Though it may sound like a delicious meal of mac and cheese, Blue Box is the latest romance manga from Weekly Shonen Jump. Featuring an unlikely love between two "sports-crossed" teenagers, Blue Box attempts to reinvigorate the sometimes trope-filled genre by taking its premise to an unforeseen extreme.
Using its dual sports premise as mere window dressing, Blue Box showcases how a high school student deals with his crush becoming closer than he ever expected. The series recently began, with Chapter 3 having just released on April 25th and have been officially released in English by Viz Media. Here's the broader plot of the series, the characters, what happens in the inaugural chapter and where the book can be read.
Blue Box's Plot
The series is written by Kouji Miura and began publication in April with 2021's #19 of Weekly Shonen Jump. Starting as a mere one-shot, the title's popularity and uncommon genre for its publisher has seen it continue as an ongoing series.
It stars Taiki Inomata, a high school student at Eimei Academy known for its extensive sports programs. Though he always aims to come to the gym first thing in the morning to practice badminton, he never beats basketball player Chinatsu Kano there. Taiki's growing crush on her is kept at bay due to her rising popularity as the star basketball player, whereas he's a much less successful badminton player.
Taiki's organic and admittedly awkward attempts at growing their relationship take a drastic turn with events that may force them apart. However, it ultimately ends up bringing them closer than ever, forcing Taiki to reveal his feelings.
The main characters, as mentioned, are Taiki Inomata and Chinatsu Kano. Others already introduced in the manga include Kyo Kasahara and Hina Chono, who act as Taiki's best friends and attempt to help him in the area of love. Kyo constantly tries to inform Taiki that his romantic chances with Chinatsu are fairly slim to none. On the other hand, Hina tries to encourage him to win the girl of his desires by essentially being the type of man she would date.
Taiki and Chinatsu's parents are also mentioned, and it turns out their mothers knew each other when they were in high school. This revelation plays heavily into the rather shocking turn of events in the first chapter's conclusion.
Chapter 1 and Where to Read
Chapter 1 establishes the status quo, as well as formally introduces Taiki to Chinatsu. Unfortunately, their somewhat awkward first encounter is made worse by Taiki's less than encouraging friends, who don't necessarily help him. Nevertheless, despite participating in different sports, the two athletes bond over briefly playing basketball together, with Taiki practically hearing wedding bells already.
Bad news comes when Taiki's mom tells him that Chinatsu's family will be moving away to another country for work. This news causes him to rush over and try to console her, knowing that leaving would mean her not going to the basketball nationals. Instead, however, she informs the flustered boy that she'll be staying with a family friend of her mother's, with Taiki realizing the next day after waking up to see her that said family friend is his mother. This new setup will complicate things for their relationship in chapters from now on and is sure to inject a bit of humor and originality in what could have been just another romance series.
However, it is worth noting that the series being such a straightforward romance series is a bit odd for Weekly Shonen Jump, which typically features much more action or adventure-oriented stories in their lineup. Nevertheless, as it's officially licensed through them, readers can check out the budding series through Viz Media's website.