So, in the summer of 2014, Marble Comics began running a story called Blue Sky Complex. I tend to avoid schoolboy BL unless something about it draws me in (the mangaka, nipple-centric, glasses, MAS, yakuza – those are my main pulls).
Volume 1 came out after Halloween, and a friend lent me her copy with a print-out translation (sorry, that’s how we old fujos did things back then). I instantly liked how the main character pursued the boy he was attracted to, and he did in a way that felt more ‘gay’ than ”BL’ – if that makes sense.
Volume 2 came out the following winter, and again, the writing felt very much like Gay YA. By this time, scanslations had become frequent on the open sites, and Blue Sky Complex got posted regularly. I kept up with the series that way until Futekiya announced their acquisition. Futekiya started releasing volumes in 2021, and that’s where I’ve been reading it since.
Volume 1 ends with Terashima admitting his feelings, and Volume 2 begins with Narasaki accepting those feelings. By chapter 2 of Volume 2, they do the deed, and that’s where it slips back into BL territory. Not many HS gays lose their virginity taking it in the ass, but BL owns its heteronormative constructs with zero shame; naturally, the boys begin their sexual relationship with anal.
Despite the sex scenes falling into those conventional BL theatrics, Blue Sky Complex shifts into Gay drama territory when dealing with the emotional effects of their decisions.
Terashima can’t stop thinking about screwing Narasaki, and this makes him feel like a perv. Naturally, he avoids Narasaki because avoidance is his wheelhouse. Narasaki, meanwhile, thinks Terashima doesn’t want him anymore–he’s convinced that Terashima just tried gay sex, and now that he’s done it, Terashima will go back to screwing girls. Your typical schoolboy melodrama leads to Narasaki overcompensating and turning Terashima off.
This series works for me because they talk about their issues and fix them.
Comically, both problems come full circle when Narasaki admits that sex with Terashima is on his mind constantly – naturally, they do something about it. Funny moment, the snowballing after the oral.
Volume 3 finds our boys thinking about their future and developing intimacy on their path to life as a couple. This volume takes the series from schoolboy romance to collegiate relationship – a natural progression done well within the scope of these two characters.
Volume 4 is the post-college stuff, where a near-rape incident proves Terashima can still kick ass and doesn’t need protecting. He also delivers another snowball which never gets old. The story becomes less BL-ish at the end with Terashima laying some ground rules about how often they can screw because a boy needs a break, bro.
Volume 5 features full-fledged men in love. Our couple deals with shit that many gay couples deal with in terms of outside interaction with straights.
Despite Terashima being out and having gay and bi friends, he realizes that Narasaki is still very much closeted and being Terashima, suffers anxiety over it. When a girl Narasaki is tutoring develops a crush on him, she stalks him and ends up at their apartment. She discovers Terashima, who is shocked when Narasaki introduces him as his significant other. The girl expresses a homophobic thought that’s not hateful, just ignorant. Narasaki shuts it down by putting the girl in her place, thus convincing Terashima he’s got nothing to worry about regarding Narasaki’s closeted status.
(Narasaki isn’t out to his family, which becomes an issue in the current serialized editions.)
Blue Sky Complex will appeal to staunch M|M fans if they start with Volume 3, but I would recommend starting at the beginning, though keep in mind that the BL standards of multiple hard-ons and weepy-eyed sex rear their head from time to time. If you’re an intimacy junky, I highly recommend Blue Sky Complex,
now on its 5th volume in English.
(Update: 7th Volume as of 8/2022).
Please read it legally. That way, the mangaka continues to earn royalties from licensor Futekiya.
BLUE SKY COMPLEX – Kei Ichikawa
- English: Futekiya (Vol. 1-5) (UPDATE: 6 & 7)
- Japanese: Kindle Japan Volumes 1 – 6
BLUE INDIGO GRADIATION (Doujinshi)
- English: Futekiya
- Japanese: Kindle Japan