There will be spoilers for the comic series Star Collector.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to breakups, gender stereotypes, child abandonment, divorce, Alzheimer's, and homomisia, as it appears in the comic.
Fynn is far from a model student. He'd much rather spend his time smoking and lazing about than going to class, and he does so quite often. He is even less inclined to attend class when his girlfriend breaks up with him. She was very kind about it, but her reasoning has Fynn rather stumped. She implies he might be interested in other things, only being with her because it's easier to go with the flow. He can't imagine what other things that might be as he mourns the end of their relationship.
That is until he sees a guy with a telescope after spending a night on the nearby hillside to smoke. The young man is named Niko, a new student at his school. Fynn isn't interested in the stars, but he is definitely into Niko. For the first time in a long time, Fynn makes a concerted effort to attend class, all because he wants to learn more about Niko. Can he draw Niko's gaze away from the skies and onto him? More importantly, is his interest in Niko love or just curiosity?
For clarity's sake, this is an OGL comic, which means this manga-style comic has authors and artists originating from a German-speaking country or first published in those countries. German might have been the original language of this comic.
This art style is charming. It's sketchy and inconsistent, but it has a cute softness that works with the narrative. If you're looking for perfection, this isn't it, but I think you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you avoid this just because of the art style. It might be formatted like a manga, but the art is not the quintessential manga style. That's not to say it is devoid of manga-style elements. I'd say early in the first volume feels very much like a manga, but as it goes on, the artist seems to find their style, and by the second volume, I'd say it's shaken off most of what made it look like a manga in the first. It's unique and casual, expressive and youthful, all of which I enjoyed when paired with the story.
What I didn't care for all that much was Niko's abrasive nature. It's a nice counterbalance to Fynn who is laissez-faire attitude incarnate, but Niko can be frustrating. Granted, it makes sense for his character, as he feels compelled to hide and protect himself, having been essentially disowned by his father for being gay. Still, I found him to be insufferable at times. He sees Fynn kiss Zoe before Niko and Fynn are together, and rather than ask Fynn or, better yet, his friend Zoe for clarity, he just assumes Fynn is a player and avoids him. I can understand being initially turned off, but my initial reaction would have been to reach out to Zoe to see what their relationship was since he seemed to trust her far more than he trusted Fynn.
However, a “goodbye kiss” with an ex is just an odd concept. I understand being friends with someone even after breaking up, but I've never thought about giving them a goodbye kiss a few days after breaking up. Just to be clear, this isn't a friendly peck on the cheek or a very quick platonic kiss on the lips (which would still be weird to me, but whatever), but a full-on kiss with Fynn's hands on her hips and everything. It feels far more intimate than a kiss between friends. I can completely understand Niko being disturbed by it, as I would be, too. It's an odd choice for Zoe, in particular, who seems to be very level-headed, and who knows Fynn is into Niko. I know this is to create some tension in the story, but it doesn't make much sense overall.
This is a relatively mild annoyance compared to what happens in the second volume. Before I get into this, I want to clarify that I believe everyone has a right to privacy. No one has any right to know anything about your life you don't want to divulge. That said, when withholding information hurts others, it becomes a problem. Fynn is often left to wait on Niko with no indication as to why Fynn is just forced to hang around like that. The reason? Because he is seeing his grandfather, who has dementia. Again, I understand that Niko is distrustful of those close to him, fearing they will leave him, but it hurt my soul to see Fynn just wanting to know why Niko is always late, only to be told it was none of his business. That's not to say Fynn is without fault. Fynn is much more obsessive and clingy in the second volume and demands information from Niko that he isn't entitled to beyond the whole waiting thing, but they are young, and I think many of these issues make sense for the presumed age range.
I like this. It's cute and fairly lighthearted for the most part. It does have its annoying moments, but what more can you expect from a story featuring high schoolers? It doesn't make much sense overall, with odd choices and weird pieces of information being withheld, but it's still a cute story overall. If you're looking for something on the fluffier side, look no further.
Have you read Star Collector? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!