It’s almost Valentine’s day and by the looks of it , I am going to be all by myself. To prevent such an incident from happening next year , on this blog we have started the quest to find me a Waifu! In this episode we will look at the third of Fred’s four suggestions. After which I will need six more to start our Bachelorette series. Where we pit these girls against each other to earn the roses and find out who will be my waifu! So keep the suggestions coming. Today we look at the anime Aoi Hana!
Who will get to live with me in my Bachelorette mansion?!
This article contains spoilers for the entire series of Aoi Hana. That being said these spoilers are all fairly obvious outcomes of their respective story. As far as I am concerned none of these spoilers ruin the show due to the way the show tells its own story and how the inevitable the outcome of the show feels.
Sweet Blue Flower
What is it with Yuri series and the colour blue? Is blue some sort of symbol colour for gay girls that I am unaware about. I don’t think it’s much of a thing in the Netherlands and my Italian friend didn’t know about it either! Italians love blue so they should know! I really wonder though! Yet I can not let that distract me. Aoi Hana is a show about two childhood friends Akira and Fumi who reunited with each other once they start commuting to their new schools. Both join their respective schools drama club and their paths begin to cross more and more. Fumi is a lesbian woman and Akira is mostly oblivious to love. We see them form relationships with others from friendly ones to romantic once as we explore what is is truly important in any relationship. This all is set on the background of their drama clubs performing the play Wuthering Heights which in its core is about a toxic relationship. So this is one of those heavy analogies shows!
The contenders for the Waifu list are limited to the main characters this time, as all four main characters show at the very least a hint of being into women. Most secondary girls or women are rarely given enough depth to see if they are into girls though after watching the entire 11 episode series I can fairly certainly say we got no other contenders. Having said that, my attention has slipped throughout the course of this show a few times so I might have missed a subtlety.
The four main characters are Manjoume Fumi a first year who is socially a bit awkward. She is emotionally very frail and cries a lot and the most fully convinced lesbian in the series. Her best friend Okudaira Akira is about her counterpart. She is bubbly , tiny energetic and a super positive entity that smiles with everything even her own failures… she is referred to Achan by Fumi. Their childhood tradition. Sugimoto Yasuko is the bisexual popular girl that every girl wants to be with (even the straight ones) the cool kid. She plays basketball and is tall and butch and thusly gets the male lead role in the school play. She has her heart set on Fumi..but keeps a secret in her heart as well. Finally we have Ikumi Kyouko who is Akira’s classmate and she is desperately and very one sidedly in love with Yasuko. She is an artist who joined the drama club to be close to Sugimoto Senpai but gets more than she bargained for when she finds out her new friend’s best friend is in a relationship with the woman she loves.
I will admit I struggled with this anime a bit. It is not necessarily a bad show though. I really loved the story it had to tell. What I like less is the way it is set up. Take for example the main love story that is central in these 11 episodes. Yasuko and Fumi , it is a somewhat toxic relationship where Yasuko is very much depicted as a selfish person. This is shown throughout not one but two triangle relations around the talentful basketball player. First of all there is Kyouko who loves her while she is with Fumi. This sours the relation between Fumi and Kyoko..to an extend. They aren’t mean to another but very tense still. It would have been an interesting dynamic if Sugimoto would not have one sidedly loved her male teacher, kinda using Fumi as a rebound. Throughout the show we also see Fumi notice her relation is not going that well and be more drawn to Akira…who in turn kinda, but not really, shows interest in Kyouko.Who is also desired by her fiancé in name only Kou. It all feels very convoluted for an 11 episode manga and in the end that does form a bit of an issue.
It doesn’t really help that the instigator of everyone’s misery, Sugimoto Yasuko is a fairly horrible person. She is super petty, often has temper tantrums, she is snobbish and selfish and a very VERY poor loser. Near the middle of the show the stage group performs Wuthering Heights, which is about the toxic love between Heathcliff and Catherine and the audience speaks their minds on how terrible Catherine is, she is an analogy for Sugimoto herself. Which brings me to another little gripe I had with this series. This analogy feels a bit hammered in. Wuthering Heights is a fairly well known novel by Emily Bronté and one would figure people who see the play either know the story or go there to support their family.
Instead we see the crowd analyse the story so the anime and manga can make analogies… and that’s not the only times stuff like that happens. For some reason this only happens to Yasuro though. Like the show really wants to hammer in how terrible this person is. By the end of the show she sees the error of her ways ..but because she doesn’t get what she wants she then decides to bail on everyone and go study abroad. While doing this we see newspaper headlines on how the girl has pushed her basketball team to great heights how they need her and now she bails for petty reasons. We see her family acknowledge how petty she is and she mistreat Kyouko to a ridiculous extend. Even when the latter is trying to get closure she is shown to ignore the message that would give the other girl some closure finally. We get it! Sugimoto Yasuko is bad! She will not be my Waifu Pick.
Friendship is love too!
Because of how clearly toxic this relationship between Fumi and Yasuko is from the get go we are all waiting for her to end up with Kyouko or her Achan and the show is at it’s best when the old love is out of the picture. Luckily enough that is plenty of time still. The show really shines when it’s just Achan and Fumi.. or even the little summer camp with all their friends but Yasuko was adorable. Fumi begins to develop feelings for Akira who still has this weird non flirty but very connected kind of way. I really liked those feelings because they actually felt genuine. While Fumi clearly loved Yasuko the doom flag was raised from episode 2 so on a subconscious level I never really bought it.
All the other girls are connected through friendship.. a friendship that deepens over the course of the series and the show does a really fine job of depicting how friendships can mean so much more than just to find your significant other. Fumi has friends, Sugimoto has not, one gets a fairly happy end, the other is miserable. Romance shows tend to .. hype up that significant other over anything in the whole wide world where nothing else matters anymore.. this show keeps its feet firm on the ground.
I might even go as far as to say this isn’t actually a romance show. It’s not about love.. in the romantic way.. it’s about unrequited love and false love more so than real one. It’s about how romantic love can be such a strong desire that sometimes we are just chasing ghosts. Kyouko is one of the strongest examples. Not only is she desperately in love, with sugimoto senpai, she herself has a suitor who is desperately in love with her. Kou her fiancé in name only is often strung along for a ride that will only inflict pain on him. Even when he asks Akira to help him pick out a perfect give to please her, she immediately knows the gift is to perfect to be from him! They aren’t compatible which made me think that Kyouko and Akira just might be.Kyouko is being pictured as desperate though even if she tries to move on she simply can not let alone with Kou. In the end we get a girl that has her charm but also still feels kind of mean spirited and also a bit toxic so our little painter will not be moving into the Bachelorette mansion with me!
A blooming flower
That leaves us with Achan and Fumi-Chan , by far the best characters in the entire series. Some of the best characters I have seen in a fair bit and while I do think they would fit nicely together the ending of she show keeps things fairly open. Which apparently is a huuuge issue for people all across the internet. To those people I really have to ask if they watched the same show as me. There are incredibly strong implications that the two will get together, simply for being two non toxic people and Fumi realising how to cope with relationships in the end. She tells the only cure for unrequited love is moving on gracefully and to only have room in your heart for one love. While Fumi was obsessed and in love with her cousin at the end of the show she realises that wasn’t her first love at all, her first love was Achan..so she could finally let her cousin go. Now she only has one love in her heart which is Achan. Should that love go unanswered she has the tools to move on gracefully. All the flags for a successful relation fall into place at that moment. Fumi will find her happy ending no matter what. We have seen hints that Akira might swing that way as well so it may just be a matter of time.
That being said I can still use the vagueness of the ending to snatch Fumi as my Bachelorette contender. While I love Achan for her quirky behaviour the character is simply way to immature to me. I found her voice a bit annoying in all honesty even though I do like the quirkiness of it I think I would get annoyed with her fairly soon. While I am happy and cheerful minded like her, I do not have the huge amount of energy she has and would not be able to find my rest with her. She is a great and loyal friend who would be fun to hang out with Yet I would get that same energy around since she is Fumi’s best friend as well. The latter has shown she can perfectly live with Achan just being a friend.. as long as I managed to conquer Fumi myself though.
Fumi is the only person I really respect in this series, she has shown growth and has become more confident even if she is still the easily to cry loveable socially awkward girl she was at the beginning. Miss Manjoume has accepted who she is by the end of the show, something she very much struggles with in the beginning. She isn’t as afraid to tease and to have fun. She also isn’t afraid to defend herself even if it hurts others. I could not be with someone who constantly diminishes themselves just in favor of others.
It’s very annoying when something you love gets a bad review or if that restaurant you like and love to talk about gets called gross a few hours before you go eat there. If I love a person more than anything in the world and they keep devaluing themselves to below everything else.. it kind of feels like that love is being devalued as well. The person that I love more than anything in the world feels like they need to give up everything for others because they are not worth more… that would include they would give up me. I went through that once with an eternal good person.. and that just doesn’t work. You have to somewhat love yourself to be loved.
Fumi does this the best , she matters, what she wants matters. When we first see her she can barely pick anything from a menu.. or a club to join .. but in the end she asks for what she wants, she tells people her needs and lives by it and we see a much happier Fumi, who doesn’t just cry from sadness but for the first time we see her cry with happiness. Those type of tears are from a woman I could see myself being with! Those are the tears of a strong woman.
In the end I got to watch a very enjoyable show, that is slightly bogged down by the character of Sugimoto. There is just to much going on with her and things drag on to long in her romance. I hated the unnecessarily nude intro as it barely has anything to do with the show and skipped it every time. Yet there is still a quite enjoyable anime that stumbles for me around the fourth till seventh episode. Those could have been removed and put at the end to give us a stronger sense of closer for an even better show. The art style with it’s fluffy looking backgrounds took some time to get used to but grew on me as charming. All in all a good anime to put on for valentines if you do not want something overly sweet.