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Aoi Hana 9

August 28, 2009

Driven by Shinobu to the summer villa owned by Kou’s family, Akira, Fumi, Kyouko, Yoko, Miwa and Misako are excited about their summer trip together. The girls already have quite a laugh on the way there at Akira and Shinobu’s sibling quarrels.

Arriving at the summer villa, the girls are impressed at its size, from the many rooms to the adjacent tennis court.
Strolling through the hall before joining the others back outside, Fumi notices a painting of a lone birch tree. Admiring the piece, she is told it was painted by Kyouko.

The girls head to the summer villa

Valiantly facing Kyouko in a game of tennis, Yoko alas must admit defeat at the blond girl’s impressive racket skills, much to the amusement of her friends.

Meanwhile, Kou has Shinobu accompany him for a game of golf, even though Akira’s brother doesn’t know how to play.
Excusing his selfishness for having him tag along, Kou says he admires how Shinobu cares for his younger sister. Shinobu retorts that he probably goes too far at times, because he can’t help but worry at times.

Walking along a hiking trail in the forest, the girls listen to a tale from Kyouko’s childhood, when she was lost in these very same woods. Just a little girl back then with no idea where to go, she just sat crying near a small pond until Kou found her and took her back to the villa.

Enamored with the overly romantic atmosphere they themselves added when hearing the story, Yoko, Miwa and Misako enthusiastically head off in search of that spot from Kyouko’s childhood.

Heading down a steep slope towards the pond, Fumi holds out her hand to help Akira walk down and swiftly pulls Akira in her arms when the girl slips.
When poor Yoko slips and falls flat on her buttocks but an instant later, the girls burst out laughing.

Fumi Akira and the lilies

Without even consciously noticing it, Fumi and Akira hold hands the remainder of the way while admiring the unique atmosphere of the mountain forest. Arriving at the pond, the girls admire some lilies growing further off near the water’s edge.

Barging into Fumi and Akira’s room later that night with Miwa and Yoko, Misako suggest they tell ghost stories, much to Akira’s horror for she’s weak against such scary tales.
Seeking support with Fumi, Akira is shocked when the bespectacled seems enthused about the idea, her panic culminating into a chilling scream when Miwa turns off the lights.

The next day, Kyouko suggests they all go for a short camping trip at a nearby campground, an idea everyone is quickly won over about, especially Akira who can already picture the delicious food they will cook.

At the camp site, everyone pitches in to prepare their curry meal, from gathering wood, making the fire, preparing the ingredients, to cooking the rice. Enjoying the curry they all contributed in making, the girls and boys are awed at how well it actually turned out.

Before the last bites are swallowed, Misako suggests they hold a test of courage once it gets dark, walking in pairs to the pond where the lilies grow and bring back one of the flowers. Horrified at the idea, Akira once again seeks support with Fumi and even Kyouko, alas much to Akira’s despair both girls are in favor of the idea.

Fumi and Akira

While the animated conversation rages on, Kou reminisces back on his youth when he found Kyouko crying near the pond. Carrying her back to the villa, all he asked for then and still wishes today, is for the blond girl to smile.

Pulling strips with colored ends to decide on the pairs, Akira gets paired with Kou, Kyouko with Fumi, Misako with Yoko and Shinobu with Miwa.

Walking down the dark path illuminated only by a single electrical torch, Fumi talks to Kyouko about the painting she saw the day before. Kyouko reveals she originally painted it in middle school, at the time when she fell in love with Yasuko, even though that love was already a lost cause.
After a short silence Fumi apologizes for everything that’s happened, and it seems the girls reach a new mutual understanding.

Where the other girls aren’t the slightest bit afraid, Akira proves to be quite the scaredy cat, which Kou finds rather surprising considering her character.
Revealing he knows about Kyouko being in love with someone, Kou learns that Kyouko was actually rejected when Akira unintentionally blurts it out. With a melancholic gaze, Kou ponders how much he wants to be that person, the one Kyouko loves.

After everyone has returned from the test of courage, Yoko and Misako tease Miwa about her having fallen for Shinobu when she confesses thinking Akira’s brother is quite cool, something Akira can’t seem to understand.

Fumi and Akira watch the stars

Wide awake that night, Akira is unable to sleep when she thinks how all her friends have fallen in love or are in love, an emotional plane she hasn’t seemed to achieve yet. Pondering if she’ll fall for someone someday too, Akira elicits a laugh from Fumi, who awoke upon hearing her friend’s growling stomach.

Heading downstairs to get a snack, Fumi notices the clear night sky through the window and she takes Akira along outside to admire the immense beauty of the star filled heavens together.

Another nice episode with a few more humor oriented scenes, it was simultaneously a nice change of pace thanks to these comedy moments -most often courtesy of the trio Miwa, Yoko and Misako- yet it also continued on the character development by fleshing out more of Akira, Kyouko, Kou, Shinobu and Fumi’s own character or their inter-character relationships.

Looks like Fumi has come to terms about breaking up with Yasuko and gotten over her heartache. While Kyouko may still be hung up on Yasuko, at least the girls were able to find a common ground and get along now, the remaining uncomfortable atmosphere between them having ebbed away.

They’ve been slowly building it up but now the focus on Akira starting to wonder about her own emotional development and about perhaps falling in love herself one day soon is really taking the center now.
Wonder how that will play out and what it will mean for her bond with Fumi, both girls should start realizing how much they mean to each other, how close they have been as childhood friends and how close they are once again.

With only a few episodes left, I wonder if they’ll stick to the manga and continue on with another season in the future or if they’ll have an original ending.

Personally wouldn’t mind a well written original ending about Fumi and Akira finding each other and getting together, on the other hand, would also love to see this series go on further with the manga story into another anime season.

Will miss Akira when the series is over, she’s just such a cute character and her wide array of emotions and expressions always provides great entertainment.

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