Ao Haru Ride Ep. 8: Nuts Donuts

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Yes, yes… donuts will cure all ills. If someone’s going to be stop being your friend even though you’re both enjoying a delicious apple fritter, then they’re not worth the trouble anyway! 100 yen donuts are pretty expensive, though. It’s just fried dough and sugar. Man, now I want donuts. My girlfriend makes killer churros, too…

— So what’s going on now? Oh right, right, Futaba will definitely tell Yuri that she’s in love with Kou now. Definitely ’cause we can’t drag this out any further!!!

Futaba: “But still… I bet I’ll still lose my nerve when it comes down to it.”

Welp.

— She then tells herself she’ll get a crew cut if she fails. I kind of want to see that, because anime shoujos almost never give themselves an ugly hairdo. Because of that precise reason, however, you know she’d never go through with it.

— Yuri naturally wants to invite Shuko, because the more the merrier, right? Futaba frets, however, because she obviously wants alone 1-on-1 time to confess her feelings: “Are you saying I have to talk about this in front of Murao-san?!” Well, why don’t you just take the time to call Yuri later that night? Why do you have to talk to her in public? Why do you have to talk to her face-to-face? This isn’t a break-up. Hell, I even think it’s silly when people go, “Did you know he didn’t even break up to me in person? What a coward!” It’s really weird, though. In a lot of these anime series, the characters only ever use the phone as a necessity, not as one additional form of communication.

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— Of course, it’s an anime, so watching two people talking on the phone isn’t as exciting as if they were talking in person, but I guess I just don’t put much stock in this conversation. Honestly, this is how it would play out between a friend and me: “Hey, look, I like the same girl as you. It just happened; I didn’t do it to spite you. You cool?” And if they’re not, oh well. Why be friends with someone who gets mad at stupid shit like that? Part of growing up is realizing when to cut your losses. But this is fiction, so any potential loss of a friend is treated like you’re witnessing an earth-shattering event.

— Asumi, a former friend, suddenly chimes in and asks, “Are you seriously hanging out with Makita Yuri?” Non-friends in any anime are so toxic, man. What is wrong with you people? Why are you guys so mean? More importantly, why do you guys even care?

— Oh my God, these people are so weird. Yuri extends her invitation to Shuko, but she goes, “Why?” Why what? You’re just eating donuts with two friends. Do you really need to ask why?

— But back to Futaba for a moment, she reflects that she really has changed since the start of the series. Eh…

— She then says, “Yuri’s not ‘in name only.’ She’s a real friend I care about.” Odd thing to hear, in my opinion. Even if her former friends were shallow and mean, I’m pretty sure Futaba cared for them too.

— Apparently, the donut place is called “Nuts Donuts.” Okay then.

— So finally, they’re at the donut place, and Futaba is freaking out as we expected. That’s why I said to just do it over the phone.

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— But after much hand-wringing, the girl finally spits it out. Well, I’ll give the show one thing: we’re only five minutes into the episode. Still, it shouldn’t have been this painful. In fact, kids go through all sorts of nonsense at school, so it’s kind of silly that these shoujo anime are fixated on love and nothing but love. How about the problem of stress from exams? Or stress from the pressure to get into a good school? Other forms of bullying? Pressure to have sex? Eating disorders? Self-harm? The are so, so many, many serious issues to talk about and yet all we ever talk about are boys. I would love to watch an anime that deals with a teenage problem besides whether or not the heroine will get together with the hot guy. And y’know, people always tell me how these anime series speak to them: “Wow, growing up, I totally identified with so-and-so, especially because she wasn’t perfect!” So I can’t help but think, “Man, how many teens going through self-harm, for example, would identify with and be inspired by an anime character who manages to battle through the same problem?” But screw that! BOYS BOYS BOYS BOYS.

— Hell, we needn’t even stray very far from the source material itself. Kou is facing problems at home right now, but we see nothing but “Uguu, I don’t to have dinner with you, oniichan!” How can this be such a neglected topic? I know Futaba’s the star of the show, so fittingly, the perspective of the story is fixated on her. But c’mon, we’re not talking about some minor problem afflicting a minor character. The main love interest comes from a broken family! That deserves some attention, no? But Kou’s issues are relegated to the background for some odd reason. It’s like we have to hush up about serious issues. Love problems? Well, that’s okay! But the inner details regarding Kou’s domestic issues? Almost nothing. Almost nothing at all. It’s like we’re afraid to talk about it, which is just very silly, in my opinion.

— Anyway, Yuri takes it well. She does go off to the restroom later to kind of collect herself, but obviously, the girl isn’t going to like Futaba any less over this. Man, I’m tired of this topic already.

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— So then Shuko feels the need to confess her love for Kou’s brother! Oh my God, who caaaaaares? In some alternate universe out there, however, I bet shoujo anime are all about, say, eating disorders, and a different me is whining about how we never see shoujo anime focus on teenage love… naaaaaaah. This is mundane shit any way you slice it, especially when you’re in love with a grown adult who can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) reciprocate your feelings. ‘Cause honestly, I don’t care who anyone likes. The truth is that most high school relationships never work out in the long run anyway, so knowing that, I can’t take any of this seriously. You might chime in to say, “Well, I’m still with my high school sweetie!” And that’s great! I don’t begrudge you your happiness! But that doesn’t change the fact that you’re an exception, not the rule.

— Wow, I hadn’t realized Nuts Donuts was actually in a 2-story building. Fancy donut place.

— And Aya likes Shuko, but we already knew that.

— Futaba tells herself she can now get close to Kou without feeling guilty, so who should she run into? Kou! What a small world!

— Oh my God, what a drama queen. Kou is worried that some stray kitten isn’t getting enough to sleep, so Futaba suggests that he take the kitten into his own home. Sure, that makes sense. So how does Kou respond? No, I can’t! If I take the kitten in, I’ll have to care for it! And “[c]aring for things brings a lot of trouble.” It’s a cat, not a pair of bickering parents. The cat isn’t going to divorce you. This is what I mean, though. Kou is so fucked up on the inside, he’s afraid to adopt a fucking cat when cats are so easy to care for. The anime should focus more on this guy’s pain, but instead, we’ve spent time at some leadership retreat, spent time hand-wringing over falling in love with the same guy, blah blah blah.

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— What’s even dumber is how Kou is practically screaming, “I’m hurt on the inside!” with that previous statement, but Futaba says nothing. She just stares at him until he gets up and leave. What about the kitten? What about spending 100 or 200 yen to get it some cheap tin of food? CARING FOR YOU ONLY INVITES TROUBLE, KITTY. YOU’LL JUST TAKE A DUMP ON MY HEART AND BURY IT IN LITTER!

— Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!! We’re still on the “Caring sucks” statement from Kou. What does Futaba think as the guy walks away? “U-uguu, does this mean he doesn’t care about school or his friends either?” Really? Really?! That’s what you take away from his statement? Instead of “Man, he seems to have some trust issues, so I should try to be someone he can confide in,” she wonders if he even cares about his friends. That is so bullshit. He’s obviously done nice things for his friends. Remember how he helped Yuri cross the river? Remember how he constantly stayed behind to watch over Futaba or keep her company? NO DUDE, THAT’S NOT REAL CARING. DOES HE REALLY CARE? I NEED TO KNOW! Holy fuck, how self-absorbed do you have to be that this is the first thought that pops into your head?

— Futaba then goes, “Hearing something like that… It makes me anxious.” Greeeeeeat. You’re anxious. And then she ditches the poor cat.

— She then proceeds to stalk the guy. That’s just… I don’t even know, man. The guy has trust issues, and he didn’t want to tell her where he was headed. So the first thing she does is betray his trust by butting into on his personal life? How does that make any sense?

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— In the end, Kou ends up meeting with a bunch of other people his age at some outdoor plaza, and everyone seems to be having a decent time chatting. But let’s ask Futaba what she thinks! “Kou looks like a person from another world, she says, “I don’t like it.” HOW DARE YOU TALK TO PEOPLE I DON’T RECOGNIZE! YOU USED TO BE SHY. YOU USED TO BE SHYYYYYYYYYYYY!

— Then she actually walks up to him and blows up: “What are you doing?” When he asks why she’s even mad, our heroine makes up some excuse about how he should be studying. Man, let’s follow the guy when he didn’t want to be followed. Let’s then make a scene in front of his friends. Let’s make up an obvious lie when he asks you why you’re mad. You’re 3-for-3, girl! Go for the cycle!

— So feeling attacked, Kou lashes back immaturely: “…she’s got chubby legs, and she doesn’t have a trace of femininity.” Ugh, I hate all of you. You’re all assholes.

— One of the friends makes a comment about Futaba’s breasts, which disgusts Kou. As a result, he ends up going home even though he had only gotten there. Good job, Futaba. Good job. She’s all gleeful and shit as she runs after him too. Good lord. I don’t even see what the problem was. He went to hang out with some friends at night. Who the fuck cares? This girl does, apparently.

— The girl continues to stalk the guy even after he tells her not to. Flip the genders. After the girl yells and tells him off, imagine a guy going, “But… I just can’t stand it!” It would be scary and creepy as fuck for the girl. But uguu, she can’t stand it, so it would be so cute if she just follows him like some sad puppy!

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— Eventually, Kou takes a break and even buys her a drink. I guess stalking the shit out of him works. Take notes, girls! Stalk your love interests!

— Kou even admits he only hangs out with those people to kill some time. Again, it seems pretty harmless to me. Futaba, however, has the nerve to ask, “Do you do bad things, Kou?” What? He met some people and hung out with them! Did they look like hoodlums or something? Were they doing drugs? Were they starting trouble? I don’t get it! What am I missing? Kou comes to the conclusion that she’s asking if he’s drinking or smoking, but what the hell? I didn’t see anyone do drugs. And why the fuck would you drink out in the open like that?

— Eventually, the girl blurts out that he could just talk to her if he needs to talk to anyone. So how does he respond? “Aren’t you letting your guard down too much? You could get assaulted.”

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Man, fuck this shit. You people are all messed up.

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7 thoughts on “Ao Haru Ride Ep. 8: Nuts Donuts”

  1. Are saying to me that boys aren’t the most important thing in the life of a girl? * Shocked*

    Sometimes I think how many shoujos would pass The Bachelor Test… There are many shoujos that works with more mature themes, but in general the protagonist is a girl with only misfortune in her life. KareKano, Nana, Sunadokei, Honey and Clover are some works that really marked my youth. Especially Miyazawa in KareKano, she is totally me, but with good grades.

    Ps: I recommend the manga Vitamin. It’s about one girl standing alone the bullying after some classmate found her making sex in the class. It’s just one volume, but made in me a very strong impression. http://www.batoto.net/comic/_/comics/vitamin-r2672

    Pps: I met my current boyfriend when I was in High School. But I only began to really pay attention to him 2 years after we graduated.

    1. Sometimes I think how many shoujos would pass The Bachelor Test…

      Do you mean the Bechdel Test? I would just settle with the main character and the main guy character being friends and going off to college.

      1. Yeah, the Bechdel Test. My bad! But for the history pass in the test, at least 2 female characters with names must have a conversation about something other than boys/men. Ao Haru Ride passes in the test in episode 2 when Futaba talks to Yuri about the reason for her having the lunch outside in the winter.

  2. I only started watching this anime after reading what you wrote about its episode 4. Really, really wanted to see how depressed Kou and ever happy, ever cheerful Futaba would work out. Would Futaba get to see the world isn’t all that pleasant, and that no matter how much you try, sometimes things just won’t work out? How does Kou get over his depression and move on? So went to binge-read the manga and damn…got incredibly disappointed by it. Their being on completely different wavelengths was what I felt was the most interesting thing about the story, and perhaps if fleshed out upon, could make for some good read, but sadly, the story had to take on all the love drama road and this thing more or less becomes a small, side plot. Sigh…

  3. Ps: I’m really disgusted by Kou assaulting Futaba to show the point “Boys are dangerous, be careful with me, I’m a baaaaad boy!”. I don’t understand how a signal of an abusive boyfriend can be so used in shoujo, it’s supposed to show us how bad boys are super sexy? Well, this scene was very fucked up, but at least it Futaba didn’t liked or though about how sexy Kou look is when he is aggressive.

    1. Seems to happen too much the shoujo anime that I see. I also hate it when guys in any anime grabs the girl by her wrist. Like man, I’ve been on planet for over two decades, and I have never grabbed anyone by their wrists when I wanted their attention. It seems like you’re required to do so in anime, though.

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