Forum › Bloom Into You discussion

joined Jan 19, 2017

This chapter made me extraordinarily excited and it hurt.

Even with all the buildup and inevitability, during chapter 37 and the first half of ch.38, it still seemed like maybe Sayaka really did have a chance. Maybe Touko would do a 60 degree heel turn and head straight for the other side of the triangle, for that person who has always been there (even if not really). I consider that to be an amazing feature of Nakatani's writing, the sensitivity towards the complexity of people and human emotions, and the power of our choices in determining our lives, rather than just being helplessly guided by uncontrollable feelings. Because we truly don't know what will happen until Touko opens her mouth and finally reveals her choice.

This complexity is even more layered because despite it being a choice with both given choices being theoretically valid, we know what decision will be made. She could have chosen Sayaka. She really could have. Sayaka's confession made her happy, because who wouldn't be happy to know they are so unconditionally loved? But in this lifetime, with this set of events, she never would have. And that's because every set of choices she has made have led her up to this point. She has always chosen to love Yuu over Sayaka. She has always chosen to shut out Sayaka where she chose to let Yuu in. An entire 37 chapters of choices precede this decision, in which she consistently and reliably chooses Yuu to love. (Perhaps, it could be argued, her love has not always been "love", full, freeing and healthy, but in light of what those choices meant to her, that was love.) Just as her revised play character did, she is making choices based on what has happened to her. There could have been no other choice, Nakatani says, because her heart had chosen. That is what love is.

And it hurts. It hurts to let somebody in to such a great degree and to then become disconnected from them. And that is a part of love too, as painful or even annoying as that can be. I think the confession scene had one of the greatest displays of those sides of love. It's such a simple moment, in such a humble setting; there is no galaxy of stars overhead, no sunset in the distance, just the river flowing in the background and the ducks settling in. It gave me profound chills.

I loved the symbolism too as always. The duck on pg 27 flying in and skimming the water just as Sayaka said "she stepped in" hit home. I wasn't as sure about the boats actually. The implication was that two people in the boat would be able to navigate narrow places. Sayaka and Touko definitely did that. But I think it applies for many more situations than just that too, like Touko and Yuu navigating the play, and likewise. The fall(?) leaves were a symbol of change, and I couldn't quite tell if the ones on pg 11 were being pulled downstream or not. They could have represented Sayaka. But based on the placement of the words in the second panel, where Sayaka's talking about being disappointed, the leaves could also represent love in general. When she's saying she would be disappointed, the leaves are in the water, eventually rotting away, dying or dead love. And in the bottom-most panel of pg 11, a leaf is falling as she talks about "Loving someone..." It evoked the feeling of the risk inherent to love, for me at least. The necessity of falling, of having faith and trust in another, that is inherent to love. Then in the next page, the leaf lands on Touko. That is who that love was gifted to. Sayaka takes the leaf and holds it, and I think that represents her love for Touko, how it is wholly her own. A love in the shape of a leaf, subject to change and death, but still intact in that moment. It's a beautiful image.

I would go into extended analysis of the characters too and their internal worlds and changes, but I think it's been said enough already by others. And this chapter, to me at least, did stand out to me not so much for the characters, though of course that's still something I care about greatly, but for its declaration of what love is. I think Nakatani has said that the biggest question Bloom Into You has always striven to answer is what love is. This chapter finally provided a concrete answer for what that truth might be, and it was what evoked both excitement and hurt in me.

joined Sep 1, 2017

This chapter made me extraordinarily excited and it hurt.

Even with all the buildup and inevitability, during chapter 37 and the first half of ch.38, it still seemed like maybe Sayaka really did have a chance. Maybe Touko would do a 60 degree heel turn and head straight for the other side of the triangle, for that person who has always been there (even if not really). I consider that to be an amazing feature of Nakatani's writing, the sensitivity towards the complexity of people and human emotions, and the power of our choices in determining our lives, rather than just being helplessly guided by uncontrollable feelings. Because we truly don't know what will happen until Touko opens her mouth and finally reveals her choice.

This complexity is even more layered because despite it being a choice with both given choices being theoretically valid, we know what decision will be made. She could have chosen Sayaka. She really could have. Sayaka's confession made her happy, because who wouldn't be happy to know they are so unconditionally loved? But in this lifetime, with this set of events, she never would have. And that's because every set of choices she has made have led her up to this point. She has always chosen to love Yuu over Sayaka. She has always chosen to shut out Sayaka where she chose to let Yuu in. An entire 37 chapters of choices precede this decision, in which she consistently and reliably chooses Yuu to love. (Perhaps, it could be argued, her love has not always been "love", full, freeing and healthy, but in light of what those choices meant to her, that was love.) Just as her revised play character did, she is making choices based on what has happened to her. There could have been no other choice, Nakatani says, because her heart had chosen. That is what love is.

And it hurts. It hurts to let somebody in to such a great degree and to then become disconnected from them. And that is a part of love too, as painful or even annoying as that can be. I think the confession scene had one of the greatest displays of those sides of love. It's such a simple moment, in such a humble setting; there is no galaxy of stars overhead, no sunset in the distance, just the river flowing in the background and the ducks settling in. It gave me profound chills.

I loved the symbolism too as always. The duck on pg 27 flying in and skimming the water just as Sayaka said "she stepped in" hit home. I wasn't as sure about the boats actually. The implication was that two people in the boat would be able to navigate narrow places. Sayaka and Touko definitely did that. But I think it applies for many more situations than just that too, like Touko and Yuu navigating the play, and likewise. The fall(?) leaves were a symbol of change, and I couldn't quite tell if the ones on pg 11 were being pulled downstream or not. They could have represented Sayaka. But based on the placement of the words in the second panel, where Sayaka's talking about being disappointed, the leaves could also represent love in general. When she's saying she would be disappointed, the leaves are in the water, eventually rotting away, dying or dead love. And in the bottom-most panel of pg 11, a leaf is falling as she talks about "Loving someone..." It evoked the feeling of the risk inherent to love, for me at least. The necessity of falling, of having faith and trust in another, that is inherent to love. Then in the next page, the leaf lands on Touko. That is who that love was gifted to. Sayaka takes the leaf and holds it, and I think that represents her love for Touko, how it is wholly her own. A love in the shape of a leaf, subject to change and death, but still intact in that moment. It's a beautiful image.

I would go into extended analysis of the characters too and their internal worlds and changes, but I think it's been said enough already by others. And this chapter, to me at least, did stand out to me not so much for the characters, though of course that's still something I care about greatly, but for its declaration of what love is. I think Nakatani has said that the biggest question Bloom Into You has always striven to answer is what love is. This chapter finally provided a concrete answer for what that truth might be, and it was what evoked both excitement and hurt in me.

;-; wow... that was nice. I couldn’t even think of half of that. Thank you.

Yuu
joined Mar 28, 2015

last edited at Feb 4, 2019 5:05AM

Nezchan Moderator
Meiling%20bun%20150px
joined Jun 28, 2012

"No symbolism means anything ever, always go for the explanation that requires the least analysis. I mean it's not like an author wants their work looked at in depth or anything."

Img_0215
joined Jul 29, 2017

Just a heads-up, people—I’ve got a big wall o’text percolating on the differences between connotation, suggestion, and symbolism (and also narrative staging), and soon as I get the time and energy, you’re gonna get it.

So don’t say you weren’t warned. :)

Sayaka_ava
joined Nov 23, 2014

Certainly you can read deep into symbolism in fiction, this work definitely included, but surely it is also true that sometimes a picture is the way it is simply because the artist thought it would look nice, no? I suppose the difference lies between "this could possibly mean something" and "this has to mean something". It feels more like doing detective work than art analysis when you approach the work from the angle of "okay I know this boat definitely symbolizes something, but what".

This is not to say that riverFlower up there for example is somehow wrong or that their opinion is invalid of course, just a general observation.

last edited at Feb 4, 2019 9:55AM

Fad8970e-c901-4004-bae1-4e5d013b5424
joined Jan 19, 2019

They're also a bunch of nasty little gang-rapists. Just sayin'.

So are dolphins, but we never stop cute-fetishizing them. Real life is always rougher.

I suppose the difference lies between "this could possibly mean something" and "this has to mean something".

This being Nakatani, I think the boat scene (as well as the ducks) lays more on the “this has to mean something” side. Not the “has” that we wouldn’t be able to understand the scene without it (it’s YagaKimi, not SKU), but more on the side of “The scene is already good on the surface, but as soon as we go deeper, it gets even better!”.

last edited at Feb 4, 2019 12:29PM

Yuu
joined Mar 28, 2015

Just... the interpretation of the leaves, "dying away or rotten as Sayaka's love" is eye-rolling for me. It's their autumn trip, so there are falling leaves. That's it.

Nothing wrong in trying to wring out everything you can out of a manga you love, but sometimes it's really far fetched.

joined Sep 16, 2014

I mean, for sure not every little detail has to have a symbolism attached to it.
That said, some authors who put a lot of thought in their work do pay attention to the detail crammed into every other panel of their work. Also, if I have to recall, Japanese authors really love likening their love stories with the seasons. For instance in "5 centimeters per second" the main character's love story begins under a cherry blossom during winter. It connotes heavily how their love is doomed from the start.
So yeah, I don't think the leaves "dying away with Sayaka's love" is that far-fetched. That said, ya'll should really just live and let live.

Tron-legacy
joined Dec 11, 2017

Your plan was perfect, Sayaka—but you forgot about the ducks.

One glimpse of nuzzling lesbian ducks, and the whole thing comes crashing down.

You gave it your best shot. You might have pulled it off, too, if it weren’t for those darned ducks.

https://imgur.com/gallery/C98siJ7

last edited at Feb 4, 2019 2:56PM

Tron-legacy
joined Dec 11, 2017

Yeah... I still don't like Touko. Let them all figure out they're gay and date other people outside of this triangle. I don't want Touko and Yuu to end up together because of how unhealthy their relationship is but that's my opinion.

They are teenagers. Teeeeeenaaaagerrrrs.

Seriously, I know I can be an asshole sometimes, but come ON. They're CHILDREN. They are allowed to not get it perfect right away.

I get so indescribably frustrated when people come into a story about kids learning "how do I work relationship" and going "WHAT THE FUCK WHY AREN'T THEY INSTANTLY PERFECT AT THIS".

Literally the entire point of the story is them learning -how- to have a healthy relationship, and that frequently begins by starting in a less healthy space, especially when one of the pair has a significant childhood trauma to deal with.

joined Jul 26, 2016

Being clueless, stupid and generally fumbling around is pretty much the natural state of teenagers, as is being rigidly fixated on dumb ideas with all the certainty only utter ignorance brings. If anything this lot is a cut above the average as they (are starting to) at least vaguely realize it, and the need to rethink things.

Ie. they're in the middle of the whole messy process of growing up.

Tron-legacy
joined Dec 11, 2017

Just... the interpretation of the leaves, "dying away or rotten as Sayaka's love" is eye-rolling for me. It's their autumn trip, so there are falling leaves. That's it.

Nothing wrong in trying to wring out everything you can out of a manga you love, but sometimes it's really far fetched.

At the same time, Autumn is often deliberately chosen as the setting for turning points in stories because it's an easy shorthand for change and withering of the old. They're maybe focusing too much on the details, but that doesn't mean the observation is completely wrong.

I mean, people -do- frequently include blue things in scenes to reflect sad feelings. ;p

joined Jan 19, 2017

Just a heads-up, people—I’ve got a big wall o’text percolating on the differences between connotation, suggestion, and symbolism (and also narrative staging), and soon as I get the time and energy, you’re gonna get it.

I will be looking forward to this, as I am now past my AP English days and still woefully uneducated in the literary arts.

When I said symbolism in my comment, that might have been too strong a word. In the past I've been corrected on terminology differences between drama and melodrama too for example. I like my interpretations though, because they lend more shades of feeling to me beyond what's literally depicted and said.

To a number of the other comments which say those are far-fetched interpretations, well I passed by those scenes (boat/leaf ones) completely on my first read. They clearly didn't stand out enough to have an immediate meaning like the ducks did. I don't think they necessarily have to mean anything, cause there are plenty of way more practical reasons for why those scenes were drawn that way, like the boat showing up on the first page cause then we know there are boats in the area and the leaves being there cause fall.

I like to think that Nakatani's narrative can be complex enough to allow for the possibility of such interpretations, given that there is some repeated textual evidence which is not contradicted by other main themes. And I've found that in Yagakimi, it is those every day objects, the small things which blend into daily life, which end up having the most meaning and feeling through coincidence and perhaps association with what's going on storywise. I mean, ducks. So why not other objects too which seem to have been deliberately drawn in?

Mostly I'm just surprised people even read so much of that wall of text.

last edited at Feb 4, 2019 1:53PM

Sayaka_ava
joined Nov 23, 2014

Well, I think we can all agree (at least, I hope most of us can!) that it is wonderful how different people can enjoy a work of fiction on their own terms, reading as deep into it as they choose to and derive equivalent amount of enjoyment that is not inferior to anyone else's level of engagement with it. If anything, that just shows that what we have here is something well written and worth talking about, whether we agree with the finer details of it or not.

4bbe1078a9d82bf519de9e5fc56dee60
joined Feb 18, 2018

Yeah... I still don't like Touko. Let them all figure out they're gay and date other people outside of this triangle. I don't want Touko and Yuu to end up together because of how unhealthy their relationship is but that's my opinion.

Preach.

Img_0053
joined Sep 19, 2017

Yeah... I still don't like Touko. Let them all figure out they're gay and date other people outside of this triangle. I don't want Touko and Yuu to end up together because of how unhealthy their relationship is but that's my opinion.

Preach.

Why they have to date other people just to know they’re gay? Part of this story is teaching us that people always have a choice. Sayaka definitely knows she’s gay, but she chose to stay and waited for Touko. Yuu clearly has a choice through out the whole story but she chose to help and learn to fall in love with Touko, Touko chose to runaway from all the confessions and even rejected Sayaka because she chose Yuu to be with and love her instead. They’re teenagers who are struggling to know what love truly is. So it’s understandable. It should have been obvious that they’d messed up. And seeing Sayaka and Touko learning to accept and respect each other’s choices is something to proud of. It means they grew up and learned. They have plenty of things to learn since they are young. Why don’t you let them choose what they want and who they want to love at this moment and learn?

joined Aug 22, 2016

I find what riverFlower posted to be a wonderful interpretation of the chapter, and since the beginning Nakatani Nio has not been shy about using a great depth of symbolism. It may be a bit outside the story but that can be fine. Stories are as much what we learn from them as we can connect to outside of a story.

Autumn, in cultures new and old, and from around the world, has been used as a time and setting to be thankful of what we have while accepting of what we don't have. It's a time of harvest and bounty but also a time of preparing for going on without when winter arrives. Modern society is losing touch with emotions brought by the seasons and of living by the seasons themselves. It's not stretch that Nakatani would be familiar with this, especially concerning her wide use of natural symbolism in the story.

Yeah... I still don't like Touko. Let them all figure out they're gay and date other people outside of this triangle. I don't want Touko and Yuu to end up together because of how unhealthy their relationship is but that's my opinion.

Unhealthy despite helping both of them progress in a positive direction? Certainly Touko took advantage of Yuu's perceived inability to love but Yuu herself is aware of this. Not only does she reassure Touko that she can continue to love her, but Yuu admits to herself that she wants Touko to keep loving her so that Yuu herself can learn about love. And the main theme to Yuu's struggle is accepting that love isn't perfect and comes in different forms.

Touko not only lost her sister of who she was fully dependent on, but her family shamed her into living for her sister, basically telling Touko "you're no good unless you're like your sister, so live for her". Touko's family shoved their inability to accept death onto her, to make her a replacement. How can anyone understand themselves and their own feelings after being subjected to such a thing at such a young age?

Bloom into You is a story of learning and of accepting. If Touko is bad then how about Sayaka early on relishing in her perceived control over Touko? Yuu and Sayaka are essentially mirrors of each other. Yuu wants Touko to "change" or rather to be herself while Sayaka had to learn to accept Touko as Touko and not of what she wanted Touko to be. Sayaka talking about love being a matter of trust in a fundamental self while knowing what changes to accept and which changes not to are all words from her own experience and process as a character. And this applies to where Sayaka had to accept Touko's changes to love her and the same for Touko to love Yuu in a "healthy" way. Touko has to accept change. To accept that Yuu is still Yuu, that Yuu has changed but not changed, that Yuu loving her is okay because Yuu is Yuu and no one else.

The most telling of the nature or healthiness of their relationship is when Yuu tells Touko that internal contradictions are okay, a revelation that stunned Touko. The other part is when Yuu tells Touko that even if she wants to accomplish what her sister couldn't, even if Touko wants to be different, even if she contradicts herself that's fine because at her core the person wanting to do those things is herself. And that the love people have for Touko isn't for her sister, it isn't for anyone nor anything else, but for that Touko who is fighting to find her own way.

Touko feels like she has to live for her sister, but the one that wants to perform the play and act, wants to find herself, that's all Touko, the Touko people rally behind and love. This is why Yuu said along the lines of "don't hate what I love, BAKA!" after Touko said she hates herself.

Touko and Sayaka are already aware they are lesbians and I think Yuu is bisexual and otherwise didn't have much difficulty with Touko being a girl too. The play ended basically with Touko coming out to her parents who said at the end "we have things to talk about" in an understanding way. The play was written by another character but the accuracy in describing Touko was spot on. Discovering sexuality is a theme to Bloom into You, and while there are certainly differences, the focus is facing the challenges of and acceptance of love itself which has no orientation. People have orientations, love doesn't.

As for the rest of the story, I don't think were through all the drama just yet. Yuu, I have a hard time believing she'd accept Touko's answer right away.

last edited at Feb 4, 2019 11:03PM

joined Nov 5, 2017

Touko and Sayaka are already aware they are lesbians and I think Yuu is bisexual and otherwise didn't have much difficulty with Touko being a girl too. The play ended basically with Touko coming out to her parents who said at the end "we have things to talk about" in an understanding way. The play was written by another character but the accuracy in describing Touko was spot on. Discovering sexuality is a theme to Bloom into You, and while there are certainly differences, the focus is facing the challenges of and acceptance of love itself which has no orientation. People have orientations, love doesn't.

I don't really think Touko is a lesbian or Yuu is bisexual. Sayaka for sure is a lesbian and she herself has stated this. But Touko and Yuu are pretty much the same, both fell in love with each other for other reasons than mainly "because she is a girl and I like girls" (unlike Sayaka). Nakatani even said that one of the reasons boys exist in yagakimi is to show girls who fall in love with other girls because they like girls (Sayaka and Miyako) and girls whose love interest simply happened to be a girl (Touko & Yuu). Boys are present yet the leads choose other girls and don't show attraction to guys (Yuu may have wanted to, but failed to). Touko didn't fall in love with Yuu at first sight or showed that kind of interest before Yuu said the magic words "I can't fall in love with anyone" and she hasn't shown attraction to other women either. Yuu fell in love with Touko after all the time they spent knowing each other.
It's easier to label the other characters in this manga (Sayaka and Miyako are lesbians, Maki is asexual aro, Koyomi, Akari and Doujima are straight, Riko is bi) but I don't see the point on labelling the main characters. If people really insist on labelling them, I would say pansexual, but still, I'd much rather just say that they fell in love for who the other is, and their gender was irrelevant in that process (which doesn't mean they aren't sexually attracted to each other, because they clearly are, but that's a part that came with love). Could they have fallen for each other had the other (or both) been male instead? Probably. Just like Riko wasn't into girls but chose Miyako because she fell in love with the person she is.

last edited at Feb 4, 2019 11:23PM

Img_0215
joined Jul 29, 2017

OK, Nyah-chan has thrown down the “you’re reading too much into it—the author didn’t intend that” gauntlet, so:

Symbolism, broadly defined = something has meaning beyond its denotation. In literature, that denotation is the literal meaning of the word, in comics it’s that plus the factuality of what is visually depicted (in the first instance, a leaf is a leaf.)

Then there’s connotation, what’s suggested by what is said/shown. Some of that is cultural knowledge, some is cultural convention.

Let’s take a romantic confession. As mere information being passed from one person to another, that can happen any way at all—through a text, an email, or even a telegram (they still exist in a lot of places).

But socially, it seems “wrong” that a confession be done otherwise except in person. It further seems necessary that it be done away from other people—you could do it on a bus, or walking through a crowded mall, but it’s too emotionally fraught for that. Furthermore, it could be done in complete privacy, like in a bedroom, but depending on how it goes, one or the other person could feel trapped and confined. Therefore, conventionally confessions take place somewhere both public and also private—in a quiet area of a park, behind the school, in an empty classroom, etc.

None of that is “symbolic” but only suggestive. If it were to take place in a dark alley, it would suggest something clandestine and tawdry about the relationship, because those are associations that “go with” a dark alley.

So in Chapter 38, the boats. There are boats in the first instance because in the Arashiyama section of Kyoto where the characters are is a river and on that river are boats (also an old-fashioned train from which you can see boats going through a narrow passage). Touko and Sayaka are in a boat because it allows them to be together in public but away from everyone else—not symbolism either, but still meaningful in terms of staging. There are also further connotations that go with boats—travel, change, progress, etc. But the two of them aren’t literally going anywhere, so which boat-ish connotations get engaged in any given reading is highly variable and basically subjective. (Ditto for the bridges.)

Then there are repeated patterns. Distinguishing between mere repetition and a meaningful pattern is highly context-dependent and to also to varying degrees subjective (just ask a paranoid person about the difference sometime).

The leaves. The first fallen leaves, on page 11 [paginated 67] are arguably just part of the literal furniture of the scene. Now, there’s no necessary reason for there to be an overhanging tree, or for Sayaka to trail her fingers in the water near the leaves; that’s a thing you do on a leisurely boat ride like that. But the bottom panel isolates a falling leaf, placing it right beside a word balloon reading “loving someone.” That makes a direct textual link between the literal leaf and the concept of love, all but labeling the image as “leaf = love.”

In the ensuing sequence, Sayaka plucks the leaf from Touko’s hair (at the literal level simply a thing a friend does for a friend) and holds it up almost like a talisman as she tells Touko her understanding of love. It’s the key moment almost of the entire story—where Touko finally hears the thing that she’s needed to get through her thick, stubborn skull for the whole series: love is about trusting yourself and the other person with no guarantee of certainty about the future (in the other translation, a leap of faith). So the pattern not only suggests but almost shouts that there’s a connection between the leaf and Touko’s love.

How far you can legitimately push that connection is, again, variable and subjective (I probably lean a bit more Nyah-chan’s way than riverFlower’s on this one). But if we wanted to be exhaustive about the possible symbolic resonance of “falling leaves” in Japanese culture we could be here for a fucking month, and only just be getting started.

The ducks are blatantly obvious. Duck #1, on page 9, is a “furniture” duck, part of the physical scene of the story. The ducks at the top of page 15 are “atmospheric” ducks—part of a calm sylvan scene where Touko thinks how she’s never been so calm when someone has confessed to her. The calm exterior scene mirrors Touko’s interior calm. You potentially could think of that as “symbolic,” but it’s really just parallelism. (If you start to doze on a quiet beach, the sounds of the waves aren’t “symbols” of your relaxation, they’re part of it.)

But then Touko notices the pair of ducks floating nearby, and their ducky skinship (beakship?) suddenly reminds her of her previous close relationship with Yuu. The connection is more associative than technically symbolic—person sees X, which reminds her of Y. Touko’s demeanor changes, which Sayaka notices, then we cut away from the scene.

Then the ducks reappear at the crucial moment, after Touko has announced her decision and just before Sayaka confirms that Yuu is the one Touko has chosen. Then as Sayaka reflects on what has happened, she sees a duck high in the sky, watches it land beside another duck, then sees them as a couple in the distance while she thinks “It didn’t end up being me.” Sayaka, razor-sharp as she is, most likely explicitly makes the connection between Touko’s previous reaction to the ducks and her relationship with Yuu. (I am very fond of Sayaka in this moment and sad for her, but am glad the ducks have found contentment).

This panel might as well have fucking neon signs saying, “This duck represents Touko,” and “This duck represents Yuu” and “This panel represents how Sayaka is a proud but sad fucking bunny rabbit.” (I just made up the part about the bunny rabbit.)

So tl;dr: sometimes things carry more weight than their literal sense to varying degrees, unless you’re paranoid. Then everything always does.

last edited at Feb 5, 2019 9:43AM

joined Sep 1, 2017

I think the ones who are analazying in depth give the rest an opportunity to listen to a second perspective of the manga. I like it. & to the ones who aren’t fond of it.. well tough luck just scroll along xD

Ykn1
joined Dec 20, 2018

The ducks are blatantly obvious. Duck #1, on page 9, is a “furniture” duck, part of the physical scene of the story. The ducks at the top of page 15 are “atmospheric” ducks—part of a calm sylvan scene where Touko thinks how she’s never been so calm when someone has confessed to her. The calm exterior scene mirrors Touko’s interior calm. You potentially could think of that as “symbolic,” but it’s really just parallelism. (If you start to doze on a quiet beach, the sounds of the waves aren’t “symbols” of your relaxation, they’re part of it.)

But then Touko notices the pair of ducks floating nearby, and their ducky skinship (beakship?) suddenly reminds her of her previous close relationship with Yuu. The connection is more associative than technically symbolic—person sees X, which reminds her of Y. Touko’s demeanor changes, which Sayaka notices, then we cut away from the scene.

Then the ducks reappear at the crucial moment, after Touko has announced her decision and just before Sayaka confirms that Yuu is the one Touko has chosen. Then as Sayaka reflects on what has happened, she sees a duck high in the sky, watches it land beside another duck, then sees them as a couple in the distance while she thinks “It didn’t end up being me.” Sayaka, razor-sharp as she is, most likely explicitly makes the connection between Touko’s previous reaction to the ducks and her relationship with Yuu. (I am very fond of Sayaka in this moment and sad for her, but am glad the ducks have found contentment).

This panel might as well have fucking neon signs saying, “This duck represents Touko,” and “This duck represents Yuu” and “This panel represents how Sayaka is a proud but sad fucking bunny rabbit.” (I just made up the part about the bunny rabbit.)

And then there's the historical significance of the ducks pointed out in Lyendith's earlier post in the middle of the spoilers. Whether we read too much into anything else in this chapter or not, the symbolism should be pretty clear in this case.

last edited at Feb 5, 2019 4:51AM

joined Aug 22, 2016

Touko and Sayaka are already aware they are lesbians and I think Yuu is bisexual and otherwise didn't have much difficulty with Touko being a girl too. The play ended basically with Touko coming out to her parents who said at the end "we have things to talk about" in an understanding way. The play was written by another character but the accuracy in describing Touko was spot on. Discovering sexuality is a theme to Bloom into You, and while there are certainly differences, the focus is facing the challenges of and acceptance of love itself which has no orientation. People have orientations, love doesn't.

I don't really think Touko is a lesbian or Yuu is bisexual. Sayaka for sure is a lesbian and she herself has stated this. But Touko and Yuu are pretty much the same, both fell in love with each other for other reasons than mainly "because she is a girl and I like girls" (unlike Sayaka). Nakatani even said that one of the reasons boys exist in yagakimi is to show girls who fall in love with other girls because they like girls (Sayaka and Miyako) and girls whose love interest simply happened to be a girl (Touko & Yuu). Boys are present yet the leads choose other girls and don't show attraction to guys (Yuu may have wanted to, but failed to). Touko didn't fall in love with Yuu at first sight or showed that kind of interest before Yuu said the magic words "I can't fall in love with anyone" and she hasn't shown attraction to other women either. Yuu fell in love with Touko after all the time they spent knowing each other.
It's easier to label the other characters in this manga (Sayaka and Miyako are lesbians, Maki is asexual aro, Koyomi, Akari and Doujima are straight, Riko is bi) but I don't see the point on labelling the main characters. If people really insist on labelling them, I would say pansexual, but still, I'd much rather just say that they fell in love for who the other is, and their gender was irrelevant in that process (which doesn't mean they aren't sexually attracted to each other, because they clearly are, but that's a part that came with love). Could they have fallen for each other had the other (or both) been male instead? Probably. Just like Riko wasn't into girls but chose Miyako because she fell in love with the person she is.

I don't feel a need to label their orientations, just noting them as I felt the story presented them. I thought the play included something about orientation but going back to read it again that's not the case. So yes, nothing indicates what orientation Touko has other than her obvious sexual attraction to Yuu. But at the same time nothing indicates she has any other sexual interest. Again, only going off the story not giving labels out of some need to.

I was quoted out of context as my argument was that while the characters have their orientations, whatever they may be;

the focus is facing the challenges of and acceptance of love itself which has no orientation. People have orientations, love doesn't.


gender was irrelevant in that process

The story never tried to show Miyako and Riko as anything but cisgendered women: where gender and sex match without conflict. So the gender vs. sex argument doesn't apply. Miyako avoids Riko because she likes her but worries Riko won't return those feelings because she is a woman. When Riko wants to try dating Miyako, Miyako again makes it clear she's a woman and Riko would be dating a woman to which Riko replies she isn't sure but wants to try and believes that she can.

Much later, seemingly still a bit uncertain, Miyako asks Riko what her preference is, man or woman? Riko replies "It's not like I'm all that into women" which obliterates Miyako's soul. To clarify Riko says "I'm normally not that interested in women, but I'm dating you now, Miyako. So you're like an exception, or a special case, or..."

In response Miyako tries to coax out of her what she means, not because she's uncertain what Riko means but because it's nice to hear that the person you're sexually involved with is sexually attracted to you. In Miyako's case it's wanting to hear that Riko is sexually attracted to her, at least in part because she's a woman. Riko couldn't only come this far in their relationship because part of her, as she was too embarrassed to admit directly, is attracted to women. Gender was never irrelevant to either of them. To Miyako and Riko, being women is part of who they are.

It is possible that Riko would say "I love you because you're you". But Miyako made it clear to Riko that an important part to her, and their relationship, is that she's a woman. Miyako could be a one-off for Riko, that does happen, but gender definitely is a factor in their relationship working.

And in general, regardless of orientation, sexual compatibility is real. Love, romantic love, does not automatically turn into sexual compatibility just because one loves someone for who they are. I'm not meaning Asexual, but people can romantically love someone and have no sexual interest or lose sexual interest which actually ends some relationships where love remains.

So, there's actually a lot I want reply to in your post but this is long already so I may make it a two part reply. However, the main point I wanted to make was that while orientation is addressed in the story, love itself is the main focus on the story.

OK, Nyah-chan has thrown down the “you’re reading too much into it—the author didn’t intend that” gauntlet, so:

Yes, Nyah-chan's comment made me remember what my Great Grandfather once said in regard to the Grand Canyon, "It's just a big hole in the ground, who cares?" Eyes roll all the way back to Bohemia.

last edited at Feb 5, 2019 5:21AM

Untitled-1
joined Oct 28, 2018

Bloom's 2nd Volume Blu-ray is selling reasonably well (about the same as the 1st) at 3,490 in the 1st week.
https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2019-02-05/japan-animation-blu-ray-disc-ranking-january-28-february-3/.143018

last edited at Feb 5, 2019 6:38AM

Tron-legacy
joined Dec 11, 2017

I don't really think Touko is a lesbian or Yuu is bisexual. Sayaka for sure is a lesbian and she herself has stated this. But Touko and Yuu are pretty much the same, both fell in love with each other for other reasons than mainly "because she is a girl and I like girls" (unlike Sayaka). Nakatani even said that one of the reasons boys exist in yagakimi is to show girls who fall in love with other girls because they like girls (Sayaka and Miyako) and girls whose love interest simply happened to be a girl (Touko & Yuu). Boys are present yet the leads choose other girls and don't show attraction to guys (Yuu may have wanted to, but failed to). Touko didn't fall in love with Yuu at first sight or showed that kind of interest before Yuu said the magic words "I can't fall in love with anyone" and she hasn't shown attraction to other women either. Yuu fell in love with Touko after all the time they spent knowing each other.
It's easier to label the other characters in this manga (Sayaka and Miyako are lesbians, Maki is asexual aro, Koyomi, Akari and Doujima are straight, Riko is bi) but I don't see the point on labelling the main characters. If people really insist on labelling them, I would say pansexual, but still, I'd much rather just say that they fell in love for who the other is, and their gender was irrelevant in that process (which doesn't mean they aren't sexually attracted to each other, because they clearly are, but that's a part that came with love). Could they have fallen for each other had the other (or both) been male instead? Probably. Just like Riko wasn't into girls but chose Miyako because she fell in love with the person she is.

I don't see how anyone can say Yuu is bi. We don't have enough information to label Touko or Yuu at all They are each the other's first loves. As you mention, Sayaka explicitly says she is lesbian "I can only fall in love with girls" but with Yuu and Touko they only have each other. Touko is okay with the idea of being with Sayaka, so that's also a data point, and she was pretty sure that she wasn't turning down ms "cute letter" over gender, but those don't confirm exclusive interest in same sex relationships, they just show she isn't averse to them.

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