In Volume 1 of Blue Friend (ブルーフレンド), we met Ayumu and Misuzu. Ayumu is popular, athletic and smart and although Misuzu is cute, she is the class outcast.
At the end of the first volume, Misuzu’s horrible past is revealed to the entire school and Misuzu collapses from stress.
In Volume 2, we learn more about Misuzu’s horrible past trauma and it’s pretty much what we guessed (dead mother, neglectful father, sexually abused by an adult.) Bizarrely, Satsuki, who showed up in the role of gadfly who knows all, turns out to be on our side, although she does it in the meanest, most tedious way possible.
It turns out that the culprit in the serial harassment of Misuzu was someone who should really be ashamed of themselves – an adult who was there during the past circumstances. It was really hard to understand – from my perspective, anyway – why anyone would blame *Misuzu* for anything that went on. It was more and more obvious with each new indignity, that she was the victim in the past and was being victimized again, now.
And, indeed, the student body seems to sort of think that too. So, when the school festival rolls around and the class choses a play, they rally behind Misuzu, as she struggles with the lead role. By the time she’s managed not only the lines, but the body language and the final embrace – of a boy! – the class is 100% behind her.
At which point, I thought – there are two ways this story could go and the one that seems “happy ever after” would be the worst choice possible. Because, at this point in the book, Misuzu is happy because she is making Ayumu happy. Even worse, Ayumu is starting to convince herself that Misuzu *needs* her – in a way that would never allow Ayumu to have her own life.
Amazingly, the story did not go there. Instead, the story chooses the harder road – the road in which Misuzu and Ayumu do not go walking off into the sunset happily ever after, in a horribly unequal and co-dependent relationship. Misuzu, having finally been allowed to shed her past, chooses to become a person on her own, so that, should she and Ayumu continue as a couple, she can stand on her own as an equal partner. I admit, had the story gone the other route, I would have been disgusted with it. This ending is less apparently “happily ever after” but it is definitely more “healthily ever after.”
Art – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 6
Service – 1
Overall – 7
Blue Friend was a throwback to some of the classic shoujo Yuri of the 90s, with a fresh, healthy, hopeful perspective on their future. Whether they move on as friends or lovers, we can smile, certain that Ayumu and Misuzu will both be okay.