Ao Haru Ride follows a girl named Futaba Yoshioka who’s decided to reset her life and her look upon entering high school. When Futaba was in middle school, she was quiet and cute, thus isolated from her jealous female classmates. In high school she decides to act as unladylike and unattractive as possible to fit in with her friends. Part of her decision to reset her life in high school also had to do with the awkward fall out she had with her middle school crush, Kou Tanaka.
In high school one day, Futaba bumps into a boy who looks almost exactly like Tanaka. However, he goes by the name Mabuichi. The first episode basically introduces these two main characters and gives us their back story. We fly pretty quickly through the first episode. We find out that Tanaka changed his named to Mabuichi after his parents got divorced. Upon reuniting with Kou, Futaba is pretty shocked to see how much Kou has changed. Because Kou once accidentally overheard Futaba saying her hates boys, he teases her about initially when they see each other at the shrine again. She tells Kou that she feels differently about him with the other boys. Kou finally confesses that he loved her back in middle school.
There’s such a beautifully tragic bittersweet feeling that emerges from this exchange because even though the feelings may linger, Futaba and Kou have been apart for so long and they’ve both become such different people. Kou’s a lot colder, sarcastic, more serious. Futaba remembers the time he stood her up at the summer festival and regrets never clearing things up with him.My very first impression of the show in the first second of the episode was WOW the art is gorgeous. The flashback scenes have some really beautiful and shaded animation that depicts the story in a really bright and refreshing light. The consistent animation in the present day story attempts to style itself closely to Io Sakisaka’s manga style but naturally much of the detail from the manga is lost in the adaptation. I still think, however, that the animators did a great job in designing the characters to closely emulate Sakisaka’s original aesthetic. This is especially prevalent in the end credits. Honestly I could not ask for anything more than what they’ve done with the art.
I am really excited for Ao Haru Ride this season because not a lot of strictly shojo high school romance gets adapted into an anime nowadays. The manga is still ongoing so I’m curious as to where the anime will end off considering the fact that there is only twelve episodes. There’s so much drama and emotional depth to the original Ao Haru Ride story that I have certain expectations that need to be met in the anime adaptation. If they lightly skim the Ao Haru Ride story it’ll just seem like a cheesy love triangle generic shojo anime but if the storylines of each main character and all supporting characters are given enough screen time and proper development, Ao Haru Ride should emerge as a fairly strong series not only for shoujo and slice of life fans but also for viewers looking for something with less action and lot more heart.
Can’t wait for episode 2!
What are you pondering today?