While most girls desire popularity among boys, Futaba Yoshioka wants the exact opposite. After attracting many admirers back in middle school which resulted in her being shunned by her female classmates, she decided that high school will be her chance to revamp her image. Therefore, she starts acting unfeminine and indifferent to boys, allowing her to make some “friends” along the way.
Little does Futaba know, her life will take another drastic turn when her first love, Kou Mabuchi, returns after his sudden disappearance years ago in middle school. Despite his extended absence, the fond memories they shared together still linger in her mind, and she wishes to return to those days. But she realizes that the sweet, gentle boy of the past has completely vanished, and in his place stands someone cold and pessimistic. While he admits that her feelings for him back then were mutual, he warns that they can never go back to the past, as everything, including him, has changed.
Ao Haru Ride follows Futaba as she searches for true love and friendship, all while trying her best to stay true to herself.
Ao Haru Ride was adapted to a live-action film which released in Japan on December 13, 2014.
This series has been licensed in English by VIZ Media. The series was published in Polish as Ścieżki Młodości: Ao Haru Ride by Waneko from February 2014 to February 2016. It has been published in Spain by Editorial Ivrea as Aoha Ride from March 2015 to February 2016, and in Argentina by the same publisher since June 2017.
So this is a very updated review that I'm making since this manga is now complete.
Story: 7/10 - I really loved how the started off the manga. The plot was slightly cliche but was pretty decent. Like how they built up Kou's character to finally reveal his sad backstory. But in the later arcs, I feel as if the whole "love triangle" ordeal was a bit too much. It had pointless drama and the drastic character change in Kou towards the later chapters of the manga felt forced. So forced & drastic I didn't even think that was actually his character. I felt like the
author was just throwing random details to try and wrap up the end. Which is a shame because I felt like it could have been something significantly better.
Art: 8/10 - I really love the art style of the characters and how everyone had distinct features. Overall very eye pleasing.
Character: 7/10 - I'd say all the main characters and main supporting characters had some decency. The personalities weren't too bland.
Kou obviously being the asshole of the manga (in the beginning) has very nice development. He was probably the character with the most depth and had the most development. But his drastic change throw me off. It was nice to see a sweeter side to him, but there was literally no gradual transition. Just a "oh, yea, he's such a sappy sweetheart now" It looked like the author was running out of ideas.
Futaba was annoying at times with her almost winy personality. Her character hardly changes except after her fake friends ditch her after the first couple chapters. But the bond between her and Kou is quite pleasant minus all the stupid love triangle jazz.
Now to the friends AKA the supporting Characters.
Yuuri was the sweet innocent type, and her overall character never changes and her personality is pretty typical in a shoujo. Not saying it's necessary a bad thing, but she has no depth.
Murao was the quiet, caring type. She's very straightforward and had good head on her shoulders.
[the next part is a spoiler--skip if you don't want to know]
It's revealed later on that she really likes Kou's older brother, who is a teacher at the school, and they go in a backstory of her and him. It was nice to see how her feelings for him grew and intensified throughout the story. But it was also sad to see her confess and then get rejected. I appreciated her character.
[end of spoiler]
Kominato is that blunt yet very caring guy who you could just have a great time with. He has slight development later in the series, but he's the typical "go to man" for Kou. Not really a spoiler since it states it in his description, but he's in love with Murao, which adds for future tension in the manga.
And now for Kou's brother, Tanaka Sensei. He's a big ball of joy who really cares for his little brother. There really isn't much to say without really spoiling too much (I mean the last chapter of the manga). Pretty average character overall.
Enjoyment: 8/10 - Regardless of my opinion on the plot and characters, I did really enjoy this series. As soon as I saw the first episode of the anime in July, I had to know the secrets that Kou was hiding! So I picked up the manga and fell in love.
I wish my enjoyment level was higher, but due to the obvious things I pointed out, I don't think it's possible. But on a side note, I really loved the last chapter, even though it was obvious, I felt like the very last pages of the chapters were symbolic to the entire manga.
Overall: 7/10 - I know this is probably an unpopular rating, but I really did enjoy this manga. I do suggest that if you do like shoujo, to read this one! It's definitely a good manga to pick up if you're new to the genre :)
I was so moved by this manga that I actually gave a fuck to write a review about it. I'm going to try to make this spoil free as possible so don't worry, after reading this review you'll still be able to completely read the manga without disappointment. Now let's begin.
Now for Shoujo romance set in high school. This whole boy falls in love with girl, but boy is too much off a pussy to confess to girl love complex cliche is repetitive to no end, but this certain manga adds a little twist so don't fret just
yet. The main grill in this manga Futaba actually pursues the main male character Kou. So right off the bat you already know she wants the D. That right there already should be a sign that this is going to be heat. There are scenes in this manga that literately put me to tears. Now, nothing in my whole anime career has ever put me to cry like a LITTLE BITCH, but Ao Haru Ride wins this one. I broke down into tears (several times). There are also heart wrenching scenes that actually made me contemplate my own life decisions. When the manga hits you that hard, you know this shit's good. There are some cliches in this, tbh there actually cute cliches, not annoying cute but something as light as facial expressions, reactions, thoughts, and awkward situations. Those are the real hitters right there, those are the ones that get you hooked into this.
Let's be honest fam, the art of this manga is 11/10 when it comes to comparing other Shoujo manga's. I mean you look at something like Skip Beat, Orange, Horimiya and the characters faces look like a fucking CANNOLI! You look at the facial expressions of Ao Haru Ride and you just contemplate right there how you will never be as good looking as a drawn manga character in your entire life. So basically the art of this manga just GG'd every Shoujo manga out there for the most part. Jokes aside, this manga's art is down right fucking gorgeous.
Let's discuss these characters, I don't wanna spoil anything here so i'm going to be pretty general. The love between Futaba and Kou is so god damn cute bruh, like fuck. Why can't real life love be this good. Each character adds plot twists that will leave you mind-blown, the supporting characters also add suspense and little side-story's during the story. Majority of the time the manga is centered on just both Kou and Futaba. That's all i'm going to say about the characters.
Enjoyement, well considering this manga made me contemplate my life, made me crash into tears, and even made me contemplate actual REAL LIFE ROMANCE. I enjoyed this manga maybe a little too much.
Overall, 10/10 this manga is brilliant. I've read several Shoujo's and Slice of Life's but none are even on the same leverage as this piece. I loved every single moment of it. I know this review was a little flamboyant, vulgar, and excessive but there's no other way I can describe how great this experience is. Do your life a favor and read Ao Haru Ride.
This manga made an incredibly good first impression on me. As it went on, I ended up finding it ordinary, a pretty good read overall, but nothing that special to it.
The first chapters are about how to fit in. It is a theme that I relate a lot to, so I'm quite biased about it. Truth is, it is a very overdone theme in mangas, and especially in shoujos - Kimi ni todoke or the likes - and has been done in a more in-depth manner - for example OreGairu.
What struck me about Ao Haru Ride is that the viewpoint was subtly different and
realistic. The main character doesn't have a major lack of social skills, she's just looking for the right way to make friends. So at first, she adapts her outfit and her behavior to what would please the other girls in her class, but ends up realising that it isn't the best way, creating only superficial relationships that way.
But that only takes the few first chapters of the 49 in total. The rest is a romance, which is after all what you'd expect.
The romance had potential. The male protagonist is quite interesting in himself, mysterious, with a trauma to overcome. But the manga doesn't make the best use of him, in my opinion. The build up around his character is forgotten quickly to focus on the usual tricks to drag on the story. From the first chapter, we know that the two main characters are in love with each other, and they can't stop missing the timing to find each other.
I liked the art. The characters have all these cute moments that made me fond of them, making me carry on even through the parts of the story that didn't appeal to me that much.
Overall I would still recommend the read. It has some very good ideas, and the first chapters are worth it. The story, though, will not surprise the readers familiar with the genre.
I just finished Ao Haru Ride (Blue Sky Ride) and it was... ok. I expected more from an 8.3 and found it very bland.
-Protagonist: Protagonist is fairly interesting and acts for the most part logically. Doesn't fit into any of the "dere" molds which is nice. She has clearly defined goals and motivations and the story is mostly about her trying to move on from one thing or another. However she doesn't really have a backbone and just takes LIA's bullshit for most of the series. Because love. (8/10 Protag.)
-Love Interest A (LIA): An absolute ponce. A bipolar twat of truly epic proportions
and the reason for almost every gripe I have with this manga. This manga would be a 9/10 if he weren't Love Interest A, for LIA always gets the girl in these and this is no different. Would have been a great story if it focused on LIA learning a painful lesson about self doubt and being too late. Letting people slip away. Jeeze. (3/10 LIA)
-Love Interest B (LIB): Classic LIB, perfect guy in every way, loves unconditionally, but doomed to fail. Interactions with protag. are genuinely touching and its nice to read with a character that doesn't beat around the bush and just blatantly says the shit that needs to be said. A bit boring though, not really much else to the character. (7/10 LIB)
Classic highschool setting. Nothing too fancy. No notable subplots and the entirety of the focus is on character interactions. No new ground tread, but its decently written.
Unassuming, uninspired. Nothing to write home about.
Final thoughts: Just, ok. Had potential but marred by LIA. Seriously thought, "This would get so much better if LIA was brutally killed right now" about 5 chapters from the end.