Aoi Hana – Anime Series Review

14 comments

Episodes: 11

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.

(Source: ANN)

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.

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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.

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Verdict:

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.

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14 comments on “Aoi Hana – Anime Series Review”

  1. After seeing this series on sale, I read over the premise. It sounded intriguing enough, so I added it to a forever growing list of titles. Whenever I opt to choose something from the list, it is based off of overall entertainment value and mutual agreement (since I have an avid viewing partner). Given my appreciation of slice of life series, the realism and relatability you mentioned, pushes it over the edge for me.

    Thank you for your thoughtful review, Remy! Keep it up.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well I’m glad you enjoyed the review. And it was your purchasing the series that motivated me to finish Aoi Hana and review so you have yourself to thank! I do think the realism and relatability is there, but there are some more subtle nuances that could be considered problematic. But those issues only popped up after I sat around thinking for a while.

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But you do.

        The nuances will be elaborated upon in my Class S post that’s coming out next week. Pretty spoiler heavy so that’s why I’m a bit reluctant to explain in the comments section.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been wanting to watch this forever and I will! Soon. Its just that I have this weirdly numbered list of shows to watch and I’m loath to break the order…

    Ahem.

    Anyway, your review makes this sound like the kind of thing I’d eat up happily. Subtle romance and realistic drama between girls? Count me in.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s all good in the hoooood.

      Well subtle is one way to put it. It’s more like the interactions were not that sexy or romantic. But that could be chalked up to a particular character messing everything up. But the drama would be considered realistic compared to the competition, mmm.

      I hope you get around to it and that you enjoy it when you do!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t tend to watch a lot of romance series, with Scum’s Wish last season and Tsuki ga Kirei this season being recent, outstanding, exceptions to the rule. If we’re going by those two I should really watch more though I’m still not sure how much to label Scum’s Wish as romance.

    That said, I think low-key romance is right up my alley. I like it more than the super dramatic shows that have characters being ridiculous for the sake of adding tension. From your review it sounds like the realistic situations depicted in Aoi Hana fit the bill, and might be something I would really like.

    I did have a question that wasn’t totally clear from your review. Is there a lot of romance between the two childhood friends, or is it mostly about them trying to help with each other’s relationships? It sounds like a Toradora! situation but only more serious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think the characters go as off the rails compared to Scum’s Wish, but the tension is there in Aoi Hana. I do think you would enjoy it.

      Sorry, I kept it intentionally vague but maybe I shouldn’t have. The romance, as portrayed in the anime, does not happen between the two childhood friends, Fumi and Akira. The review is also slightly dishonest since there are actually two more main characters. I think comparing this to a more serious Toradora! is a good idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I recently watch pretty much anything (where it first was anime of a certain style, niet I am going all over the place, willing to try out pretty much anything). This really sounds great though. Looking at the pictures I have to agree with the beautiful watercolor backgrounds. All in all, this sounds like a great watch, and I have added to my already way too long list of things I have yet to watch. Great post! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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