Aoi Hana

Aoi Hana wallpaper Akira Okudaira yuri

Aoi Hana begins with a chance reunion between two childhood friends, Okudaira Akira (A-chan) and Manjoume Fumi. Attending two different high schools in the district, the two girls are quick to form a group of friends between the two schools. Fumi has just recently came out of a rather emotional illicit relationship, and was soon courted by her sempai, Sugimoto. Aoi Hana tells of the drama between Fumi and Sugimoto as well as the touching friendship of A-chan and Fumi.

Aoi Hana Fumi Manjoume wallpaper yuri

In essence, Aoi Hana is an anime about love. I quite enjoyed the anime’s treatment of the lesbian relationship between Fumi and Sugimoto. It is a rather understated but complex illustration of the delicate drama. Further, the romance is a really realistic portrayal of relationships, confessions, and broken hearts. Weaved into this difficult drama is Fumi’s friendship with A-chan, which is just beautiful.

Aoi Hana Fumi A-chan scan yuri

As a yuri anime, Aoi Hana is really quite successful and different from yuri anime in the past. It is really refreshing to see that lesbianism is not simply written off as a given premise of the world and all girls are simply gay for each other. Instead, the anime touches a bit on the “coming out” aspect of a homosexual relationship, both with Fumi and Sugimoto. Further, there is clearly a large participation of men in this yuri drama. In fact, with Sugimoto, I personally felt like for her relationship with Fumi is a phase she is going through. Contrast her feelings with Fumi, we see that Fumi seems to be much more serious about her love.

Aoi Hana Fumi Manjoume

The major characters in Aoi Hana are all extremely well developed and multi-dimensional. I really love A-chan and she is by far my favorite character in Aoi Hana. Her candid and caring nature really shines, especially compared to the shy Fumi. Fumi is also quite a lovable character, especially as she grows and matures through her relationship. I hated Sugimoto sempai. On the surface, she just seems like the typical oujo-sama figure in an all girl’s high school. However, as her relationship with Fumi develops, we see her immature arrogant nature and her selfish role in the relationship. Anyway, Aoi Hana really delves deep into the characters, and I appreciated that I can love and hate these girls.

Aoi Hana yuri screenshot

Aoi Hana, of course, has its weaknesses. I have mixed feelings about the pacing of the series. Although the pacing felt appropriate, and I was always very into each episode, the series felt slow between episodes. Of course, once the drama begin picking up by the middle of the series, this is no longer an issue. I was also not particularly impressed with the character designs in the anime (one of the reasons I was hesitant about watching this). I like A-chan and Fumi, but Sugimoto, Kyouko, Sugimoto’s family, the teacher are all rather bland and in some cases, not very attractive.

Aoi Hana yuri manga festival

While some of the characters may not be my type, the animation in Aoi Hana is just gorgeous. The watercolor background is stunning and soft. This faded and comfortable look is very apparent in the colored pages of the manga as well. Also, I really like the opening, Aoi Hana by Kukikodan, and ending theme song, Centifolia by Ceui.

Aoi Hana by Kukikodan

Aoi Hana opening Kukikodan

Anyway, after finishing Aoi Hana over the weekend, I immediately wanted to write a post on this intricate, subtle, but dramatic story of romance and friendship. Of course, my schedule does not permit, hence I am posting it only now. Because Aoi Hana is a very sophisticated and nice series, there was a lot I wanted to say about this series to highlight this rather underrated anime. In the end, the review still feels a bit lengthy and perhaps haphazard…

Aoi Hana Centifolia Ceui ending

By the way, I absolutely love the ending of Aoi Hana. I’m not going to spoil it, but it is the best ending I could hope for. It was so good that my eyes watered a bit…

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29 Responses to Aoi Hana

  1. kluxorious says:

    I kinda ignored this anime because of it’s lesbian and shoujo theme. I have no problem watching yuri or shoujo-ai but for some reason watching shoujo always makes me depressed >_>

    After White Album, I needed a break.

  2. Canne says:

    I like it, too. Aoi Hana serves well as a short break from all those endless shonen/action anime. Even the yuri element felt refreshing to me.

  3. Reltair says:

    The serious and realistic drama aspect is what makes it appealing. Way better than something like Kampfer where the entire girl’s side is into yuri. =X

  4. shijima says:

    Looks very sweet.
    I must admit I haven’t read the manga or watched the anime, but I did like viewing the pictures you posted.
    I like the watercolor look of the last one. =)

  5. I am in a hurry…
    Well, was good, but I didn’t like the end…I would prefer a second season, but few yuri animes got one =/

  6. Yi says:

    @klux: Yea, sometimes I need a break from drama and just watch mindless action or moe too.

    @Canne: I love the refreshing yuri element as well. ^ ^

    @Reltair: Exactly! This is not like Strawberry Panic or Kampfer for that exact reason.

    @shijima: If you have time, I would recommend the anime. I didn’t think the manga was as good though.

    @Y-D: I liked the ending with Fumi’s realization a lot, because it allows for a lot of imagination for what will come. With that said, I would love a second season.

  7. Ningyo says:

    Excellent. imo, the industry today sorely lacks series like this which talks of shoujo-ai in a mature manner. maybe i’m not searching deep enough, but I’m just not seeing em.

    Have ya watched full moon wo sagashite? not yuri, but I was just reminded of it for some reason.

  8. Snark says:

    Whilst I do like the idea of a realistic portrayal of homosexuality, Aoi Hana is probably too slow and mushy for my tastes.

  9. 2DT says:

    I liked the ending also, but I admit to laughing out loud at the very last line. It was just so oddly timed.

    If you have the chance, listen to the insert song by Kukikodan as well. That one really rips me to pieces.

  10. Yi says:

    @Ningyo: The anime industry does lack the more realistic treatment of yuri themes. The manga scene however does have many that portray a serious story, such as Octave or Girl Friend. Btw. I haven’t seen Full Moon wo Sagashite.

    @Snark: Yea it is quite slow paced, especially the first few episodes.

    @2DT: Hehe. Yea will definitely check out the insert song by Kukikodan. I love this artist.

  11. Itsuki-chan says:

    Great review! I enjoyed this series as well. It was slow at parts and might seem like it doesn’t know where it’s heading but ‘indecisiveness’ is partly because the main character is that way too…but it’s a refreshing watch from the normal generic anime. I love Aa-chan the most too. She’s awesome! Fumi might be annoying sometimes but I like it when the two of them are together. And I liked the ending too. It was actually better than what I expected. Hoping for a 2nd season. ^^ (Though I’d much prefer if they did a Hourou Musuko anime instead. Love the manga!)

    P/S: Kampfer might have a ridiculous premise, but it’s fun when you just need snicker at something while enjoying the pseudo-yuriness…hehe. Strawberry Panic though, just makes you cringe…although the global warming bit was priceless~

  12. Misu says:

    the anime touches a bit on the “coming out” aspect of a homosexual relationship, both with Fumi and Sugimoto.

    Huh. Interesting. I’ve always found yuri animes to be such a bore, but the ones I’ve seen have never highlighted any difficulties. It’s always just be LOL GIRL ON GIRL SO HAWT, which is unfortunately mired in pure fantasy. (At least here in the States.)
    tl;dr I might give this a go, Kobato is annoying me anyway.

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  14. Yi says:

    @Itsuki-chan: Exactly the same reasons why in the end, I enjoyed the series quite a bit. Also, definitely hoping for a second season in which Fumi and A-chan go beyond friendship. Anyway, I think I might start watching Kampfer to kill those half hour blocks of free time I tend to have between classes and such.

    @Misu: Yea, this is definitely not one of those anime that just capitalizes on the girl on girl hawtness. I hope you enjoy this. Even if you don’t like the yuri, the friendship between A-chan and Fumi makes quite a heartwarming watch.

  15. blurscrib says:

    “By the way, I absolutely love the ending of Aoi Hana…”

    The moment I came to this line. I went all out on the brakes, my brain scream SPOILER ALERT! Lol.

    But my eyes didn’t stop in time.

    Luckily, not much info was given away.
    Almost had a heart attack. Lol!
    Cause this was actually the next anime on my list.

  16. Yi says:

    @blurscrib: Good thing I didn’t spoil this. Anyway, this is definitely worth watching. I hope you’ll like the ending as well.

  17. I’m a bit behind and would’ve loved to watch this as it went along, but the fansubs were inconsistent. I did find the full series download at the end of the season, but haven’t had the chance to watch it yet. I have heard it’s quite slow as you’ve said, but I’ve been known to be patient with slow shows.

    And I agree… I love that opening song too ^^

  18. blur says:

    Kukikodan’s voice in the opening is my definition of sexy.
    A little jagged and rough. But so alluring.

    And the ending is by Ceui. Lol. No other explanations required. Xp
    Ep 5 and counting…

  19. Yi says:

    @lightningsabre: If you’re patient and you liked yuri shows like Marimite, I think you would enjoy this. The op is nice.

    @blur: Sexy voice indeed + Ceui’s relaxing ending make the themes quite pleasant.

  20. FinallyAnime says:

    I never really finished Aoi Hana, or even got to about half of the show, but it definitely has a different “feel” to it. I like it thought 😀 Nice blog, keep up the nice photos 🙂

  21. Yi says:

    @FinallyAnime: Aoi Hana really starts to pick up and gets much better later on. Anyway, thanks. ^ ^

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  23. BigPapaJess says:

    Where can i watch or read the rest of this in English? Its one of my favorite and i cant seem to find the rest of it. could you tell me where to find it please?

    • Yi says:

      The anime so far only has one season, so if you’ve watched all the episodes, you will have to wait for a possible second season (if there is one…).

      As for the manga, I think Lililicious scanlates it, so you can find them there:

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  25. Hi! says:

    A great Story, Great characters, but not so good ending.
    It felt like if it finish right where it begins.
    It’s a shame because it has a lot of potential.

    • Yi says:

      I thought it was a great story with some really beautiful characters. I didn’t mind too much how it ended, as the focus was mainly on the small delicate emotional aspects of their daily lives. Taken in that light, Aoi Hana’s plot is then secondary. Further, that their relationship didn’t “progress” is also part of the anime’s portrayal of the mire and difficulties these girl face in dealing with their feelings.

      Anyways, I highly recommend the manga if you want more of the story!

      • Hi! says:

        Thanks for the suggestion.
        Now I think about it, in that sense the anime was really realistic, showing us how cruel and sometimes empty life is. There was no “Progerss” between characters because sometimes life works that way.
        As I say before I will look foward for the Manga and then I’ll tell you my opinion.

        • Yi says:

          Yay! I hope you enjoy the manga. I love it! The pace is very delicate and slow though, but very atmospheric. Cheers. ^ ^

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