Ao Haru Ride is a simple story about a young girl named Yoshioka Futaba (Uchida Maaya) who falls in love with a boy named Tanaka Kou (Kaji Yuuki). Circumstances come up in Kou’s family that results in unresolved feelings between the two and years later, they bump into each other again in their first year of high school. Kou has a new surname (Mabuchi) and with it, he’s changed in to a completely different person. Futaba has also changed and in desperate attempts to make new friends, she’s forced herself to become as “ungirly” as possible. Upon their first meeting, Futaba realizes that Kou is no longer the person she fell in love with. He’s apathetic, somewhat rude and doesn’t have that liveliness about him anymore. However, she still can’t seem to get him off her mind and the two slowly start making their way back in to each other’s’ lives. Along the way, Futaba realizes she doesn’t have to pretend to be someone else to make new friends.

In a nutshell, the story is exactly what it seems to be. It’s a romance between a girl and a boy in high school and their journey through their adolescent years. I would rate it more on the drama and romance department rather than comedy, but there are lighthearted moments between Futaba and Kou that stand out. I don’t want to spoil it for non-manga viewers, but the story so far has been quite true to its source material. There should be more frames dedicated to the young Futaba and Kou that explain why she likes him but I think that’s the only piece that’s missing. I don’t think it’s any secret, but Kou used to be kind, quiet and he made a few gestures for her that obviously, made Futaba fall in love. However, the story is really built upon their relationship now and how Futaba and Kou slowly start to fall in love again with who they are today. This first episode was probably more serious and down than you’d expect but the remaining episodes will be more upbeat and lively as Futaba and Kou go through changes. Most importantly, I like how a lot of their issues are normal everyday relatable teen issues and not forced drama for the sake of drama. You’ll see later on, but the story doesn’t beat around the bush about issues or leave you hanging. If there’s a problem, you’ll see it resolved without dragging on and on…

Asides from the story, my favorite aspects from this premiere has to be the music and the animation. It’s so beautifully drawn and everything from their facial expressions to the backgrounds is so detailed. It is exactly how I’d envision a romantic comedy to be animated and even though there are a lot of still shots, I love how each shot has such soft colors and really screams romance. And the music – oh dear, don’t get me started. I have so much love for this soundtrack and these inserts. It kills me (like J-drama and K-dramas kill me) whenever there’s a moment and the music starts rolling… I know I’m just going to cry buckets if the emotional cues are all there. So many feels! This is one OST that I’ll save for those rainy days and I can’t wait to see what else Production I.G has up their sleeves.

My only small complaint about this show (don’t kill me!) just has to be Kaji Yuuki playing the role for Kou. He’s not doing a bad job by any means, but my imagination tells me that Kou should’ve been played by someone more mature with a deep voice. Kaji Yuuki sounds much too lazy and tired than being apathetic and “cool” – which is the type of person I expect Kou to be. Nonetheless, I can’t wait to see Kou in action more. He has the bad boy vibe in the manga that I’m sure most girls would swoon over (myself included!) so I’d like to see how that translates onto the screen. From Futaba’s POV, she’s someone that I can relate to since I’ve also tried to mask my personality to fit in and I’d like to see how other people deal with peer pressure at a young age. Being in love… is another story though. I’ve always been a fan of the bad-boy type but whether Kou breaks that stereotype or lives up to it, we’ll have to see.

P.S. Divine wanted me to point out how he thought the character designs looked really similar to Kimi ni Todoke. Especially Kou’s.

Bottom Line: @RCCherrie – #AoHaruRide was everything I thought it’d be =) with insert songs too! Beautiful animation and straight from the manga #aoha_anime


ED Sequence

ED: 「ブルー」 (Blue) by フジファブリック (Fujifabric)



    1. “Guilty pleasure”….

      I think you and the rest of the audience who is here for romance will be infuriated very soon. Not sure if it’ll cover up to those chapters, but I’m just going to say it’s like Kimi No Iru Machi (The Manga).

      I want to watch this show, but doesn’t want to at the same time. In my opinion, I find this to be a needless over dramatic show (which you’ll know why soon) that just hurts my brain whenever I watch it. Good luck! I hope what I just said piqued your interest instead of pushing you away from the Anime, but also consider it to be a friendly warning: you’ll punch the screen out of anger soon enough xD.

      Oh My!
  1. It’s all about properly leveling expectations for me in Ao Haru Ride. Being a fan of the manga, I was trying my best not to over hype the premiere and that sort of worked out for me. The pacing was almost close to perfect as it seemingly tries to be faithful entirely to the manga, but what bothers me is that the series will only go as far as 12 episodes. Does mean they will speed things up as we go along? Or can we already expect another season, sequel to this one?

    As to the topic of it being similar to Kimi Ni Todoke, I couldn’t agree more. The only difference is their personalities. In a manga-reader’s perspective, plot-wise, it kind of reminds me of Strobe Edge and your cliche love triangle. Since the manga is still on-going, we don’t know if Sakisaka will end with the common shoujo formula.

    Here’s to the next three months! This will be one of my most anticipated light watches this summer.

    1. i dont like 2 cour romance animes cuz to make the romance plot keep going the characters must face a lot of troubles which is fine if its a short story but when its long (2 cour) just feel like a worn out relationship (all the magic vanishes)

      1. This is only going to be a one-cour show with 12 episodes.

        @Source: I haven’t caught up with the manga, but I do think there are potential ending points for the anime in 12 episodes. That doesn’t mean that the main couple will be “the main couple” but it just doesn’t leave the anime open-ended either. That might be better than an anime original ending anyway =X

      2. If you put it that way: preserving the so-called magic they have between them, then I guess I have to agree with keeping it a one-cour show with 12 episodes. I’m very skeptical now since the manga has already come a long way and it’s inevitable that they miss out on a couple stuff to fit everything in those 12 eps.

        I swear, keeping expectations properly leveled is key to enjoy it best.

  2. Rats, Divine beat me to it. Very much like Kimi ni Todoke. Kou especially looks like Shota even to the way he smiles.

    The watercolor backgrounds were an interesting touch even showing a wet on wet style.

    The ED does tend to give away a lot (though of course the MC’s are going to get together) about who the final group of friends will be.

  3. Despite having read the manga up to its recent chapter release, I still find the anime adaptation endearingly fluffy and heart-ache inducing. I really like how Production I.G stayed faithful to the manga. And like what Cherrie said, they could have animated a few more scenes back when Tanaka and Futaba where middle-schoolers.

    I really like how Tanaka Kou (Mabuchi Kou) attempts to hide the blush creeping on his cheeks ^w^ The action somehow reminds of what Kazehaya used to do way back in Kimi ni Todoke

    Seeing the pace of the anime (ep. 2 preview), I’ll buckle myself up for more and ride this roller coaster-filled of highschool youth, romance and drama.

  4. i have a really hard time accepting the “bad boy” trope that anime tries to create. i guess i’m just looking at this from a western point of view when i compare characters like mabuchi to the scumbags i knew in high school. especially when he brings the cheese with terrible lines like “i’m not the same person anymore”. hopefully this show keeps the cheese to a minimum, because i absolutely cringed at some of the stuff mabuchi said. i guess the one thing i took from this show is how do you successfully create a bad boy character within the confines of an animated television show? most have failed miserably to do so, hopefully this show gets it right.

    1. There are definitely going to be differences between what American TV portrays as a “bad boy” and anime. I’ve watched enough anime to make that differentiation in my head but I guess to someone who’s new to the medium, it’s more like their attitude rather than the actual actions. Also, they might categorize characters by the way they look – if someone “looks” like a bad ass, they might have slanted eyes or something. This is all stereotyping though.

      The anime starts off pretty cliché with the lines that Kou delivers, but what do you expect the guy to say right? Later on, you’ll hear some more cheesy lines I’m afraid… but personally I don’t mind that =X sometimes the cheese melts my heart =)

  5. I’ve seen so many screens of Kimi ni Todoke on Randomc in the past, so I recognize the art. It feels weird that I have yet to start watching that show, when I have already seen the first episode of this one!

  6. i agree with you cherrie, we need a seiyuu with a deeper voice as kou. i still don’t think kaji yuuki is the perfect fit for it, he’s not doing it wrong though, juts maybe the seiyuu selection didn’t hit the bullseye

  7. And there goes one more show to my to-follow list. I thought that the first episode was well-done; it didn’t blow me away but I loved it. The misunderstanding between Futaba and the bread vendor was also believable and not overly dramatic – such things do happen in real life. Well, I’ll see how the drama and romance plays out, since shoujo adaptations don’t come my way often.

    Also, the second screenshot of the ED sequence is really beautiful…all those shades and hues! I’m a sucker for nice art and animation, so I guess this show’s a keeper in that aspect as well.

  8. i liked Kaji Yuuki in this. i don’t think it’s important that the VA portrays the “coolness” of his character, but rather the difference between Kou’s previous character and what it is now, and quite possibly how much he’ll change again later on. i think he’s great for the role.

    1. I plan to keep following, but I will probably not be blogging it on a weekly basis =(
      There’s another section of RC that I’m planning to revive in the upcoming month so I haven’t been able to pick up as many shows as I’d like T_T

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *