Ao Haru Ride

Title:Ao Haru Ride
Blue Spring Ride
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Production I.G.
R1 License - Sentai Filmworks (ADV)
Futaba was a girl who was in love with a boy named Kou Tanaka in middle school. However, after a misunderstanding, their relationship as friends ends when he transfers schools over summer vacation. In high school, her world is turned around once again when she meets Kō again, this time under the name of Kou Mabuchi.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

[TV series, 2014, 12 episodes, 25 min; animated by Production IG; based on an ongoing ↗Shoujo manga with 10+ volumes since 2011]
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 7 7 6 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:2917#1552]
Ao Haru Ride is a shoujo romantic dramaedy focused on the developing bonds between Futaba, Kou and their friends in high school. In particular, Futaba tries to reestablish her bond with Kou from middle school, who grew emotionally distant with her since they last seen one another. The anime essentially plays up the old "will they or won't they" storytelling style as Futaba's efforts slowly pay off throughout the course of Ao Haru Ride as Kou's character mellows out and we come to learn more of the reasons why he put on his cold facade, which are rather tragic as you would expect from a shoujo title. Other classmates in the series exist as friends to our two leads and get in their own romantic complications, a few of which involving Kou and Futaba. The series doesn't break any new ground with the storytelling it has to present for its romance, but the series has enough restraint on its drama and enough dimension on its characters where you could genuinely care for the joys and pitfalls they experience with love throughout Ao Haru Ride's run without the drama and romance getting overblown and saccharine. The series does lack a proper resolution since its source material is still ongoing, but it is still worth a look if you're a fan of shoujo and romance anime.

Last updated Monday, September 22 2014. Created Monday, September 22 2014.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:2917#628]
(Two episodes watched):

A teen romance needs something unusual to catch the attention of the audience, because most teen romances are pretty uninteresting. Here, Futaba's a guy-ish girl who adopted that persona so that the other girls in school wouldn't see her as a rival for the hot guys and hate her. That's exactly what has happened to another girl in class, Makita. Tanaka/Mabuchi was a girlish guy the first time Futaba met him, three years ago, but now he seems pretty normal. Apparently, she fell in love with him immediately, but he moved away soon afterwards, and because of a careless remark she made he left thinking she hated him. There's certainly a little oddness here, but this romantic misunderstanding business doesn't interest me much. It's not all that unusual, and I don't think we have been introduced to either of the two well enough in this opening episode to really care what becomes of their romance. What briefly prevented me from dispensing with this show was that I was curious about what would become of Makita (who the ED sequence suggests will wind up as a friend of Futaba). She has adopted the direct opposite approach to friendship and romance as Futaba, namely reaching out to the guys and not trying to please the girls. There's no guarantee that this will amount to anything (the chemistry of relationships, like between Futaba and Mabuchi, seems confused and uninspired so far), but I was willing to watch another episode just in case it did. But eh, even Makita doesn't seem to be all that deep in episode two. People just seem to bounce abruptly from one emotion to another instead of changing subtly for intriguing reasons. When the characters are as flighty as this, I can't really care all that much about what becomes of them. I don't really like Tanaka/Mabuchi, and would advise Futaba against pursuing him. The story is confusing, too; I don't really see where (if anywhere) of interest it is trying to lead me. This just seems pretty generic and shallow, I don't recall any particular laughs, and I doubt that anything novel will happen, so I will quit watching.

Last updated Sunday, September 14 2014. Created Saturday, July 12 2014.

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