Last week, some people were like, “Yo, it’s cool that you’re blogging this shoujo.” Yeah well, I don’t want to give you guys the wrong idea. It’s… it’s not like I like this show or anything. Seriously, though, if you like this show, you probably don’t want to read this post. I’m not joking.
— “I’m going to improve our team’s vibe! So I can unite our feelings.” Man, my feelings are my own, lady. Hands off.
— So the kids have to play some sort of scavenger hunt. This is quite an elaborate setup just to teach a bunch of class representatives how to lead and work together as a team. Maybe class representatives in Japanese schools have a ton more responsibilities or something, but I doubt it. I mean, most workplaces don’t have teamwork training retreats this elaborate, and co-workers generally have to be together for 8-plus hours a day, five or six days a week. And yes, I’m sure these kids spend a good chunk of their lives at school as well, but most of that time is learning time.
— Is it just me, or is it really, really irresponsible to take the kids’ cellphones away then have them wander around the woods aimlessly? Seriously, though. First, you expect them to know how to read a map. I’m not saying all kids are too stupid to read a map, but there’s bound to be at least one group out of the whole bunch to get confused. Second, if they get lost, how can they call for help? Do you just magically assume that the teachers will be able to find them?
— What a convenient-looking river.
— Man, I hate crybabies. This shit isn’t cute. It’s just pathetic. You wanna know what’s scary? Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.
— Wow, Yuri’s fallen in love with him already. One act. Seriously, one good act out of the countless times he’s been a short, ill-tempered asshole.
— “Kou… he really is amazing. He completely calmed Yuri down.” Yeah, by being a cute bishie. That’s some real talent right there.
— Meanwhile, Futaba must have sprained her ankle trying to cross the river. Lemme guess… Kou’s going to pick her up and carry her the rest of the way at one point?
— Yes, yes he is. Fucking shoujos.
— Uguu, if you insist…
— “But… it’s like he’s saying he wants me to be there.” That is what he’s saying, dumbass.
— In the end, through the power of teamwork, our four manage to find… a streetlamp. Fucking sweet, son. Yes, they came in dead last, if you are curious.
— “Today got complicated, but it was fun, wasn’t it?” That’s easy for her to say. She got a piggy-back ride for a significant portion of it. Plus — and maybe this is because I’m just not an outdoorsy kind of person — but I don’t really see what’s so fun about getting lost in the woods for hours and hours on end.
— “I’ve been by myself for a long time, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t lonely.” Uh, I think that’s the definition of lonely.
— Yuri and Futaba share a moment in the middle of the night, but it’s honestly putting me to sleep. Ever since Yuri and Futaba became friends, there’s nothing remotely interesting about Yuri anymore. There’s nothing to explore, nothing to contemplate, nothing to discuss. She’s just a good friend who will never abandon Futaba. Ain’t nothing wrong with a good friend, but that doesn’t make for a good story. This might be cool to see at the end of the series, i.e. as a way to wrap things up and put a neat, little bow on their friendship. But in the fifth episode of the series, when I’m hungry for some real plot, this bores me to tears. You can argue that their friendship is realistic, but I’m not disputing that. But y’know what? Storytelling isn’t always about realism. You can argue, too, that you have friends like that in the real world. But so what? We’re not here to watch you and your friends come to life in an anime. I’m here to hopefully watch an interesting story. Unfortunately, I’m not getting one, and that sucks.
— I feel ya, Shuko, Must be obnoxious to listen to those two giggle all night when you’re trying to fall asleep after a long, hard day.
— Later that night — seriously, how much later can it be? — Futaba spots Kou out on a walk. I guess he can’t sleep. I guess she can’t sleep either. They both just spent the whole day hiking, and yet, they’re not dead tired. Well, Futaba didn’t spend the whole day hiking, if you know what I mean. But still, it’s hilarious how these two keep having magical, one-on-one moments in the middle of the night.
— “I can’t tell if you’re nice or not,” says Futaba. “I can’t tell if you’re incompetent or capable,” says Kou. Nice or mean, it’s like whatever. He has to admit he can be a jerk at times. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be nice or mean. It could just be nice or neutral, because all she says is “nice or not.” The not could mean anything. On the other hand, Kou basically says he can’t tell if Futaba’s a dumbass or not. That’s pretty mean, man. Despite this, however, she just stares at him with those wide, shoujo eyes. Seriously, what’s going through your head right now, girl? U-uguu? You think I’m capable?
I was wrong; what’s going through her head is much worse: “The time between night and day… That’s what we are.” Yo, he just admitted that you seem like a dumbass half the time. Instead of standing up for yourself, however, it’s like, “Yay, we’re the same! Imagine me and you, I do. I think we’re like day and night, it’s only right. I’m dumb and you are mean to me. Please hold me tight. We’re happy together!”
— Then he throws his jacket on her. ‘Cause he cares. He cares so much that he just chucks it at her head. Tee-hee, do you think he’s being nice or not here?
— Futaba asks, “But won’t you be cold, Kou?” He just goes, “Just do it.” Dammit, woman, just fucking listen to me! I just know what’s best for you, okay?!
— In the end, the two of them invite the rest of the group to come out and look at the sunset. Oh boy, more team-bonding!
— “I don’t think I’ll ever forget watching the sunrise with everyone like this.” Shit, and all I’m doing is writing a blog post. Darn…
— According to Aya, “People should save the stoic act for when they get all old!” He’s not necessarily wrong; I just find it funny. Kou is stoic because he has had to grow up and experience a lot of pain and turmoil. Unless Aya comes from a broken family too, he can’t really talk. I’m not saying Kou’s in the right, either. My stance hasn’t changed. I still think he needs therapy to talk out his issues instead of taking it out on the people around him, especially his brother who’s desperately trying to connect with the guy. I just think it’s funny. People will tell you straight to your face that you’re too young to be this serious in life, but they don’t actually know anything about you. Maybe we should stop telling people what to do until we actually get to know them.
— Kou then retorts that he doesn’t think Aya will ever mature: “I don’t think you’ll ever change, even when you do grow old.” The group then proceeds to have a nice, hearty laugh. Haha, that’s so funny, Kou, you jokester. No, I get it. They think Kou’s just ribbing Aya. Still, there’s some honesty to what Kou’s saying, too.
Obviously, I don’t love Ao Haru Ride. So why do I keep watching it? Because it’s almost twisted in a way. Kou’s saying all these hurtful things because he himself is coming from a place of hurt, but because people are conditioned to be so goddamn positive and optimistic all the time, his blatant cries for help are going right over their heads. It’s like a thought experiment. What would happen if you take a broken person, and drop him or her right into a happy-go-lucky shoujo environment? Y’know, before things get all melodramatic and shit. Watching these characters interact with Kou, the results are fucking hilarious. Kou literally calls Futaba a dumbass, and she takes it as some special bond between them: “We’re night and day!” Kou then says Aya is incapable of maturing, and the rest of group giggles over it. Sure, what he says could be taken as jokes… in the proper context. But what’s the proper context here? Kou comes from a broken family, doesn’t get along with his brother, and constantly pushes people away from him. That’s the proper context.
— “I’m starting to learn things about Kou. He hates celery. He likes cats. His teasing is only superficial.” Bahahahaha. You know nothing, Futaba Snow. I know this sounds crazy, but there’s teasing, then there’s “I can’t tell if you’re incompetent or capable.”
— “I know him now.” Because he likes cats and hates celery? You don’t even know why he’s changed. You don’t even know what happened to him and his family. You don’t even know that he and his brother are having trouble connecting. You don’t know anything but the superficial shit. Hey, I know my girlfriend likes the color pink. OH BABY, IT’S TRUE LOVE. MARRY ME!