Ao Haru Ride (アオハライド Aoharaido)
Ao Haru Ride (アオハライド Aoharaido)
I'm excited for this anime! Kind of reminds me of Wandering Son (for its use of water color), My Little Monster (for its close group of friends, and half-tsundere male and female leads), and also Kimi ni Todoke (for its little cute/chibi charm). Also kind of reminds me of One Week Friends from the previous season. Maybe like Fushimiya from One Week Friends Futaba will re-think what it means to have friends, and along the way make new friends, while rethinking her personality and attitude toward others (including Mabuchi and other boys and girls).
So it looks like both the female lead (Futaba) and male lead (Mabuchi) both changed themselves after going into high school. Futaba is trying to be like Chie from Persona 4, xD. The results were rather cute. <3
It was cool that they included those scenes where Futaba's 'friends' criticize her for not being "feminine" enough. Then in the climactic school shop scene, when Futaba buys all those buns, and is stopped by the lady thinking that Futaba is stealing.. When her friends arrive on the scene, they right away accuse her of stealing!
At this point it is being made pretty clear that both Futaba and Mabuchi's personalities are somewhat fabricated. In a way they are both coping with what happened between them 3 years ago. Mabuchi is trying to be cold to deal with Futaba saying she hates all boys. And Futaba is trying to be cheery and Chie-like in order to get over being stood up. But since it's a romance, we all know that it was a misunderstanding, and that these two are meant for each other, and we will probably spend the rest of season seeing them spin in circles rooting for them to 'go out already'.
The eyes were really cute. They did a lot with Futaba's eyes, not just when they are huge and round, but the chibi/cute eyes had a lot of variety too! Which is really interesting because Mabuchi, on the other hand, covers his eyes when he gets embarrassed! While Futaba just blushes.
Ep2 hit me right in the feelings! It feels like we have a new beginning now that Futaba has a better understanding of her personality, and what she wants out of friendship. I'm enjoying the little chibi moments, they're placed pretty evenly throughout each episode. Also I really like how the first minute showed another scene from Futaba and Kou's middle school years playing together. Haha, the smell of shampoo and sweat, eh? If only smellovision took off. xD
So now that Futaba is friends with Makita, we were also introduced to two other characters, a blonde haired boy and a long-black haired girl who wants to forget everything about her classmates =(. Nobody really wants to be alone, the importance of trust and emotional connection, woo! The small epilogue between Futaba, Asami and Chie felt a little too sentimental, but the whole point was to arrive at some life lesson. Futaba will hopefully now be more authentic with herself, and because of that hopefully make more authentic connections with others.
It will be interesting if we ever get any insight into what happened to Kou during those years between middle school and high school that caused his personality to change into the way it is now. I mean there was that moment when Tanaka-sensei smiled ear to ear after hearing that Futaba went to middle school with Kou, maybe he knows something? Kou's interactions with Futaba seem pretty natural. It's just the right amount of detached, but also caring without falling into typical tsundere tropes. For example the hug scene felt really natural and almost improvised. "I just did what I felt" xD.