Anime Review: Ao Haru Ride

Friday, October 02, 2015

Title: Ao Haru Ride,アオハライド[pronounce: aoharaido], Blue Spring Ride/ Youth Ride
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy, School Life, Slice of Life, Friendship
Category: Shoujo
Mangaka: Sakisaka Io
Chapters: 59 [Complete]
Episodes: 12 [Complete]
OVA: 2 - Episode 13 Unwritten, Episode 14
Heyyy there! I'm back with my very first anime review! So now, prepare for some crazy fangirling mode /evil laughter/

Futaba Yoshioka wants to "reset" her life. In junior high, girls ostracized Futaba because too many junior high boys liked her. The only boy Futaba liked, Kou Tanaka, moved away before she could tell him how she felt. Now in high school, Futaba is determined to fit in with all the other girls. She acts unladylike so her new friends won't become jealous of her. While living her new life contentedly, she meets Kou again, but he now uses the name Kou Mabuchi and has a cold attitude. He tells her that he liked her too in junior high, but feels differently now. [from: myanimelist]
From left to right: Kominato, Murao, Yuuri, Futaba, Kou on their first year orientation camping trip (Ep.5)

If I was given a choice to live in manga world, I definitely would choose Ao Haru Ride. Why? Because it is really the kind of shoujo life I forever long for. Well, the story has a lot of drama there and there but it has those bitter-sweet kind of story line. 

Futaba was in love with the Tanaka Kou in her middle school, when he was gone before she could confess to him. Years later, they meet again and this time the Tanaka Kou is no longer there, but only cold-heart Mabuchi Kou. Futaba struggled to find his old self, but Kou asked her to stop clinging to the past. Futaba decided to start anew with the new Kou.

Kou and Futaba in middle school
Kou and Futaba during their first year in high school and their first meeting after three years apart.

What I like about the anime is it is not really focused on the romance between Futaba and Kou but Sakisaka-sensei also highlighted the friendship plot and family plot inside the story. Kou who just moved to Tokyo after his mother died, live with his older brother, in which is a teacher in his new school. His relationship with his brother is not really going well and Kou would often distance himself from him. (Tanaka-sensei would always ask him to have a dinner together but Kou will run away from him). But what have I noticed after I read the manga, he slowly grew a soft spot towards his brother and eventually had dinner with him and their father.

Tanaka sensei tears up when Kou finally joined their dinner as a family

In terms of friendship, it centered around Futaba. She has a group of friend who she consider as her best friends but broke their friendship after Futaba was siding Yuuri when her 'friends' talked bad about her (and after she have a second thought of Kou's word about her friends) After that, Futaba build a group of friend consist of the shy and cute Yuuri, the quiet and cold Murao, the loud and energetic Kominato, and of course, her one-sided love-slash-crush, Kou. Their friendship grew and matured after a few conflict there and there. There is one time when Yuuri actually have a crush on Kou and Futaba was really worried if she told her that she likes him too. But eventually, the two compete in a healthy competition whoever got to date Kou after they confess. Yuuri was rejected by Kou in the summer festival, and she said Kou must like Futaba alot.

About romance, the romance shown a lot in the manga. The anime has a bit of romance when Futaba and Kou were alone but not so often. In the manga, the romance grew intense after Futaba was confessed by a third wheel guy name Kikuchi Touma and the appearance of Kou's childhood friend name Narumi Yui. Futaba and Touma actually dated, but Kou and Yui didn't. And Kou was really jealous of Touma but he didn't actually show it. He continue to take care of Yui since Yui was facing a family problem, and he wanted to protect her so that she didn't become like him. Yui actually lied to him about the family problem, I think? I don't remember that part though but it has to do with something with lying in order to get closer to Kou. Futaba and Touma broke up right after she realized she can't love Touma like she love Kou. Touma knew about that since they started dating and he was ready for the break up. This part made me cry a lot because LOOK HOW TOUMA LOVE YOU FUTABA HOW CAN YOU BE SO BLIND?! and Touma look really heartbreaking you know I just wanted to hug him and tell him I love him ughhhh.

The signature window hug

Look how happy Touma was before he the break up /my heart hurts/
Eventually, Kou and Futaba are together after lots and lots of obstacle for them before they even started dating for real. Well, the story goes on after that with Kou and Futaba being lovey dovey, Kominato and Murao are dating as well, and Yuuri got a boyfriend which is one of Touma's friends. Tanaka-sensei went abroad to America for I don't remember the reasons. The manga ending did not satisfy me, to be honest. I thought they would get married or something but the ending actually stopped at their third year of high school. UGH. I WANT A SEQUEL SAKISAKA SENSEI! AND THE ANIME SHOULD HAVE SEASON 2! 

Out of all the shoujo anime/manga, Ao Haru Ride is a very heartwarming one. I really recommend this to everyone who wanted to read shoujo manga with a light romance in it.

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