Chinatsu Kano in the promotional art for Blue Box
(Telecom Animation Film)

Get Ready for ‘Blue Box’ to Explode Your Heart With Feelings

For decades and decades, Shonen Jump has been known for producing some of the biggest action series in the manga world. One Piece, Naruto, Demon Slayer, Jujutsu Kaisen, My Hero Academia—all of them serialized (or are serializing) in Jump.

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But despite the fact that the shonen genre translates to “young boy does action stuff to be the best at something,” there are some Jump series that are being more liberal with those confines. One of them is Akane Banashi, which features a female protagonist (GASP!) trying to make it to the top of the world of rakugo, a form of storytelling from Japan’s Edo period. Another is Blue Box, a sports-centric romantic comedy (GASP!!) which is about to get an anime adaptation.

Of course, Jump has done sports before—just look at Haikyuu!!. But a sports romance is new territory. Koji Miura’s manga has been running since August 2021, with 12 volumes accumulated so far. Ever since, Jump readers have been buzzing about the series. Miura’s drawings are gorgeous, and the story holds the kind of sincerity that fills your heart.

If you’re hooked into the world of manga, Blue Box and DAN DA DAN are the ones to watch when 2024 starts wrapping up. So let’s learn about the series which will be many people’s next cozy favorite.

So wholesome, so pure

The second teaser trailer for Blue Box describes it as “a coming-of-age love story so pure, it’ll ‘shoot’ right through your heart.” Which … yeah. That social media person nailed it.

The “shoot” that, mercifully enough, does not refer to guns. Instead, it refers to basketball. Second-year high school student Taiki Inomata, who’s on his school’s badminton team, has a crush on third-year basketball player Chinatsu Kano. (Remember, high school in Japan is only three years long.) Taiki has long admired her from a distance, but one day, he finally talks to her.

Already cute, right? Add in Taiki’s long-time friend Hina Chono, who’s a member of the Rhythmic Gymnastics team (YES), and our wholesome story about the tensions of young love is complete.

What makes Blue Box special is that you will get sports action, a la Haikyuu!!. But you will also definitely get juicy romantic tension, in balanced proportions. Blue Box dares to ask, why not both?

The people bringing this wholesomeness to life

Blue Box‘s anime adaptation comes courtesy of a surprising studio—Telecom Animation Film. They’re veterans of the industry and were founded all the way back in 1975. Their alumni include—wildly enough—Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki and his mentor, Isao Takahata. Telecom often works in a support role, cooperating with studios on areas such as background art. In this capacity, they worked on many Ghibli films, Weathering With You, and Belle.

In other words, since this is a studio with works hand-in-hand with Ghibli, it’s no wonder all the footage for Blue Box looks as pretty as it does. As for their in-house series—beyond Blue Box, just this year alone, they worked on the super-cute Astro Note and will head up the upcoming Rick and Morty anime.

Director Yuuichirou Yano’s credits as an animator and storyboard artist include such revered titles as Akira, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and the secret best Ghibli film, Whisper of the Heart. So the series is in good hands there, too.

The voice cast is top-notch, too. Chinatsu’s voice actress, Reina Ueda, will be voicing Reze in the upcoming Chainsaw Man film and also voices Ganyu in Genshin Impact. Shoya Chiba, best known as playing Kiyotaka Ayanokiji in Classroom of the Elite, will be voicing Taiki. He was adorable at the Anime Expo panel, saying that when he read the manga, he saw Taiki and thought, “Whoa, it’s me!”

To round out the main cast, Hina will be voiced by Akari Kito, who you’ll recognize muffled affirmations from as Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba‘s female lead, Nezuko.

When and where can you watch Blue Box?

Blue Box will release as part of the fall 2024 anime season. In North America, it will seemingly exclusively stream on Netflix.

Netflix hasn’t announced a specific date yet, so we don’t yet know whether Blue Box will start in October with the rest of the season. However, it always has a broadcast time on Japanese television carved out, so it’s likely it will be a weekly release that progresses along with the season of the season, like Dungeon Meshi did.

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Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.