Manga Review: Brilliant Blue (vol 2)

"All this time, I couldn't have cared less about falling in love.  Or maybe I've never really been in love before...?" - Shouzo

I was a huge fan of the first volume of Brilliant Blue and was eagerly awaiting the release of the second volume. This book picks up where the first volume left off. Shouzo, although well aware of his attraction to Nanami, is hesitant to pursue a relationship for several reasons. First, he is all too aware of how rumors spread in his small town and how something like that would not be able to be a secret for long, especially if Nanami was going to be expected to keep a secret. Shouzo worries about his standing in the town and in his family's business, and is even unsure as to how a relationship would even work with Nanami.

I was very impressed with this story. I thought that the build up of the relationship between Shouzo and Nanami was paced well and felt very believable. There were several moments in this book that really tugged at my heartstrings. One scene was when Nanami came over to Shouzo's house and saw that Shouzo's female friend from college was visiting. When Nanami asked if they were going to get married and they laughed, Nanami's reaction was very moving. He didn't understand what he had said wrong and was very hurt that Shouzo, the one person he could count on to not laugh when he said something wrong, would laugh at him. Another scene I thought was powerful was when Nanami's brother confronted him about his relationship with Shouzo. His angry reaction was not the typical angry reaction that you'd normally find in this genre. He was upset because he thought that his very trusting little brother was being manipulated again, and he just didn't want him to be hurt again. I think that having a character like Nanami was very different and interesting, and I really enjoyed the chapters that were from his point of view. His way of thinking may have been simple, but he was very real and his mindset made all of his emotions and actions more genuine. I thought his family was great, and it was sweet how his brothers and father were so protective of him.

This volume is longer than the first, and I was initially disappointed when I read the description online, thinking that the second half of the book was going to be a separate story. I was very surprised and happy to find that it was another chapter with the same characters as the rest of the book. Too often I buy a book because the description sounds interesting, only to find that the description was of the first part of the book and that the rest of it is a completely unrelated story with different characters and everything. So I was very pleased when I turned the page after I thought Shouzo and Nanami's story was over to find Shouzo and Nanami again on the next page! I enjoyed this series very much and when I finished it I really had a smile on my face. I did not expect to like it as much as I did, and it really makes me happy whenever I re-read it.

- Liz