That Blue Sky Feeling follows two high school boys who begin an unlikely friendship. Dai Noshiro transfers to a new school and fits in instantly with his bright and cheerful attitude. The other students welcome him with open arms, but Noshiro notices a student who keeps to himself, Kou Sanada. Rumors say he’s gay, but Noshiro believes it must be a misunderstanding and goes out of his way to befriend Sanada.
Though well-meaning, Noshiro can be quite dumb, as his false assumptions lead him to hurt others. However, he reflects on his actions and learns from his mistakes, thus broadening his mindset. Because he redeems himself and has good intentions, it’s hard to hate his character, but it’s also hard to like him since there doesn’t seem to be much else to his personality other than his stupid positivity. Noshiro makes it his personal mission to break down the aloof and stoic Sanada’s walls. It feels unrealistic that Sanada accepts Noshiro so easily and so quickly for someone who has been deeply hurt by others and has been pushing people away for years as a result. On top of that, a budding relationship between the one-dimensional Noshiro and Sanada, who has a story to tell, feels unbalanced.
The story moves along with little obstacle, which makes it all seem unbelievable that everything worked out that simply. It’s great to see more manga striving to explore LGBTQ+ topics in thoughtful ways and the premise of That Blue Sky Feeling showed promise, but the execution falls short. The first volume hints at the depth of Sanada’s personal story, which is the most compelling part of the manga, but I’m less interested in seeing Noshiro be the one to peel back the layers of the onion.