Genre(s): Drama, Slice-of-Life
Aired: Jul 2009 – Aug 2009
Also Known As: Sweet Blue Flowers, Blue Flower, 青い花
Summary: Manjoume Fumi, an introverted, bookish teenage girl, is beginning her first year of high school at Matsuoka Girls’ High School. She enters the school year with her heart broken by a previous relationship. At about the same time, she reconnects with her best friend from ten years ago, Okudaira Akira, who is now attending Fujigatani Girls’ Academy as a first-year high school student. As they reconnect, they both deal with their own respective romantic problems, and help each other get through them.
Review: If only more yuri series tackled real-life themes with maturity like Aoi Hana. I firmly believe the series is a classic within the genre.
Drama, romance, slice-of-life. Most “geniune” yuri series comprise primarily of these three terms. Aoi Hana is no exception. However, the romantic moments are few in number and downplayed. While the slice-of-life aspects do play a considerable part in Aoi Hana, the series is essentially defined by the emotional drama that dominates the story.
The drama isn’t just for the sake of drama, however. Many of the characters struggle with problems, such as having unrequited feelings or clinging to the past, that viewers could potentially relate to. Their situations and their reactions were never overly exaggerated, which only contributed to the realism of the story. As a result, the characters behaved very much like real people. They’re flawed and may act foolishly at times, but viewers can relate.
Furthermore, Fumi, Akira, Yasuko, and Kyoko (the four main characters of Aoi Hana) all encounter issues that do happen in real life. While the world is slowly becoming less heteronormative, homophobia is still very much a thing. I wrote about the implications of including discriminatory notions in a fictional setting before and I believe Aoi Hana manages to find a suitable balance in regards to idealized optimism and depressing discrimination.
There are not really any moments where the animation team outdid themselves (read: average animation). However, the animation quality also remained consistent throughout the entire 11 episodes. But one thing that did catch my mind was the beautiful, watercolor backgrounds. Think Hai to Gensou no Grimgar.
A drama-heavy yuri anime with realistic characters facing realistic problems. The drama is well-executed and is supported by the pacing, which ambles along at just the right speed (read: it’s relatively slow but the tangled relationships come to light after a reasonable amount of episodes have passed). I wish I could say the same about more modern yuri series where everything is hyperbole and outrageous. But personal preference is coming into play here, right? Aoi Hana is a low-key watch that should be considered a classic for the yuri genre.