Ao Haru Ride: This is not a perfect love story. It’s a story about heartbreaks, about what could have beens and where did we go wrongs. (Bring some tissues)
In A Nutshell
Ao Haru Ride tells the childhood love story of Futaba Yoshioka and Kou Tanaka. Futaba used to be a very attractive and popular girl in middle school. Loved by boys and hated by girls, Futaba only cared about her classmate Kou Tanaka. However, due to a misunderstanding, Kou disappeared one day and Futaba never saw him again. Because of this bad experience, she decided to change her appearance and start acting more tomboyish so that boys will leave her alone. However, all of that changes when Kou comes back to her life as a completely different person from the boy she used to know.
Meet the Characters
Futaba is the female protagonist. She is in her second year of high school and she only wants to focus on her studies and her friends. Futaba tries to be as unattractive as possible, wearing a dishveled look and acting boyish on purpose so that boys won’t go after her. She is still in love with her childhood friend Kou and she gets frustrated at the fact that she can’t read his feelings when he gets back.
Kou, previously named Tanaka Kou, is the male protagonist. Kou’s personality has changed a lot from when he was a little boy due to dramatic events that took place with his family. Kou used to be fun and extroverted, but now he’s blunt, cold and distant, which confuses Futaba. Kou is afraid of showing his feelings and wants to focus on other things in life. She tells Futaba that whatever happened between them is long gone because they’re now different people.
Yuri is a good friend of Futaba’s. Simiarly to how Futaba used to be, Yuri is very cute, innocent and sweet, which causes her to be hated by other girls from their class. Because of this, Yuri helps Futaba realize that it’s best to be who you are even if you are hated than to pretend to be someone you are not. However, Yuri also has some issues when romantic feelings are involved, even if she tends to hold it all in and put other people’s happiness before hers.
Shuko is also a friend of Futaba’s. Just like Yuri, Shuko is a “lone wolf”. Even though, she is very beautiful, Shuko has a cold exterior that drives other people away. Shuko is very quiet, serious and has trust issues, but learns to get better thanks to her friendship with Futaba and Yuri. Shuko has been in love with Tanaka-sensei, Kou’s older brother for a long time.
A Brief History of Ao Haru Ride: the When, Where and How
Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride in English) is a manga series written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka and serialized in the shoujo magazine Bessatsu Margaret between 2011 and 2015. An 12-episode anime adaptation was made by Production I.G. in Summer 2014. The series has become one of the most popular and loved shoujo anime in recent years and the story was also adapted into a live action film directed by Takahiro Miki in 2014.
Why It’s Awesome
Just like it happens with shounen, shoujo anime are usually filled with cliches. Once you have seen a couple anime of that genre, it’s fairly easy to predict what will happen in other similar series. While Ao Haru Ride follows many shoujo tropes, it presents them in a fresh, more realistic way that makes the series a must-watch for any anime type of anime viewer.
Most of the story is based on a misunderstanding, which already says a lot about the series’ realism. In fact, Ao Haru Ride is a story that could happen to any of us. There’s chance, external circumstances that we can’t control, friendship problems and many insecurities and trust issues. This is not one of those romantic stories that is beautiful from beginning to end. It’s not about fate or couples being meant to be. Instead of that, Ao Haru Ride is filled with an aura of “what could have been”s and “where did we go wrong?”s that make the series pretty heartbreaking, regardless of its ending.
If you’re not into love stories or shoujo, but still feel like watching some romance once to try it out, I definitely do recommend that you choose Ao Haru Ride above any other. If only for the sake of getting all the feels everytime you hear this amazing track.