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Ranmaru Kurisu felt like he never fit in, like no one in his family or town understood or appreciated him. But when he went to college and met the quirky members of the Art Squad, he suddenly found a group where he didn’t just belong—he thrived!
But the magic of the Art Squad doesn’t stop there. Not only does Ranmaru find the support and understanding he has always craved, his new friends also help him see his relationship with his family in a new light. Ranmaru always thought his father called him “sardine boy” because they are a small, weak fish. But now that being a part of the Art Squad has given him a sense of security and raised his self-confidence, Ranmaru is ready for the revelation that the nickname comes from the fact that sardines might be small and weak, but they are also intensely brave. Sardines look out for each other.
In the Art Squad, Ranmaru and the other members have found their fellow sardines, and as a group they support and encourage each other in sweet and even life-altering ways. Ranmaru, as the main character and newbie member with high anxiety, might have the most dramatic transformation under the healing help of his team mates, but he is not the only one who benefits. By the end of volume 7, everyone in the Art Squad has found a sense of purpose. Some of them needed more help than others, and some of them have more concrete plans than others, but as you close the final chapter you are left with the happy feeling that all the characters are going to be pleased with their lives.
As the creator Bisco Hatori mentioned on her recent visit to Anime Expo in Los Angeles, CA, kindness and acceptance are deeply important themes in her work. From the host club in Ouran High School Host Club to the group of friends in Millennium Snow to the Art Squad in Behind the Scenes, her stories are full of people escaping loneliness to find their happy place with true friends and companions. In a world where kindness and acceptance can sometimes feel distressingly rare, it is a relief to know that you can open a page of a Bisco Hatori book and find comfort.
Read a free preview of Behind the Scenes!!, Vol. 7 here.
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