For the boys of Kitano High School, spring signals the approach of a summer that can't come fast enough. Their days are pained with boredom and rebellion, and punctuated by violence and a dangerous game where they are willing to bet their very lives to set a new record and gain the respect of their fellow students. It's as if the longing for adulthood were so excruciating that they would rather chance young death than die of boredom. They talk crudely, write graffiti, get in fights, and make more than a few passing remarks about masturbation and sex, all the while competing for popularity and respect.
The graffiti serves another purpose as well, letting the audience see the authors influences, turning the manga into a kind of high school notebook, giving the sense that this is a novel about a very specific youth, and this is less a random set of stories and more of an autobiography. Matsumoto-san literally writes his influences on the walls; from specific works like Otomo's Boogie Woogie Waltz and Jean-Jacques Beineix's 37°2 le matin (Betty Blue) to including names like Kurosawa, Nakagawa, Ohta, Inoue, and Takada, in which he lists, almost as a timeline of important people, right before the names of his protagonists, Kujo, and then Aoki, who who has just unseated his predecessor. The characters of Kujo and Aoki themselves bring to mind the relationship between Akira's protagonists, Kaneda and Tetsuo.