Aoi Hana (Merry Days of Anime 2021)

For the final anime of the 2021 Merry Days event, we have Aoi Hana. Obviously, this is the most well-known anime of all-time, among the levels of Fullmetal Alchemist, Dragon Ball Z, or Astro Boy. A legendary series that is guaranteed to bring the fans to my blog to chatter about its well-documented history and analysis among the community. I just had to end the month with a bang.

Ah, apologies. I had set my sarcasm gauge to high levels. This is a semi-obscure Shoujo-ai story that a lot of people seem to find very boring. My friend liked it quite a bit, though, so that’s good enough of a recommendation for me. Plus, a pleasant foray into a slower story consisting of interpersonal relationships with a gentle touch can be nice. Really, I tend to gravitate to these plots more than, say, isekai or grand-action series. People are interesting.

Also going to keep this post rather short (like, really short). My desire to write has dwindled considerably in light of an unforeseen goal I’ve set for myself. I’ll simply go over the basics:

Aoi Hana is gentle and sweet. When it focuses on the closeness of its two leads, there’s a delightful fluffiness that keeps things pleasurable for those keen on wholesome interactions.

However, there’s something of a wrench in the plan that I did not anticipate going into it. Based on the anime’s cover image and synopsis, I was under the impression that it would be a slow-moving journey of two childhood friends falling for one another. Reality has shown this to be untrue.

Really, it’d be more accurate to say that it’s the story of one of the two leads trying to navigate the labyrinth of young love. Fumi, the spectacled one of the two, receives far more attention and development than the opposing “Achan,” which seems mildly like favoritism by the author. This sort of one-sided affair could certainly have viewers questioning the validity of the eventual, obvious pairing of the two leads. (Or maybe not?)

You don’t have to call her out on it…

Despite only 11 episodes in total, the series remains noticeably slow, as well. Much of the drama present is internal, without a lot of outbursts or intense emotional setbacks. Almost cookie-cutter, it bends itself between being bland and being tranquil. Traction will heavily depend on one’s tolerance for everyday situations with mildly restrictive communication.

Yet the emphasis on this bland/tranquil feeling is what it relies on, and it ends up becoming a strength. While not a riveting series, it’s a reliably engrossing character drama about finding oneself and acknowledging the bonds formed between people with even the slightest of interactions.

I should also warn that the series is also packed to the brim with love triangles. Like, holy hell, there are a lot. And… sexual tension between family members? There’s really no need for that… It’s not a focal point or anything, but the “overprotective brother” trope is in full effect, while Fumi’s series-starting crush is her… cousin…

There are other things I find more incredulous…

Again, it depends on what you’re looking for in a series. When Aoi Hana wants to be cute, it does so to good effect. Drama is also realistic enough, while characters remain moderately likable to a greater extent (not fond of Achan’s brother). The end is not appropriately climactic, at least for me, though it’s a hell of an advertisement to read the manga. You take the good with the bad.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

For more anime reviews, check out the associated archive.

Thank you for your time. Have a great timezone.

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