Bloom Into You Light Novels Explore Love Relationships

The seinen yuri manga Bloom Into You emphasizes that relationships are complicated and messy. There is an emphasis on this with the protagonists Nanami Touko and Koito Yuu, whose budding relationship begins with a power imbalance and poor boundaries, neither of which are indicative of a healthy relationship. Additionally, Touko and Yuu fail to model healthy relationship behavior throughout their narrative, thus validating pop culture tropes that portray codependency as a means of emotional healing.

A major theme of Bloom Into You is Yuu’s development of a more mature understanding of love through the experience of real feelings for another individual.Due to the aforementioned reasons, the manga fails Yuu’s character development on this front by failing to portray what a healthy romantic relationship actually looks like. Saeki Sayaka, Yuu’s love rival for Touko, is the character from Bloom Into You who ultimately develops a more mature understanding of love. Sayaka has more opportunities to learn from experience through her relationships, whereas Yuu is only provided with Touko to influence her character development.

Despite being a supporting character in the main Bloom Into You manga, Sayaka is the protagonist of the spinoff light novel trilogy Bloom Into You: Regarding Saeki Sayaka by Adachi and Shimamura author Hitoma Iruma. In contrast to the main storyline, Regarding Saeki Sayaka tells the story of Sayaka from childhood to adulthood, illustrating how her relationships shaped her personal growth and her understanding of love. A significant relationship is depicted in the first light novel between Sayaka and a girl in her swimming class.

The swimming class chapter portrays Sayaka as a very studious nine-year-old with no social life outside of the classroom. Her non-school hours are spent participating in extracurricular activities such as piano lessons, ikebana (flower arrangement), calligraphy, and swimming. As Sayaka swims, she notices a fellow student is fond of her and wants to be her friend, but Sayaka is not interested due to the girl’s inability to follow class rules. Upon becoming aware of this, the girl begins to behave in a manner that Sayaka finds more pleasing.

Despite the girl’s changed behavior, Sayaka feels drawn to her, but does not understand why. However, before Sayaka had a chance to fully comprehend her feelings about the girl, she was kissed on her neck without her consent, which terrified her. As a result of feeling violated, Sayaka decided to assert her boundaries by quitting her swimming class in an attempt to avoid running into the girl again.

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The second relationship explored in the first light novel was also briefly explored in the main manga series by Nakatani: Sayaka’s relationship with Yuzuki Chie, her junior high school senpai. Although Yuzuki was initially portrayed as homophobic and insensitive toward Sayaka’s feelings after she broke up with her in the manga, she was actually shown to be quite fond of her prior to dating her.

As students in their school’s choir club, Yuzuki became enamored with the quiet and reserved Sayaka and called her “Sayaka-chan” (an honorific she disliked) and invited her to karaoke with the rest of the graduating upperclassmen. Sometime after this outing, Yuzuki confessed her feelings to Sayaka, who at first did not know how to respond since they were both girls. She decided to date Yuzuki with the belief that she would fall in love with her as she became acquainted with her. Sayaka, 14, began learning how to compromise with Yuzuki during the first few months of their relationship, without truly understanding what compromise meant.

At first, Sayaka thought compromising meant merging her identity with her partner’s, which made her happy. When Yuzuki kissed Sayaka for the first time, she did not find it as thrilling and began to distance herself from her, which eventually led to their breakup. As a result of Sayaka’s inability to understand Yuzuki’s behavior, she became depressed and reverted to studying. She was understandably furious when Yuzuki broke up with her and explained that it was “just a phase for her.” Sayaka resented Yuzuki for being in love with the idea of love and taking advantage of her.

After Sayaka’s breakup with Yuzuki left her feeling angry and hurt, she decided not to fall in love again and to devote herself entirely to her studies. Being used to being the top student in her class, Sayaka resented Yuzuki for putting her behind in her education, which prevented her from obtaining the highest entrance exam score at her new school. Sayaka had originally planned to outperform Nanami Touko in academic performance — until she met her and fell in love at first sight. As a result, Sayaka became acquainted with her and became acquainted with her as a person. It did not take her long to realize what had happened A dark secret was being kept by Touko.

According to the second light novel, Sayaka quickly realized that Touko was maintaining a steel wall between them in order to prevent her from becoming too close. She learned everything about Touko’s past from other classmates who knew her in primary school and from teachers who knew her older sister Mio. As soon as Sayaka realized that the Touko she interacted with was a fa├žade, she questioned whether she could love the person she truly was. It wasn’t until she allowed Touko to visit her home one day so that she could play with her cats that Sayaka realized how much she loved Touko as she was: flawed, scared, vulnerable, intelligent, hardworking, goal-oriented, and beautiful.

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