So I'm back to anime after a toku binge. My first thoughts? I am really behind. But I said whatever and decided to watch whatever I thought looked good and don't worry if I'm watching something new or old. I also decided to start writing reviews. So I sat down and asked myself which anime I should start with. I had an urge for some shoujo-ai, so I decided to rewatch this series. I promise my next reviews won't have long winded speeches of my life before them. Without further a due, Aoi Hana review.
Okay, so there's this shy girl who just moved back to the town she grew up in. She reunites with her childhood friend and they resume a friendship they thought long lost. Later the shy girl meets a boyish senior who all the lower grade students adore, because of course it's an all girls school. What? You've heard this before? Not surprising really, why? Because this is same story in every shoujo-ai. Aoi Hana does it good with a few subplots thrown into the mix to help keep things interesting. I don't loathe the story, but usually I get really emotionally involved in a story, throwing myself into that world. But I couldn't with this one. It's a very basic shoujo-ai story so it was mostly just a checklist anime. Shy girl, check. Childhood friend, check. Boyish older girl, check. You get the picture.
The basic story may throw off more veteran shoujo-ai fans, and the way it drags on and on will discourage all other anime fans. You really want to just yell; get on with it! There are only eleven episodes and it really drags those episodes out without getting to the obvious ending. Which if you have ever watched a shoujo-ai or even a romance anime before, you can pick it out from a mile away.
Lastly, being a shoujo-ai there are to many non shoujo-ai romance subplots. By to many I mean they outnumber them. Between the love triangle, the love rectangle, and the brother subplot.(One of the girls friends fall for the protaganists brother.), it trails away from being that pure shoujo-ai creation.
A high score. Why? It deserves it. Why is it not a ten? Well, I have to refer back to the story. The story being so drawn out across the eleven episodes causes the scenes to drag. The subtle movements and facial emotions, beautiful. Watching a woman paint for a bit with only the camera moving and a voice over? Not my thing. May be yours, but it isn't mine. The animation follows the slow pacing of the story. While beautiful to look at it does get boring.
Oh, the opening. Such a beautiful song accompanied by the animation. The piano, the singer, that swell after the recap of the last episode. It's great, so what brings it down? All the other music. I can't really remember any of it, I think it was mostly piano pieces. They don't stick with you like the opening does. The ending falls in with al the other non opening songs.
The voice actor for Akira, perfect. She matches personality, the way she looks, and brings the character to life. Sugimoto, typicl boyish girl in any anime. The voice actor brings a nice monotone voice to the character, matching her personality of being closed with everyone around her. Keeping her emotions to herself. Fumi is the one I have a problem with. She's a shy girl, she would rather keep to herself. Her voice should be timid, and frail. Which it is, but to much. Fumi sounds like she's on her death bed. She sounds way to frail, she's much to soft spoken. The voice never matched up to the character for me.
Shy Fumi is really a basic character model for shy girls. She even wears glasses and enjoys reading. It's hard to become emotionally attached to a character that is really defined by one word, shy. The only reason I was rooting for her at all is because she is one of the main protagonists. Akira is fun, outgoing, and a blabbermouth. Akira is fun. I was much more interested in seeing what Akira was going to do in a situation than any other character. Sugimoto is the average boyish girl, though she does have the best(and most plotted out) back story. The others characters aren't particularly worth mentioning. The cast is lack luster and it's only saving grace is Akira.
This could have gone so much better. The short period of time to have with the characters doesn't allow you to grow attached or care. It's also very basic, leaving no room for many surprises along the way. You know what's coming before it happens, and you know what the ultimate outcome will be.
If you want to finish out AP's shoujo-ai list, watch it. If you're looking for a romance story that you can invest your time into and become attached to the characters and emotionally invested in the story, go watch Nana.