Blue Spring Ride (Crunchyroll) is the best shoujo anime that I have seen in several years. It’s an unapologetic shoujo romance, but it tells a thoughtful story with intelligent characters. (If the characters do dumb things it is because they are young and inexperienced, not because they are stupid.)
Though it is based on an ongoing manga the anime selects a single story arc that stands by itself quite well. That’s about the best we could expect. The manga looks like something that could run for many years including too much material for any but the longest-running anime series.
Though I like this series there is something about it that makes me uneasy. I can’t discuss it without spoilers, so the rest is below the fold.
The premise is that Futaba has long had a crush on Kou, but he tells her that he doesn’t feel that way about her. So she tries to just be friends–but she doesn’t sincerely give up and she does some things that look an awful lot like stalking.
Now we, the audience, know that Kou actually does have feelings for Futaba. His words say one thing but his actions say another. Note for example how he constantly finds excuses to touch her. (If you are Japanese even non-sexual touching is a very big deal.) And we eventually find out that Kou rejected Futaba because Show ▼
OK, that could happen I guess.
So Futaba’s actions don’t seem bad to the audience, but I wonder about the effect of this on a young reader of the manga who has just been rejected by her crush. Seriously, if you are rejected the right answer 99.999% of the time is to drop that person, look for someone else and don’t try to be “just friends” if you can’t sincerely let go.
What the story clearly gets right is that at this point in his life Kou needs friends, not a lover. By just being his friends they help set him back on the right path.
Some random observation (since I’m already including spoilers.)