Author: Nio Nakatani
Publisher: Seven Seas
First Published: 2015-2019
Genres: Slice of Life, Yuri
Source: Read Online
Yuu has always adored shoujo manga and yearns for the day when someone might give her a love confession that would send her heart aflutter. Yet when a junior high school classmate confesses his feelings to her -- she feels nothing. Disappointed and confused, Yuu enters high school, where she sees the confident and beautiful student council member Nanami. When the next person to confess to Yuu is Nanami herself, has her romantic dream finally come true?
Bloom Into You is, without a doubt, one of the best coming of age love stories that I’ve ever read. Yuu is a young girl that dreams of experiencing the dazzling love that she sees through books and film. Despite this, she doesn’t find herself feeling at all excited when faced with romantic prospects. There is also some wonderful aromantic and demiromantic representation that I didn’t expect to find in this manga, and the subtle differences between each are written well.
The story is paced well, while many romances fall back on overblown drama to keep the narrative going with many ups and downs, Bloom Into You was consistent from start to finish, like a gentle heartbeat humming with life. The title of the manga is apt, as the characters bloom into love but also into themselves as they discover who they are.
“What is love, in the end? It’s a word I could never say… Even though I’d always wanted to. But now that I’ve said it, I don’t understand what it really is.”
I found myself relating a lot to Yuu, who wants to experience the excitement of love but doesn’t know what it is. It can be easy to fall into the comforts of verbal and physical acts of love to mask a lack of love for oneself, as in the case of Touko; or the admiration of another that you place the other person on a pedestal, like Sayaka. Each of the characters were multilayered and written with such care and understanding of the nuances of romantic attraction.
This manga talks a lot about love, how we fall in love, and what it means to be in love. The fluttery feeling that happens when we find the right person is something that many strive for, but love is more complex than that. People fall in love in different ways, and for different reasons, love is defined by the lover and each person’s experience can be wildly different. Bloom Into You stands out from other romance stories for the way that it presents the concept of love, and the sometimes steady journey toward realizing what it really means. It’s heartfelt and written with so much warmth that it made me feel happy from start to finish.