Episode 1 Impressions: Blue Spring Ride

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Sometimes dealing with people is a pain no matter how hard you try. If you look good the opposite sex will lavish attention upon you but at the same time, jealousy will drive the same-sex to turn against you. These are the problems that Futaba Yoshioka deals with on a constant basis. When she finally gets the attention of a guy she likes named Tanaka-kun, another guy that had been courting her tries to intervene. In an outburst she proclaims that “This is why I hate all boys.”

e1bluespringride0Synopsis
A sudden shower causes Futaba Yoshioka to run into a local shrine to hide from the rain. As she hunts for a good spot in the shrine she finds that she is not alone. She is with the boy she likes named Kou Tanaka. During the encounter she attempts to press him to invite her to a festival by telling him that at the moment she is not going with anyone but was considering going with her friends. He invites her to accompany him and tells her where to meet him.

During the next day Futaba is being hounded by another boy who had been trying to invite her to go to the festival. She of course had no interest in going with him and quickly gets annoyed. In a sudden outburst she proclaims “This is why I hate boys. I just hate all boys.”  To her dismay, Kou Tanaka overhears her.  Naturally when it came time to meet her date for the festival she is left waiting.  During the next few days she finds that Kou Tanaka has transferred out of the school.

e1bluespringride5Fast forward three years and Futaba is in high school. She has changed the way she has approached her life, forcing herself to be as unladylike as possible. Being unorganized, obnoxious and gluttonous. Doing all this in order to make her friends like her by making guys uninterested.

Even though Futaba doesn’t admit it, she constantly jumps at the idea of her long-lost love returning to her school.  While ranting about how bad she is with boys she inadvertently bumps into Kou Mabuchi who looks a lot like Tanaka. After he makes a remark about her “unattractive bread” she quickly follows him to a breeze way only to find out that although he looks like him this person has a different name.

Oddly enough it seems that this person goes home the same way as her. She inadvertently follows him home and finds him going into the same shrine both her and Tanaka met before. Believing this is a sign that he is in fact Kou Tanaka she quickly follows him into the shrine.

e1bluespringride4Futaba finds him in the same place they had met on that rainy day in the past. After she calls to him with his old name and he tells her his name is Mabuchi she becomes embarrassed and quickly apologies.  When he calls out to her asking her in nearly the same words that “It came down pretty suddenly?” the truth becomes obvious to his identity.  Tanaka, now named Mabuchi, reveals that his parents divorced and he changed his name. He found her right away even though she had changed and found it sad it took her so long to find him.

In a slight tease he offers a reunion hug and when she refuses he says “That’s right. You hate boys, right?” throwing her words in her face. Her wound open she takes the time to remit that she seen him differently than the others. He confesses that he liked her as well but he quickly reminds her that he’s different and she is different. Dashing her hopes that they can reconcile after all this time.

e1bluespringride1The following day Futaba returns to her daily routine, buying an arm full of food from the school store.  After she turns down a bag and hands some money to the store clerk, she’s stopped by a second clerk that accuses her of stealing.  After arguing a moment with the lady her friends arrive and chastise her for trying to steal as well.  The situation escalates until Kou Mabuchi steps in and stands up for her getting the attention of the first clerk she paid to confirm she was not stealing.

After Futaba chases him down to thank him Mabuchi reminds her the lady was obviously in the wrong. She tells him she is satisfied that he got angry for her. This spurs him to tell her that if it’s so easy to satisfy her that is why she has such flimsy friendships. In frustration she blurts out that it may look ridiculous to him but this is what she has to do. He quickly tells her that it has nothing to do with him. and reminds her his name is Mabuchi as he walks away.  This leaves Futaba in internal thought of how things have really changed.

e1bluespringride8Thoughts
With this being a shojo comes a certain level of refinement and with Production I.G. behind it comes an even higher standard. Putting it in league with shows like Bunny Drop and From Me to You. So did it live up to my expectation?

Immediately upon the start I was taken by the beautiful art. Everything looks water colored to make a very inviting innocent feel. In later parts things have a more refined solid look to them to give a level of maturity to the characters. It’s a level of detail similar to what I’ve seen of previous I.G. works. Music also felt excellent, adding feeling to each part in turn. A notably dramatic scene had a beautiful song sung in the background, never overtaking the scene but definitely sold the emotion in the scene.

e1bluespringride7On the down side the school shop scene was a little off, feeling forced and off-putting. I know it was necessary to show some crucial plot points but unfortunately it did not come across well. This is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, but when considering that this is the first episode, one wonders if writing like this may make a bigger presence later.

As a slice-of-life this was a good setup, giving a heavy emphasis on the main heroin and giving her motivations. Explaining who the love interest is and how they are connected. If I was cornered I would have to admit that the characters seemed a little underdeveloped and mixed. However I seen this as being good for immediate setup of dynamics and foreshadowing of plot direction. I can guess this will be a show that heavily emphasizes being who you are and not pretending to be what you are not.

I am hoping to see good things from this show. And I cant wait to see the next episode.

Episode 1: Page 1

THUMBS UP!

THUMBS UP!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Promising!

Pros:

  • Excellent structuring and plot setup
  • Artwork and coloring
  • Excellent music and queueing

Cons:

  • Natural slice-of-life slowness
  • School shop scene writing
  • Slightly weak character development

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. Chris has been a fan of anime for over 20 years. Once amassing a huge collection of DVDs during the DVD boom, he's consumed hundreds of shows and isn't looking to stop any time soon.