Aoi Hana: anime review

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Review: Aoi Hana’s plot is utterly generic; it’s a coming of age and love story among high school girls. The yuri theme draws my attention at first but when I really get into the show, I realize that the anime’s real charm comes from the unique production style, carefree pacing and well written characters.

Fumi, a dependent and crybaby girl, is back to her home town after ten years to attend Matsuoka Girl’s high school. She runs into Akira or A-chan, her childhood friend and their friendship is quickly reestablished. At school, Fumi falls for a third year and head of basketball club, Sugimoto. Despite Fumi’s shy personality, she and Sugimoto starts dating soon after that. As they get closer to each other, Fumi slowly learns that Sugimoto is far from perfection like her image may have suggested. She appears strong and dependable at school but she is spoiled and moody at home and she also has trouble accepting the fact that her true love is beyond her reach. Due to Sugimoto’s instability, her relationship with Fumi does not last very long. Heart broken, Fumi eventually learns one of the most important lessons in life about letting go and moving on and she finally sees things she has never seen before.

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It seems like the whole show focuses on Fumi, Sugimoto and Ikumi. There were times when I was afraid that A-chan was completely forgotten. Throughout the show, A-chan is the least colorful character. She scarcely changes or affected by the situations around her and she remains just the way she has always been until the end. My guess is that A-chan is supposed to be a strong and reliable character compared to Fumi so she will always be by Fumi’s side and gives Fumi support when she needs. I believe the show’s ending confirms my idea because when Fumi finally settles from all the problems with Sugimoto, Fumi finally sees that A-chan has always been there with her and A-chan is actually her first and true love. Nevertheless, I still wish to see more of A-chan’s character.

The only thing that might turn several people away from the show is its deliberately slow pacing. The show appears to stop and linger quite often to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the town. All the key situations and important moments are slowly, quietly and subtly resolved as if the creators are afraid that they might disturb the tranquil stillness of the show. I think it is a matter of taste whether you like this style or not. Personally, I like it. After watching several action/fantasy/shonen anime consecutively for a while, I find watching Aoi Hana to be a nice and relaxing break from all the rush and stress of other anime.

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Not only does this anime stand out in its leisurely way of storytelling, the animation is also created to follow the same trend. Only soft and light colors are used in both the characters and the background creating a very lazy, sleepy and peaceful atmosphere. The lighting is also very beautiful. It is such a delight to observe the way the light shines through the tree leaves and falls on the people underneath. The background of the anime is drawn with emphasis on serene stillness rather than detailed movements. At times it almost looks like the whole series is a stage play with beautifully drawn backgrounds.

From the way the characters and the scenery are portrayed and the amount of attention put in to small details of daily activities, the creators obviously try to make the show look as realistic as possible. But to me, Aoi Hana gives quite dreamy and fantastic feeling. I think the show focuses on life but not everything in life. That it’s about love lives of high school girls is probably more accurate since the anime eliminates all other complexities and obstacles we usually find in real life. Looking back, I realize that every character is generally good in nature. They have no problems about jobs, family, health or money. The town which serves as the setting for the anime is exceptionally beautiful and peaceful. What I’m saying is that these characters have nothing else to worry about but their own problems concerning love and internal conflicts. As a result, Aoi Hana is not that realistic but instead has a surreal component hidden inside. I state this point simply as an observation.

Conclusion: clearly, Aoi Hana is not made for everyone and the anime seems to be too absorbed in enjoying the scenery to care about that. For me, Aoi Hana is the anime which bravely chooses to be just the way it wants to be. I wholeheartedly recommend this show to you but I am not sure how you will feel about it, really.
Rating: B+

Facts
Title: Aoi Hana (Sweet Blue Flowers)
Genre: romance, drama
Released date: July 2, 2009 – September 10, 2009
Episode: 11
Director: Kenichi Kasai
Animated by: J.C.Staff

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13 responses to “Aoi Hana: anime review

  1. An amazing review that really speak to my sentiments about Aoi Hana. The series is generic and it is yuri, but most importantly, it is an amazingly executed story. I really appreciate the deliberately slow pace and focus on the beautiful background and atmosphere.
    Again, this is a great review.

  2. Thank you for the compliment! It’s always good to see something beautiful and relaxing every once in a while.

  3. One of the strong points of the show comes from the way the director makes sure that all the characters stay relevant to some degree. Kasai deserves a lot of credit for being able to develop the cast the way he does, especially with Fumi, who, unlike a lot of weak-willed protagonists, has a pretty strong backbone. The snub that she gave Sugimoto while in the cave was the highlight of the show for me.

    And yeah, Akira’s personality is just infectious.

  4. I’m a person who doesn’t like slow paced anime. However, I really thought that Aoi Hana was a good anime, and hope that a second season is made eventually. I also agree that the animation style really helped…..hmm……mold and mix the characters and the pacing together. I mean, this is really an all around good show, even if it is pretty much only girls crying because they’re not with Sugimoto.

    • ‘I mean, this is really an all around good show, even if it is pretty much only girls crying because they’re not with Sugimoto.’

      LOL. I can’t argue about that point, really. The girls cry on their own and they also cry together.

  5. I really need to start watching this again. It seemed pretty endearing. Even almost more endearing than Kimi-ni-todoke. I’ll have to add it to my watch-list :)

  6. Interesting, I just finished this a few hours ago, wrote a bit and now browsing the feeds ^^ I think I felt about the same on many of the bases. I called it ‘not unrealistic’ rather than ‘realistic’ because it isn’t like real life, no, but at the core, I found it pretty earthy.

    Cheers.

    • ‘earthy’ sounds just about right. There’s nothing extraordinary or unreachable in the show (though I don’t really have much yuri experience in real life, of course)
      Oh, and thanks for visiting! :)

  7. Oh wow ! I’m charmed by this show just by how you describe it.
    I love romance and i don’t mind Yuri for time to time.
    You made my day, i want to watch it right now. :)

    I really enjoy reading you.

    • Yes, you should really try it. Aoi Hana is drama/romance in the most relaxing form. Just keep in mind that the anime really takes its time quietly and slowly…really slowly ;)

  8. Pingback: Ready for Battle: Canne is participating the Aniblog Tourney! « Canne's anime review blog

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