up running away from you because of my wavering feelings.”

Trigger Warning: Nudity, Blood