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Aoi Hana 2

July 10, 2009

Picking up right where the last episode left off, we see Fumi waiting at the train station for her commute to school. The bespectacled girl is desperately fighting off tears, seemingly inconsolable after she learned her cousin Chizu is getting married soon.

Arriving at the station, Akira offers Fumi her handkerchief and when the twin tailed girl smiles, saying it’s only natural since Fumi cries so easily, her friend is even more struck.

Fumi and Akira hang out

Waiting at the station after school, Fumi is still obviously depressed but her face brightens when she spots Akira, who is as energetic as ever and soon takes her friend along to a small café where they enjoy drinks together.

Back at home, Fumi is asked if she remembers if ohagi (おはぎ) was indeed Akira’s favorite treat, but she tells her mother that she doesn’t recall.

Flipping through a recipe book, Fumi remembers how she often made sweets with Chizu and before she realizes it, teardrops fall onto the pages.

Visiting Fumi’s house, Akira jokingly acts upset when Fumi confesses she doesn’t recall what Akira’s favorite treat was.
The twin tailed girl goes on to reveal she used to drink up Fumi’s cup of amazake (甘酒) when they were young because Fumi didn’t like the drink her grandmother always made.

When the doorbell rings, Akira cheekily wonders who it could be, even though she’s a guest herself. Her usual carefree expression soon turns to worry when she sees Fumi’s reaction as the girl hears it is Chizu visiting with her soon to be husband.
Visibly distraught, Fumi totally breaks down, mumbling about Chizu’s cruelty. Worried about her friend, Akira rushes to the other side of the table and holds Fumi close, trying to console the crying girl.

Akira comforts Fumi

Spending the night, Akira tries to get comfortable on the futon laid out for her but she struggles with the pillow, so Fumi invites her to sleep together in the bed.

When Akira puts her hand on the bed to tuck herself in, Fumi has a flashback from when she appears to have been approached late one night by Chizu, for what seems to have been more than just sleeping in the same bed.
Tears welling up at those memories, Fumi is berated by Akira, who orders her not to cry and tightly grabs hold of her friends hand to comfort her.
Finally settling down, Fumi goes to sleep but Akira’s thoughts start to dwell on exactly how close Fumi and her cousin were for her to be that upset about the marriage.

The next day at Fujigatani Girls Academy, the first year students are besieged by pamphlets and fliers from all the different clubs.
Going over which club might be interesting to join, Akira reveals to Kyouko she’s interested in the theater club and when her classmate remarks it’d suit a cute young lady like her, Akira is ecstatic, her energetic and open personality not really the archetype of what the ideal student of such a Girls Academy would be.
Nonetheless, Akira and Kyouko visit the theater club and both do decide to join.

Similar events occur at Matsuoka Girls’ High School, where a relentless Yoko keeps on trying to persuade Fumi in joining the theater club.
Escaping from Yoko’s pleas by heading into the hallway, Fumi stops when she gets to the literary club, thinking it would suit her more.

Akira and Fumi tuck in together

When the door to the literary club opens to reveal a tall girl with a confident aura, Fumi is near awestruck. Flashing Yumi a smile, the girl observes Fumi is quite tall and wonders If Fumi won’t join her club if she hasn’t decided on one yet.

Swayed by the girl’s aura, Fumi reacts a bit shyly but soon heads back to the literary club to sign up.
Upon hearing the girl in question is Yasuko, who is actually not a member of the literary club but a member of the basketball team, Fumi immediately signs up for the basketball club on a whim.

Supposed to attend her cousin Chizu’s wedding on her next day off from school, Fumi fakes being bedridden with a cold to be able to ditch on going.

Crawling up in bed, Fumi mutters an apology to her parents who head to the ceremony without her, but she’s soon interrupted by the house phone’s incessant ringing.
Ultimately picking up the phone, Fumi is greeted by Akira who invites her to go out together if she should be free.

Quickly exclaiming she’s free, Fumi rushes along to meet up with Akira and the girls have a lovely day together, allowing Fumi to set aside all her anguish.

Fumi will not miss a date with Akira

Talking about how she joined the theater club, Akira shows Fumi a leaflet of the Fujigatani Girls Academy theater club’s upcoming performance.
Getting home late, Fumi is nearly caught by her parents who arrive mere moments after her so the girl rushes out of her clothes and into bed.

The next day at school, Yasuko invites Fumi to join her in visiting the theater club at Fujigatani Girls Academy. Anxious to visit the prestigious school, Fumi’s classmates Yoko, Miwa and Misako all tag along.

Upon entering the theater club room where preparations for the next play are in full swing, Fumi introduces Akira as her childhood friend to her classmates when the twin tailed girl heads on over, questioning why Fumi has suddenly appeared at her school.

Meeting with Kyouko in a separate room, Yasuko discusses how playing the part of a princess would suit Kyouko now that she has entered the theater club.

Guiding the other girls from Matsuoka around the school, Akira offers to show the enthusiastic Yoko, Miwa and Misako the chapel as well. Leisurely walking through the corridors herself, Fumi enjoys the atmosphere of the school.
Arriving near one of the clubroom doors, Fumi’s taken aback when Kyouko rushes out, cheeks beet red and tears streaming down her face.

Kyouko is in tears

An excellent continuation of the trend set by the first episode, if this keeps up the series will turn out to be quite amazing as I suspect hints we see now could provide some great character driven story.

This second episode also shows a more varied range of facial expressions for most of the characters, especially Fumi and Akira each show some nicely detailed and well rendered expressions.

Starting to see a lot of details are put into the series and the animation. Although one may rightfully observe that there’s extensive use of simple painted scenery shots, they fit the series’ visual style and genre, accentuating the subdued and pastel like atmosphere.

Love how some of those small details actually give the story and its characters a lot of unexpected depth.
Such as in the scene when Fumi gets very upset upon hearing that Chizu is there with her husband, Akira’s character and care for Fumi is illustrated not simply by how she rushes over to console her friend, but also by how she hits her leg on the table trying to get up too fast, the way she holds Fumi and consoles her. Surprising details that if they keep it up, will make this series well above average in character development and scene execution.

As far as character development goes, with the expressions and mannerisms accentuating their respective characters, very interesting to see the juxtaposition between Akira and Fumi and their differences.

While Akira seems to be more childish due to her smaller size and happy-go-lucky behavior, she has a very reliable and caring side to her, yet she also seems to be inexperienced, if not unknowing, about romantic love.

On the other hand, Fumi at first glance is very adult like due to her height and serious expression, but she’s emotionally far more fragile, delicate even but seems to have experienced many aspects of romantic love both emotionally and physically.

Curious how this will evolve for both the girls and what it will mean for their mutual bond of friendship.
Will there be love? Wait and see!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. CHMakoto permalink
    July 12, 2009 8:27 am

    I think I’ll be following this one, saw the first episode and liked it so I’m glad to see you’ve picked it up. Just got back from a vacation that included my first overnight train ride. Much fun, I’ll take the train more often when I’m not under time pressure.

  2. July 12, 2009 6:50 pm

    @CHMakoto
    The first two episodes were great, hope the series keeps this up.
    Thanks, a series of this genre is right up to my current skill set of Japanese and fair practice.
    Would love to blog “Spice and Wolf II” too but alas that series’ difficulty level is still beyond me.

  3. Nomi permalink
    July 14, 2009 4:11 pm

    Btw, I was wondering, which subs are you using and what type of video file? The screen caps you took have a darker quality to them but the versions I see have this very washed-out colour to them

    For example, above. You have the same shot, but it’s more elaborate. That was taken from the MKV file DLed at Koharubi Subs.

    I was wondering if perhaps you are using a different type of file or subber, as I think I’d prefer to watch the anime with that crisper, darker quality.

    Thanks if you could help!

  4. July 14, 2009 4:30 pm

    @Nomi
    Actually, these screencaps were made from the raw by Zero-Raws which has the same kind of washed out effect which seems to be some sort of filter applied to most, if not all the scenes by the animators, so don’t think it’s due to the files.
    These images look crispier since I applied the ‘auto contrast’ effect to them in Photoshop. ^^
    (Didn’t like the way they looked originally so took the liberty to enhance the contrast.)

  5. Nomi permalink
    July 16, 2009 2:40 am

    Thanks!

    But damn, it looks like a totally different anime with the contrast! I think it looks better too 😦 Why didn’t they go with this style for the anime?

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