Ao Haru Ride was a little bit slow-paced for me throughout the last orientation scavenger hunt where we get pretty classic shojo moments. The shy cutie Makita gets spooked over crossing a river and the stoic but reassuring Kou saves her. The outgoing leader Futaba twists her ankle by accident while crossing the river and gets piggy-backed by our hero again. I love Futaba’s enthusiasm when she becomes the energy that binds all her friends together and motivates them to cherish their time together and build memories.
You’ll get the sense that Kou really does want to connect to people but he’s just not fully 100% certain of throwing himself into friendship. Same with Murao who’s been cold and alone for so long and Makita who’s been isolated. Kominato is a really key character in the changes that will happen in Murao. But first she needs to resolve her feelings for Tanaka-sensei…
Don’t worry about Makita falling for Kou… it won’t last. And the drama won’t get TOO intense between the girls nor will their friendship be wrecked. Io Sakisaka, the original manga artist and creator of Ao Haru Ride never does these overly melodramatic girl fights (especially not over a guy). You’ll see something similar in her other series Strobe Edge as well. Lots of Kou and Futaba moments will continue as the group grows in friendship and as aloof as Kou is, he does have those moments where he really wants to believe in everything Futaba is working for because she’s such a motivated and positive go-getter.
I guess Kou acts like he doesn’t care most of the time and he probably doesn’t care THAT MUCH but he handful of things or people he does care about and Futaba is one of them. For example, he’ll pretend to play with a kitty just as an excuse of waiting with Futaba at the station until her mom comes to pick her up. Futaba can definitely see through him but she lets it slide. Overall, Kou and Futaba are a good match because Kou worries too little about life and Futaba worries a bit too much. They balance each other out well. You’re probably wondering why both of them haven’t really jumped the gun into a relationship yet. For Kou, he has some personal issues to figure out while Futaba is just trying to learn how high school Kou and middle school Kou are similar or different and get to know him all over again. She’s also trying to figure out if she still loves him the way she use to… well, it’s pretty obvious she does. Whether she’s owned up to it yet… well, we’re only at episode five so let’s keep watching.
The scavenger hunt was a good way to end the mini field trip arc because it wraps up really neatly. I kind of miss the Kou and Futaba flashbacks now that we’re past all the introductory stuff but we have yet to see Kou’s back story so there should still be some shots left. I just really love the animation tones they use for the middle-school storytelling.
What are you pondering today?