When she was a middle school student, Yoshioka Futaba liked Tanaka Kou who was unlike the other boys and quite gentle. Kou then moved away and they lost contact.
At the end of Futaba’s first year as a high school student she meets Kou again. Kou’s name has changed to Mabuchi Kou and his personality seems different from his middle school days.
English: Blue Spring Ride
Release Date: Dec 13, 2014
Duration: 2 hr. 5 min.
Ao Haru Ride is a heartwarming tale of story of falling in love, involving themes of loss and mourning over the loss of a parent. Usually shoujo introduce a story with the male protagonist dealing with some sort of past issue, be it family issues or finance or some sort of trauma. As the female protagonist tries to help with this issue, love develops. Or the other way arounds, the other party tries to help the other move on and face their problems head on. I really enjoyed reading the manga and this adaptation was very well done. There were some issues I had with the manga, due to it being around 50 chapters, it tended to drag on some drama. This movie due to its length minimized all those pacing issues and it really benefitted from that. I was in love with the movie and when the overdone drama was introduced, I was dreading how they would deal with that, but it’s like they jumped over that hurdle and finished it nicely.
The problem I have with shoujo is how forced the drama can become. It has an excellent grasp on character development and fleshing out, and the love stories can be so well written and heart felt. But when the content becomes tiresome just for the sake of stretching out drama (and sales), it really hinders on the overall enjoyment. This movie was a really great embodiment of what fluffy shoujo should be like and despite having some dramatic scenes, it ties everything in nicely and I walk away with a smile on my face. I don’t expect many people to love it, but it is quite decent as far as other shoujo manga adaptations go. It didn’t feel rushed and skipped enough (but not too much)—keeping the main story intact.
Characters were very well adapted, as they had the right amount of focus. I think it does help that I read the manga beforehand, so it kind of feels like a movie just for the fans. I don’t think people that haven’t read the manga will feel like they’re missing out (I’d actually just refer you to the anime adaptation because it’s so well done). As this movie has all the major and important plot development and issues and minimalizes the forced drama, it’s great as a standalone work. The actors really encompass the characters well and they were all believable. There’s also the introduction of the love rival (which we don’t see in the anime adaptation), and there’s a reason why he’s one of the most disliked love rivals. He’s possessive and doesn’t really listen to what our MC wants. I mean, other than being introduced to create conflict and develop the two main character’s relationship, he just felt like he was a static character. We feel bad but he’s not very well developed (which is the fault of the original creator). The actor did his best to be a little charismatic (and he is–much more than his manga character). So it’s not the fault of the actor or the movie. The best was done to make this love triangle flow and not feel forced, so the focus on the rival wasn’t much (thank goodness).
Other than the themes of mourning and moving on, I really liked the focus it had on friendship. The main protagonist has difficulties keeping friends, so our male lead kind of guides her and helps her realize how important it is to be yourself and honest with your friends. It’s really sweet how our MC learns the value of friendship and in return guides our male lead into moving on from some painful memories of his past. Watching such a pure love story is quite refreshing. I highly recommend this movie for all your lovers of fluffy romance. Don’t come in expecting any ground breaking story, but the story doesn’t try to pretend to be anything it’s not. It’s consistent in being a cute romance with a side of sad themes, and despite some issues from the source material, it adapts it extremely well. I also recommend watching the anime, as it’s some serious cute overload.
Avelys Rating: 4/5
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