Ao Haru Ride: Episode 05-07 Review
Also known as: Blue Spring Ride
Streaming Allegiance: Crunchyroll
Reconnaissance Report by: Jessica Craven
Progress: Episode 07
During episode 05, the class representatives go to a mandatory orienteering event. They have to work together to find their way to a specified destination, so the main purpose of the event is to foster a sense of teamwork and bonding between them. I think I have mentioned some of the class representatives before, but I know I have not listed all of them. They are as follows: Futaba, Kou, Yuri, Murao, and Aya. Overall, the event is successful for them; they all grow closer, and Aya calls that day the first of their “happy memories.” Some rather particular bonding also went on, apparently, as in the next episode, Yuri tells Futaba that she loves Kou. Futaba is shocked, but she tells herself that she does not even have feelings for Kou any more. She has been quite confused about them anyway. However, the emotions that build up after Yuri’s confession make it clear to her that she still loves Kou herself. During episode 07, she struggles with deciding whether or not to tell Yuri of her own feelings. Eventually she decides that she has to be honest with her friend, even if it runs the risk of losing her. However, Futaba’s confession to Yuri has yet to occur at this point, so we do not know how she will respond.
I found about the first half of episode 05 to be a bit boring. It involved a lot of exposition and awkward small-talk, but that was sort of just the nature of the orienteering event. The episode definitely picked up, though. I really enjoyed Aya’s optimistic view of the whole event as a “happy memory.” I am already very fond of his character, although he is really just beginning to be introduced. He is the one main character without a social issue, and his light-heartedness really helps keep the series from getting too heavy. Yuri also tells Futaba how grateful she is to have her as a friend that night. It is a really heart-warming scene, but it obviously adds to the drama that is to come.
I am really emotionally engaged with the series now. On one hand I feel really bad for Yuri, because it seems obvious that Kou likes Futaba anyway. On the other hand, I am sort of annoyed with her because Kou and Futaba have a lot of history, and she just randomly sort of impedes on it. However, that is just the way the series is building drama. Yuri does not actually know about their history, or Futaba’s feelings – she is pretty oblivious. But considering Futaba’s tendency to recluse about everything, pretty much no one would be able to read her mind. Ultimately, I got a little frustrated at the characters for letting their social anxieties hold them back, but it merely stems from the result of being emotionally engaged with them. The series can be a little tiring in that aspect, but overall it is very touching and beautiful. I think the characters’ struggles are a realistic depiction of similar problems in real life, which makes it very powerful.