I have to wonder why I was so jaded to have dropped this over a year ago. Seeing as I have been getting enough enjoyment out of Hourou Musuko
, I decided to resume watch of Aoi Hana since Wandering Son was made by the same manga-ka. After completing the series in a rare rewatch, I have to admit that while not perfect, Aoi Hana does do well with exploring the everyday lives of Fumi and Akira. What I had interpreted as "cardboard cutout personalities" with the characters over a year ago are actually down-to-earth and believable personalities you could expect of a high school girl like Akira's energetic, yet slightly naive personality and Fumi's reserved and emotionally fragile character. While the series does explore their everyday interactions with one another, their classmates and friends, the series also tackles the complex character romances that go on, in particular Fumi's lesbian relationship with an upperclassman, unrequited love and mentions of student-teacher relationships. The show tackles these subjects in a serious and believable manner meaning nothing over-the-top or perverted occurs. You get to look inside the heads of the major characters to see how they react to the actions of others around them, peek into their pasts and witness the desires they have for their friends or potential love interest. Only have a couple minor issues to nitpick about: the actions of Akira's brother were a bit on the creepy side at points as he tries "protecting" her and there isn't really a proper resolution to the series as Aoi Hana concludes just as Fumi comes to a realization over who she loves.
The show always carries a calm and serene mood throughout its run, which is shown quite clearly with the show's visual and aural presentation. It has a pastel-like visual style similar to Honey and Clover
with beautiful looking scenery and character designs that sport a decent amount of detail. Animation is the weakest of the visual details thanks to some glaring use of CG animation for vehicles that stands out from the pastel-like visuals in a bad way. Mellow and calm musical tracks do well at complementing the down-to-earth feel that Aoi Hana gives off.
Much as I like to avoid wanting to resume a dropped title, I have to admit I deeply regretted dropping Aoi Hana. Though a shoujo-ai title, the series retains a down-to-earth feel as it explores the complicated lives faced by characters like Fumi and Sugimoto who deal with unrequited love and their sexual orientations.