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Aoi Hana 5

July 31, 2009

The day of Fujigatani’s play is fast approaching, Akira and Kyouko are hanging up posters featuring artful paintings of the lead characters, including Yasuko.

As Yasuko rehearses on stage, many young girls flock to the theater building just to catch a glimpse of the upperclassman they all fawn upon, soliciting jealousy from Fumi.
Unsure what to do with these emotions, Fumi confides in Akira who admits to her childhood friend she’s unsure herself what advice she should give.

Fumi watches Yasuko rehearse

Called away to help with some of the play’s props, Akira leaves Fumi with Kyouko who soon sets off to get drinks for everyone, asking Fumi to come along to help her out.

Walking through the hallways, Kyouko bluntly asks Fumi if she’s also in love with Yasuko, startling the bespectacled girl.

Enjoying a short break, Yasuko jumps down from the stage and is soon besieged with attention from the many underclassmen. She responds kindly to all of them, including to Kyouko who offers Yasuko a towel to wipe her face with.
Alas for the short haired blonde, Yasuko swiftly runs off wearing a bright smile when she spots Fumi.

Forced to stay late for more scene rehearsals, Yasuko tells Fumi she mustn’t wait but can go on home. Disappointed, Fumi heads home but runs into Akira at school gates, who invites her and Kyouko to go have some tea at a nearby cafe.

While Fumi goes outside for a moment to call her mother, Kyouko blurts out to Akira that she should have realized the truth about Fumi and Yasuko, and she breaks down in tears, her face contorted with grief.
Heading back in, Fumi sees the blonde girl crying, a sight that will haunt her that entire evening.

Fumi is jealous

Unsure how to handle this or even what to think, Fumi lies restlessly on her bed, wondering if she should call Yasuko. Her mobile phone in hand, Fumi is soon pulled from her reverie when it suddenly rings, Yasuko is calling her.

Revealing she was a little worried Fumi decided to head on home and didn’t offer to wait for her, Yasuko soon suspects something is amiss and asks Fumi to speak her mind else she won’t be able to sleep from worry.

Hesitantly, Fumi reveals what happened with Kyouko, how the blonde girl confessed she loves Yasuko and was in tears. After a short silence, Yasuko replies with a question, asking Fumi if she remembers her first love.

The next day, even though she’s content after her chat with Yasuko, the question about her first love keeps going around in Fumi’s mind.
Immediately catching on to her childhood friend’s happiness because Fumi tied her hair in twin tails, Akira is glad to hear the reason of Fumi’s joy.

Fumi and Yasuko talk on the phone

At Fujigatani, preparations for the play are nearly complete and the many students affiliated to theater club are diligently working on completing the finishing touches.

Watching the elementary school girls rehearse their own play in the theater building, Akira acts overly considerate to Kyouko, but her classmate assures her lively friend that she’s fine now.
Puzzled, Akira wonders how it is possible that the mere fact two kind people love each other could hurt others that much.

Sitting together in a classroom at Matsuoka, Fumi declares to Yasuko that she won’t go along to Fujigatani, prompting the short haired girl to say she won’t go either in that case.
When Fumi retorts Yasuko must go because she’s the star of the play, Yasuko asks her if it’s because Fumi thinks it would be awkward to face Kyouko, which the bespectacled girl confirms.
Reluctantly, Yasuko goes to Fujigatani by herself.

Observing how all the girls fawn over Yasuko as soon as she sets foot in the theater club room, Akira understands why Fumi didn’t come along for she mustn’t feel comfortable watching such scenes, especially with Yasuko’s kindness only leading her legion of fans on.

When even Kyouko seems to be glued to Yasuko while fitting a costume on her, Akira steps in and drags the blonde girl away to help her get drinks for everyone.

Akira in despair

Seeing how all the other girls gaze at Yasuko, Kyouko thinks their feelings for the tall upperclassman are shallow and fleeting, while her own are genuine.
Staying late in the theater club room to finish some last touch ups on Yasuko’s costume, Kyouko laments to her beloved upperclassman how she fears she’s just seen as one of many in a faceless crowd of admirers.

Yasuko tries to comfort Kyouko with some kind words but it is painfully clear she holds no deeper affection for the blonde girl, who struggles to fight back her tears.

When her mother calls for her because she has a visitor, Fumi’s almost stumbles down the stairs when she sees Yasuko has come to pay her a late visit, her shock couldn’t be greater.

Heading out for a chat, the pair sets down on a nearby park bench.
Yasuko reveals she wants Fumi to work at the reception desk for Fujigatani’s play and has even guaranteed to the theater club that Fumi would assist, all to make sure Fumi still comes the day of the play.
Agreeing to attend, Fumi says she would have gone simply if Yasuko had asked her.

Talking to Akira on the phone afterward, Fumi says she didn’t really have an opening to tell Yasuko she doesn’t like all those other girls fawning over her.
Urging Fumi to be more assertive with Yasuko, Akira says she’s glad that Fumi will attend the play and can’t wait for tomorrow to arrive.

Cute Fumi

Lovely episode and liked how things are evolving with Akira, Fumi, Kyouko and Yasuko.

Where last week I still wasn’t too sure about Yasuko’s character, nor very fond of her, her scenes this week definitely helped flesh out the remaining facets of her character, making her more realistic.
While there’s little doubt she’s still fleeing from her true feelings and heart ache from being rejected by Kagami sensei, Yasuko’s affection for Fumi seems genuine, her spontaneous actions show she cares for the bespectacled girl.

The question about Fumi’s first love was interesting, while not really fitting in the conversation between Yasuko and Fumi, it looked more symbolic and plot oriented to set things up for later, undoubtedly the fact they cut the scene to the next morning where Fumi meets Akira might hold some implicit significance.
Though that could just be my wishful thinking.

Kyouko’s character and her feelings for Yasuko were more thoroughly explored this week and formed an important part of the overall theme of this episode, which showed how even when two kind people mutually love each other, this can end up upsetting others.

It seems striking that again Akira is brought forth as some sort of observer to all of this, pondering and raising questions to illustrate the theme and essence of the episode which we as the audience might also ask.

Spotted a few tiny animation flaws in some of the scenes, though overall everything still looked gorgeously well animated, with some great scenes and several strikingly endearing expressions from both Fumi and Akira.
The scene of Fumi restlessly rolling on her bed was brilliantly well drawn.

Although visually Fumi is more the type of character I usually like, as the episodes go by, Akira has become my favorite, her childish side offset by her energy, kindness and bright presence.

Curious to see how things will evolve!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Andiran permalink
    August 1, 2009 12:00 pm

    Actually, the conversation about the first love actually made sense, contextually in the manga.

    Yasuko asks her about her first love after, while on the phone, she tells Fumi that she loves her and so not to worry. I don’t know why but the anime left that out. I suspect because the pace the anime is working with, they don’t want to make it seemed rushed and they want the relationship between Fumi and Yasuko to be a little more subtle.

    Also, yes, you are right, there is a certain significance to cutting to Fumi and Akira after Yasuko asks the question, though it’s not for what you think. Again in the manga, Fumi is standing on the train mulling over the conversation she had on the phone. She kept thinking to herself, “Who is my first love…?” And then brushes away the notion of Yasuko, since she knows it’s not her. She thinks of Chizu, her cousin, but she still doesn’t feel too sure about it. Then she remembers someone else–her true first love. On the train as well, Akira asks her why she’s so lost in thought and making funny faces.

    Thus concluded Vol. 1 and led the opening of the second volume and the beginning of the drama festival.

  2. August 1, 2009 3:16 pm

    @Andiran
    Haven’t read the manga but pretty much figured neither Yasuko or Chizu would be Fumi’s first love, my obvious suspicion is one most other viewers no doubt share at this point in the anime.
    Not necessarily bad the left out a few clues or more explicit lines to keep it more intriguing or indeed, lower the pace as you say.

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