Blue Spring Ride–Anime Quick Take

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While Nozaki-kun is a hilarious take-off on standard shoujo tropes, Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) (Crunchyroll) is pure, unadulterated unapologetic shoujo. So be warned, if that isn’t your thing then you need read no farther.
Au Haru Ride end card
This reminds me more than a little of KImi ni Todoke (Crunchyroll) from 2009-2010. For one thing the drawing style looks similar, probably because both are from the same studio, Production IG. The characters are actually quite different but the basic structure is similar. Once again we have a high school girl who has trouble fitting in, a potential boyfriend who initially seems out of reach, and a subtext that reminds us that while the boyfriend may get more screen time, reliable female friends are even more important.

In this case the heroine, Futaba Yoshioka, had a crush on a boy named Kou Tanaka back in middle school. He had a crush on her too but they were both too shy to do anything about it. Then he suddenly disappeared and she’s been carrying a torch for him ever since.

Now in high school he suddenly reappears, though now he calls himself “Kou Mabuchi,” presumably as a result of his mother’s remarriage. (This kind of thing is common in Japan where the law requires everyone in a family registry to have the same name.)

But he may have gone through something worse than a divorce. His personality has changed. He now seems morose and unfriendly, though there are hints that he still cares about her.

But before Futaba can hope to (re)gain his affections she needs to straighten out her personal life in other respects, and that includes building a circle of real friends.