I seem to have come across mostly negative reviews for Aoi Hana now that the manga is over. Unfortunately, I won’t be saying anything all that different. However, it’s not like all was bad with the series.
I was already following the manga back when the anime was announced for 2009 and I remember not really understanding why that series would be picked over other yuri works out there. I still don’t know why it was picked *waiting for Girlfriends anime instead*. And truth be told, I hardly even remember the anime at this point. Guess it was just as boring as the manga. Yet here I am, 11 anime episodes and 52 manga chapters later. Such is the driving force of yuri.
But anyway, let me first go with what Aoi Hana did right. For starters, we have two childhood friends, Fumi and Akira, who meet up after being separated for years. Nothing strange until there. Now, in most such cases, the story would probably be something like, one of them having feelings for the other and the other would be totally ignorant of said feelings. Oh wait, that is Aoi Hana. At least for some time. But see, this is where things start going differently. Instead of waiting for something to happen (and probably ending the story once that something leads to a confession/dating) we have one of the main characters, Fumi, dating someone else at first.
When that obviously doesn’t work out, with time, our two heroines do end up going out. But it’s an awkward relationship at best. And during the whole thing, Akira’s feelings are wavering. To be honest, in that sense, I like how Aoi Hana doesn’t follow the usual romance/drama manga route and goes for something maybe a little more realistic. Relationships aren’t a smooth sail and breaking up to get back together isn’t all that uncommon. The main issue? How they got back together. That last chapter was just… bad.
But aside from all that, and this is where I’d really like to complain, there were several other side stories of sorts. Like Fumi’s girlfriend/senior who was in love with her teacher who also happens to be her sister’s boyfriend/fiance. Or the girl who’s in love with said senior (who’s a total ass) despite being engaged (and totally abusing said engagement). Or the girl who likes Akira’s older brother.
Actually, that last one was kinda fine. It wasn’t shoved in our faces and it was mostly used for teasing purposes, which was endearing. The rest however… Well, let’s just say that I like to keep the drama in one route. All the additional drama from the side characters made the series feel too heavy.
Overall, I don’t really recommend Aoi Hana to anyone unless they’re looking for yuri just because it’s yuri. But in such case I’d assume they’d be already plenty familiar with the series, so yeah.
Yuri: 6 (was going for a 7, -1 for each straight couple, but I figured ending the manga with a straight wedding deserves another -1)