Ao Haru Ride - Anime Review
It's been a while since I sat down and watched an entire anime series that I really enjoyed, but recently I finished Ao Haru Ride - a romantic high school slice of life story about Yoshioka Futaba and her middle school beau Tanaka Kou - who haven't seen each other for three years and finally meet up again in high school.
It's actually a bit more touching than I expected it to be. Futaba has completely changed her personality in order to fit in and play at having friends. It's popular in Japanese schools to ostracize girls who are considered "cute" because they attract the attention of boys and make the other girls jealous. This happened to Futaba, so she styled herself as someone completely unfeminine to survive.
Enter Kou, who she hasn't seen since middle school because he suddenly moved away. It's like he's become a different person - cold, aloof, and constantly insulting her in that bored way of his.
And even though he drives her nuts and makes her angry, his insults really drive home and so Futaba sets out to reinvent herself in a truer sense. In doing so, she loses friends, gains a few more that are worthy, and eventually get Kou to come around and reveal why he's so different.
The anime itself is only 12 episodes long and I just KNEW it was a promo for a manga series. Low and behold - I was right. Fortunately, there are plenty of sites online to read manga for free so I'll include links to that as well.