Saturday, October 6, 2018

REVIEW: Blue Spring Ride: Complete Collection (anime TV series)

Blue Spring Ride is a high school drama/romance series. It's 12 episodes long. I haven't read the manga it's based on, but I suspect this is only an adaptation of a portion of the series.


When Futaba was in middle school, she was a shy and cutesy girl who had a crush on a boy named Tanaka (Kou). They were supposed to meet up for something like a date when he abruptly moved away. Futaba's middle school life deteriorated as the other girls became jealous of how much her cutesy behavior appealed to boys, and the end of her middle school life was miserable.

When Futaba entered high school, she decided things would be different. She became a loud slob, as far from her cutesy middle school self as she could manage, and did her best to be unappealing to boys. Her new personality gains her a couple friends, but cracks begin to appear in her facade when she runs into a guy at her school named Mabuchi who happens to look an awful lot like Tanaka. But is it really him? He's colder and more dismissive than Tanaka was. Although he does nothing but sneer at her, Futaba can't bring herself to leave him alone.

This series had been on my "maybe" list for ages, but I kept putting off buying it because reviews from sources I trusted said that Kou took too long to thaw and treated Futaba abominably at times. Thankfully, he wasn't quite as terrible as I feared he'd be, but the beginning was a bit difficult to get through. I still don't understand why Futaba happily ran to Mabuchi (who I'm going to call "Kou" from here on out), considering that every time she'd seen him up to that point, he'd insulted her and looked down on her, and she wasn't even really sure he was Tanaka. I mean, yes, it was true that Futaba was pretended to be someone she wasn't in order to stay friends with two girls who had demonstrated they'd abandon her at the drop of a hat, but Kou's comments didn't have to be quite so blunt.

Overall, this series reminded me of orange - just like in that series, a group of friends tried to figure out how to emotionally connect to a boy who was suffering from depression and didn't really want to talk about it, and of course one of the girls (okay, more than one of the girls, in this case) had a crush on the depressed guy. However, Blue Spring Ride also included a few storylines that I'm not normally a fan of in anime/manga: multiple love triangles and a student who's in love with their teacher.

One of the love triangles involved Kou. Not only did Futaba have a crush on him (and difficulty figuring out whether her crush was on the person he used to be or the person he currently was), but so did Futaba's first friend after things soured with the two friends she'd started the series with. I had thought for sure that this would turn into an absolutely awful broken friendshp, but it went better than I expected. And honestly, a little better than was believable.

The other love triangle involved the other girl in Futaba's new group of friends, Murao. Murao had a crush on a teacher, who happened to be Kou's older brother, and one of Murao's classmates, Kominato, had a crush on her. While I could understand why Murao had a crush on Kou's older brother - throughout most of the series he was far more immediately appealing than Kou - the entire "character has a crush on her teacher" storyline still rubbed me the wrong way. It helped, a little, that Tanaka-sensei very directly turned her down and told her she needed to connect more with people her own age. Unfortunately, a scene at the very end of the series undid some of this. I do hope that, in the manga, Murao doesn't end up with Tanaka-sensei after graduation. I don't necessarily want her to end up with Kominato (he seemed nice enough, but Murao displayed zero interest in him), but he'd still be preferable to a teacher at Murao's high school, even after Murao was technically old enough for it to be less icky.

The depression storyline was decent enough. The big revelation about Kou's behavior didn't shock me nearly as much as it did the other characters, although for much of the series up to that point I'd assumed that most of his attitude was the result of bad feelings during his parents' divorce. It explained a lot of Kou's somewhat self-destructive behavior (not studying for tests even though he'd previously been a top student). The resolution struck me as being a bit simplistic. That said, I appreciated that Futaba recognized that Kou might pull away from her yet again and that the work involved in reconnecting him with the world wasn't over. And oof, that awkward family dinner. It was a surprise to finally see one of Kou's parents after an entire series of nothing but his older brother. I had figured they were estranged, but I guess not.

If you go into this series for the romance, you might end up disappointed. It's clear where things will probably end up, but the anime doesn't quite go that far. These 12 episodes are more focused on establishing friendships, setting up potential romances that don't have time to get resolved, and resolving the issue of Kou not really caring about his future or life. For the rest, I suspect you'd need to read the manga.

All in all, this was okay. It didn't work as well for me as other shojo series in my collection, but it wasn't nearly as difficult to watch as I'd feared it would be.


This is a Sentai Filmworks title so, as usual, extras are skimpy. There's a clean opening and closing, and that's it. In keeping with the way Sentai does things, it also doesn't have an English dub, although they may decide to create one later on down the line, if it sells enough copies. If that happens, I don't plan on rebuying it.

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