Oh good, the episode kicks off with Futaba freaking out over a potential “indirect kissu.” Is that what we’re going to do, Ao Haru Ride? We’re gonna fight? But let’s go back to the bullet point format just to make this quick and easy…
— I don’t know what’s funnier, anime’s childish hang-up over “indirect kissus” or Kou’s inability to birdie drink without choking. Keeping up this cool, aloof facade is hard enough, man. You think I can drink water? Next, you’ll be asking me to walk and chew gum at the same time!
— I did laugh at Futaba’s “Oooooooooh” when she opened up her bag. See, I don’t hate the show! It’s just too bad this moment didn’t lead to some big payoff. I mean, the way she reacted, I thought there’d be something embarrassing in her bag, but it just turns out she left her towel at school. Meh, talk about wasted potential.
— The animation isn’t looking too hot at the start of this week’s episode. Or maybe Kou has always been this small-minded and I’ve just never noticed.
— Kou and Futaba continue to sit there and mostly stare at each other. I just wish these characters would talk. Like seriously talk. Not this nonsense where he asks her, “Are you wearing perfume?” It turns out she’s not. He concludes that it must be her shampoo that he’s smelling. She then proceeds to stare at him. And stare. And stare. And staaaaaaare. Please, just talk to each other. Just have a real goddamn conversation. It doesn’t have to be this elaborate, but at least get to know each other. Y’know, before we even got together, the girlfriend and I would just talk all day. About what? Who can even remember anymore, but we just talked. In those little moments, she was the only person in my life and vice versa. And look, we still have conversations that are hours and hours long! This isn’t even a special case either. Everywhere I look, couples say they can talk to their SOs all day long. I thus can’t help but wonder why I rarely ever see this in anime.
Instead, the shoujos spend most of their time trapped in their own heads, thinking a million thoughts a minute. If you pull back and take a look at the whole picture, however, you realize the shoujo has been sitting there next to the hot bishie in relative silence. They rarely talk! And when they do talk, the guy asks her something weird, and the girl stammers like a dork. Is this really romance? She spends more time talking to herself than the guy she likes.
— As expected, Futaba is guilty about the fact that she’s fallen in love with the same guy her best friend is in love with. I’m sure most people would feel the same way, but I personally never understood it myself. One, you can’t help how you feel. It’s not like Futaba deliberately developed a crush on Kou just to spite Yuri. Two, the “crushee’s” feelings matter, too. Just because Yuri likes Kou doesn’t mean Kou likes her back. Futaba wishes she could pull back and not fall in love with Kou, but honestly, shouldn’t she consider what Kou wants too? Would Kou date Yuri? Probably not. Would Kou want Futaba to try and bury her own feelings? Probably not. Three, if Yuri was a true best friend, she wouldn’t let this ruin the friendship between her and Futaba. I’m not saying the girl is wrong if she ends up feeling hurt over this. If Futaba can’t help falling in love with Kou, then Yuri can’t help but feel hurt as well. What you can control, however, is how you react to your feelings. And if the friendship between the girls deteriorate over a boy, I think that’s pretty pathetic.
— What’s even more pathetic, however, is that I just wrote all this nonsense about a high school love triangle. Sigh. To be honest, I should never blog shoujo anime, but every season, I think to myself, “Man, shouldn’t I try to cover at least one of every genre?!”
— On her way home, Futaba runs into Yumi, her former best friend. Apparently, Yumi just stopped talking to our heroine completely one day. That’s cold. Don’t tell me it’s because of a boy.
— Seeing Yumi after all these years stirs up some old memories in Futaba, so we revisit the ol’ “my classmates were jealous of me” plotline again. Man, take my advice: never be a girl in a shoujo anime. Sure, if you win the lotto, you get to be the heroine and that’s super fantastic. If you’re lucky, you can even be one of her few friends. But if you don’t get either of those two roles, prepare to have your character dragged through the mud.
Seriously, whenever I watch one of these shoujo anime, most of the female characters are portrayed as jealous, vindictive bitches. What is up with that? Apparently, only the shoujo and her immediate circle of friends are good girls. God forbid you find yourself outside of it. You can say, “Oh, it’s no big deal! It’s just a story!” But stories shape our perceptions. Thanks to all those after school shows like Saved by the Bell and Family Matters, I thought I’d have to watch my back, because bullies would steal my lunch money, stuff me into lockers, or give me swirlies. Color me disappointed when my high school locker wasn’t even big enough to fit a baby in it, much less a high school student. I’m not saying these horrible things don’t happen in real life, nor am I saying that bullies aren’t real, but I think there’s something fucked up when every single non-friend female character in these anime are automatically bitches.
Case in point, Yumi used to be a friend. Used to. Guess why she stopped being Futaba’s friend. It’s all because of a boy. And of course, Futaba’s innocent. She’s perfect! She’s just a poor, lil’ bystander! The thing is, best friends never just drift apart naturally in these shows. Obviously, Yumi must have done something wrong, wrong, wrong! To top things off, we even see Yumi walk away from Futaba to join those mean group of girls! Gasp! What a Benedict Arnold! We’re thus in this black-and-white world where if you’re not my friend, then there must be something wrong with you. I’m sure that’s not what anime series like Ao Haru Ride are trying to say, but they’re nevertheless saying it.
— Naturally, Yumi wants to apologize for the way she treated Futaba back in middle school. Why would she even think Futaba was trying to steal her boy? Well, take a look at this:
She was watching him walk, man. Watching him walk! If that’s not an open declaration of love, I don’t know what it is!
— Like every drama ever, all of these stupid conflicts could’ve been solved if people would just open their damn mouths and talk. And we’re not even talking about two strangers forcing themselves to share an uncomfortable conversation. We’re not even talking about an awkward conversation between, say, a child and his or her parents. These girls were literally best friends, so I can’t believe they never asked each other a pair of simple questions.
Yumi: “Yo Futaba, do you like Naito?”
Futaba: “No, I don’t.”
Yumi: “Oh, okay! :3333333”
Futaba: “Yo Yumi, why are you no longer my friend?”
Yumi: “‘Cause you like Naito.”
Futaba: “No, I don’t”
Yumi: “Oh, I’m sorry for misunderstanding, then! :3333333333”
Bam, done. Support is so easy! Yes, I’m being somewhat facetious. Yes, I know it’s not that easy. But look, if you’ve been someone’s friend for over a year, are you trying to tell me — are you seriously trying to tell me! — you didn’t think to ask your former best friend why she’s stopped talking to you? Really? “Oh, well, she stopped talking to me. I guess I’ll just stay mum about it too!” What is wrong with you guys? Where’s your damn gumption? Do Japanese doctors surgically remove everyone’s spines at birth or something? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!
— So it turns out Futaba was only talking to Naito (that’s the girl that Yumi liked) back then because Naito was Kou’s best friend! Haha, it was all just a misunderstanding! Boy, is the egg on Yumi’s face or what! She threw away a best friend because of this. Har har har. Like I’ve said, if you’re not in the heroine’s immediate circle of friends, you’re a jealous bitch, a dumbass, or both! Congrats, Yumi. Enjoy your character assassination!
— “Liking the same boy as your best friend. Is this what it results in?” Oh, the horror!
— As a result of this rather convenient encounter with a former best friend, Futaba no longer thinks Yuri will forgive her for falling in love with Kou. Yaaaay, we get to prolong this love triangle drama! ‘Cause, y’know, every girl is the same: “But like Yumi-chan… she’ll just end up hating me.” Actually, do you know how insulting that is? Way to believe in your best friend! If one girl freaks the fuck out over you liking the same boy, then this girl over here will freak out too. Girls share a hive mind, y’know. Except the shoujo, of course. She’s fucking special. And again, Futaba can’t simply talk to Yuri and see how she would feel! That’s just not what you do in anime!
— “Are they already exchanging e-mails?” Futaba wonders. Oh. My. God. Next thing you know, she’ll be watching him walk away from her! Then she’ll be pregnant with his babies! I mean, that’s how sex works in Japan, right?
— Futaba continues to beat herself up, because she can’t seem to confess to Yuri that she likes Kou too. I’m not sure why the girl would even want to have this heart-to-heart conversation at school, though. Surely, there’s a more appropriate venue than this. Y’know, a venue that isn’t full of people around them. Can’t these characters talk outside of school? Doesn’t she have her best friend’s cellphone number? Wait, don’t tell me she doesn’t even have her best friend‘s cellphone number…
— Futaba’s strange behavior is pretty obvious to everyone around her, however, so Yuri thinks, “I wonder if I’ve done something to offend Futaba-chan…” Here’s an idea: let’s ask her! Please, just talk to your best friend! It’s your best frieeeeeeeeeeeeeend. Now I remember why I don’t watch these generic shoujo anime.
— This is kind of hard to do, however, when Futaba just goes and hide herself behind some bushes.
— Oh look, Kou convenient runs into Futaba! If you’re wondering why Kou is hiding and who he’s hiding from, he’s trying to avoid his big brother. Y’see, Tanaka-sensei keeps trying to have a dinner with his little brother, that rat bastard!
— U-uguu, he noticed I changed my shampoo!
— In the end, Kou has to remind Futaba that Yuri’s worried about her. Hilarious. Best friends forever! Except I have no idea what you’re feeling until the hot bishie clues me in!
— Aaaaaand the episode ends on Futaba’s fear that she’ll soon lose her best friend over a boy. Woo! Can’t wait! I’ll be right here next week, eager to see how this all unfolds!