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Somber Reviews - Aoi Hana Anime

Updated on April 29, 2014

Anime: Aoi Hana

Aoi Hana, also known as Sweet Blue Flower, the manga was serialized between November 2004 and July 2013. Written by Takako Shimura, the series details high school life between a few girls. Although Shimura felt that the story focus should be on girls due to the nature of the work, She also introduced some males characters, believing that it would only add to the storyline.

The manga, while quite good, and should be checked out simply because it's a good read, that's not what I'm going to talk about today. Instead, I'm going to focus on the anime adaptation, which closely follows the manga in most respects.

Produced by J.C. Staff, and licensed by Right Stuff Inc. Aoi Hana aired back in the summer and fall of 2009. The 11 episode anime has been praised by many to be considered one of the best stories for its genera. Loved by many in it's fandom, it can safely be said that Aoi Hana will be iconic for quite some time.

The main couple shown here, Akira Okudaira and Fumi Manjōme are shown.
The main couple shown here, Akira Okudaira and Fumi Manjōme are shown.

The Plot

The series is a girl's love series, and that's just pure fact. The themes of school life, and slice-of-life come into play heavily, but over all, it's more or less a coming of age story, and finding one's self.

The series stars , Fumi Manjōme, a shy and quiet girl, who's just entering high school. Having just moved back to the area, she's reacquainted with Akira Okudaira, a childhood friend of hers. Through a series of events, the two girls meet new friends, join clubs, and find themselves, all while muddling through the pangs of young love.

Characters

The anime has a strong, but small cast of characters, that most will grow to love. The main character, especially, stands out, as she's a tall girl, with a naturally shy attitude. To say that this series prides itself on character development is an understatement, this anime thrives because of its characters.

It's easy to find one to relate with, and because there are boys in this series that act as brothers, or simply good friends and that adds much more depth to be found here, rather than in a series with an all female cast.

You may like this series if:

  • You enjoy girl's love works.
  • You like Takako Shimura other works.
  • You prefer anime with high school themes.
  • You have read the manga.
  • You enjoy watching anime with topics that center around the GLBT community.

Beautiful art style, shown here,
Beautiful art style, shown here,

Somber Reviews:

I've said this before in my other reviews, but 11 episodes is simply too short of an anime for me, as I prefer series just a little longer in length, but, even so, I found the ending of this one strangely befitting...though, I still wish there was more as well.

Over all I like the series, and I find it a joy to watch. That said, I've grown out of high school anime more or less, and I still find this to be an engaging series. Aoi Hana is a title I come back to time and time again. It's simply a joy to watch, hands down.

I would say the storyline is everything that the fan base says it is. It's funny, heartfelt, touching, and sometimes a little sad. It's easy to relate to it, especially if you are a teen yourself, or if you happen to be struggling with your sexuality as a woman. The first time I ever sat down to watch the series, I was hooked on it. From the moment the opening song began, to when the ending song came on one final time, I just couldn't put the series down.

On the topic of the soundtrack it can be summed up in one word. Beautiful. Totally, utterly, and completely beautiful. I know people who hate the series, and yet, love the soundtrack. It's perfect for the series, soft and melodic, serene and gentle, it's a spot on representation of the series as a whole.

Visually appealing, Aoi Hana doesn't disappoint. Along with amazing musical cues, the art style is also soft. Watercolors and pastels paint a beautiful anime for the viewer to enjoy, and, for those of you who enjoy those blended simplified textures, you'll find a real treat. The anime is clean and vibrant enough to keep your attention, all the while, using cool tones to give the anime a slightly melancholic feel.

Truly, it is stunning.

Caveats are few and far between, but all anime has something that gives it a flaw, and even though this series is so very much loved by its fans, it isn't exempt from that.

The total length was something that the anime seems to struggle with. Takayama herself even found the length to be a major issue during the first episode. Even after handing it over to the director, the episode was still about two minutes short. They did correct the issue, but this only supports my claim from above, that there simply wasn't enough of the anime to start with.

I also extend a word of warning to those of you looking for fan service. You won't find it here. Personally, I'm thankful for that. I would much rather see those types of scenes to comedic anime only. There is a time and a place for it, and it certainly isn't in Aoi Hana.

It isn't in English either, which some would argue is probably a good thing. However, it does mean that you'll have to resort to subtitles if you don't speak Japanese.

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Final Verdict:

This is, without a doubt, a masterpiece. The fans say it all. It's one of the best, and most realistic representations of high school lesbianism to grace our screens. In fact, it's probably because the series was so tastefully done that it's been so well received. The delivery of the story is mature enough to appeal to adults, while really identifying with the teenage demographic, making it a joy for a very large audience.

As with all of my reviews, based on a score of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest possible score, and ten being the highest, I will give this series a solid 9. I wish there was more to it, and it would be nice to see an English dub, because I do like watching things in dub on occasion.

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