Ao Haru Ride (2014)

Ao Haru Ride

  • Blue Spring Ride
  • based on manga
  • by Ai Yoshimura

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Futaba Yoshioka used to be an attractive girl in middle school who was quite popular by the boys, but hated by the girls. However she didn’t care because the true matter was Kou Tanaka. A shy classmate she met during a rainy day and with whom she has shared many great memories. She planned to meet him at the summer festival, but he never showed up and after that he completely disappeared. So Futaba was alone without any friends. In high school she has changed everything from avoiding unwanted attention to acting tomboyish instead of girlish and adorable. Nonetheless, the appearance of the one and only boy she ever loved upsets her plans. However this time everything is different, not only his named changed into Kou Mabuchi but also his personality is completely different.

The anime series is filled with many serious topics where the main topic is definitely friendship. It is about choosing the right friends who share the same feelings and emotions. However, the ugly truth is you will get excluded if you don’t behave like the majority. In other words, you have to adapt to your classmates to avoid any exclusion. One example are shy girls who are mainly excluded from others. A further negative aspect shown in the series about ‘friendship’ is jealousy. However, also the opposite side or rather the good side of friendship is also shown: real friendships or real friends are good for your health and well-being.

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Many funny scenes and interactions are seen especially between Kou and Futaba. The awkwards moments of Futaba bring many laughter. In addition, classmates of them also show an awkward relationship speaking of Kominato being in love with Murao who does not show any interest. One of the funniest episode is as the class participates in a camp which is really amusing to watch because it somehow ends up in a catastrophe.

As being a romance anime, clearly many emotions are included whereas most of them are dealing with love and falling in love. The main protagonist Futaba is not really sure if she should love Kou or not because as he ditched her at the summer festival; she is quite confused and unsure about her feelings. Moreover, she also doesn’t want to hurt another classmate Yuuri who is also in love with him. In addition, there are also hints of some ‘forbidden’ love: Murao is in love with a teacher Yōichi Tanaka who is Kou’s elder brother. Not only love but also tragedy cannot be lacking in a romance series. The reason of Kou’s drastic change in personality is very sad and dramatic. So the heartbreaking part is the burden he has to bear.

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We really love the different personalities of the high school students. Firstly, the main character Futaba is very indecisive and acts unfeminine whereas her friend Yuuri has a more cute and shy personality. Kou seems to have a more cool and sarcastic attitude. SPOILER ALERT: Kou has made a drastic character development. As having been a very shy guy, he turns into a more self confident and completely different boy. Even though he shows mostly a rude attitude towards Kou, he still cares for her. Not only Kou has changed but also Futaba has changed her personality. She starts being no longer cute or rather attractive to boys. She mostly proves this by eating very much in front of everybody which is seen as not cute. For her this change is an important restart in her life.

The art of ‘Ao Haru Ride’ is neither bad nor astonishing. The background lacks a bit of details. Therefore we think it could have been a bit better. However we like the cute faces of the characters especially Kou is very lovely drawn. In contrast to the art of animation the opening theme and music are very beautiful. The opening and ending themes are amusing and entertaining and we like the fact that they don’t contain any spoilers.

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We also have some negative critics about the anime series. SPOILER ALERT: Kominato’s feelings for Murao and vise versa are put into the background especially in the second part of the anime. Moreover, there are also many hints for love confessions which end to be only hints and nothing more. Therefore, we do not like the ending at all.

The fact that the anime series is a shōjo anime, it consists of mainly romantic elements and attracts therefore more female audience. Beside romantic, many drama scenes are also included such as crying. However, the series also shows some suspenses such as: when is Futaba going to confess or will she ever do it? What does Kou feel for Futaba?

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One can say that the most important element in the anime is the strong friendships between the characters. The anime contains many exciting and funny scenes however the end could have been a bit better because it is like an open end where you can guess what will happen next. The anime itself is not that bad, but we would rather not watch it again because for us it is a bit too kitschy.

Cheers,

MikaYuu Hyakuya

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