This episode begins with the change of seasons (and the change from summer to winter school uniforms) and life seems to be moving on just fine for Fumi and Akira. The two girls seem to be following their normal routine of meeting at the train station and sharing the train ride to school, and both Fumi and Akira seem to be getting along well at school.
Even as life goes on for Fumi and Akira, change is in the air as Fumi must discard older books to make way for newer books triggering a flashback to her and Yasuko’s kiss, and Akira can also sense change because Akira finds out that next year she’ll be on stage next year. One afternoon Fumi and Yasuko see each other on the train platform and they exchange polite glances. When Yasuko boards the train Fumi lets that train drive away without getting on and she watches it head off into the distance. Later, Kyoko finds out from Yasuko’s sister that Yasuko will be going overseas to study after she graduates, and I think she lets it slip to Akira.
After the train leaves the station, Akira spots Fumi standing there and they decide to stop at a cafe where Fumi tells Akira that she still has some feelings for Yasuko. Akira tells her it’s OK, people just can’t turn off their feelings at will. Later, we see that Yasuko leads her basketball team to second place in the nationals, and we also see that Kyoko sends Yasuko a text congratulating her and wishing her luck in her overseas studies.
Life moves on, fall gives way to winter, and Christmas Eve approaches and Akira decides to have a Christmas Eve party and she invites Fumi and her three friends to her party. Later, we find out from Akira that Kyoko won’t be attending because she’s spending the day with Kou. Also, Fumi gets a little down because her cousin sends her a picture post card of she and her husband with a message telling Fumi that they’ve moved and she would like Fumi to pay them a visit.
As Christmas approaches, Fumi sees Akira and Kou together while shopping; Akira got a call from Kou asking her to help him pick out a gift for Kyoko. While Fumi watches them together she doesn’t bother to get their attention and lets them continue shopping. Later, in the bath, Fumi thinks to herself that Akira and Kou aren’t dating and she probably wouldn’t mind if they were, but why did she lack the courage to walk up and say “hi”.
At Akira’s Christmas Eve party Shinobu stops by her room to say “hi” and Akira gives him grief, and when he leaves the room the other girls joke about flirting with him, and we see that Mogi is blushing because of this talk. Later, the girls look through some old photo albums from Akira’s childhood and they lots of pictures of Fumi and Akira together. Over at Kou’s place, we see that Kyoko really likes her gift and she manages to get Kou to tell her that he got Akira to help pick it out. Kyoko sends Akira a text thanking her for helping Kou pick out such a nice gift for her, and Akira shows the text to Fumi who gets a laugh out of the whole thing.
As Akira’s family and Fumi are seeing off the other three girls, Mogi runs up to Shinobu and puts a letter in his hand and rushes off with the other girls. Well, Mogi gave Shinobu a confession letter that included asking him out on a date.
Later, as Fumi and Akira are getting ready for bed, Fumi says she’s impressed that Mogi had the nerve to ask Shinobu out, but Akira doesn’t understand why Mogi likes her brother. Around midnight, neither Fumi or Akira can sleep, so they go for a walk around the snow covered city, they stop at the tree where Fumi cried her eyes out as a kid, and then they head over to visit their old elementary school that will be torn down soon.
Akira thinks the school is creepy at night, but Fumi insists on walking around the school’s grounds. Then Fumi gets the answer to the question Yasuko asked her a while ago, “do you remember you’re first love”? Fumi now understands that her very first love was Akira back in elementary school, and tears begin to roll down Fumi’s cheeks as she remembers her love for Akira. Then Akira notices Fumi tears and says she’s sorry if she did anything, But Fumi tells her she remembered something wonderful and they walk back home holding hands. Well, that’s all for this episode and this wonderful series.
This episode was a very mellow and unstated episode that was loaded with many powerful feelings, and the whole theme of this episode was that while life goes on, things also change and move forward. It seems that most of the main characters have managed to mature and move forward through life’s trials and tribulations.
When this series began, Fumi was a sad and hurt person, but as time went by she has managed to mature and more forward with Akira’s help. The symbolism of Fumi not getting on the train when she saw Yasuko boarding the train can be seen as she’s now mature enough to realize that some things in life need to come to an end and you have to let some things just move on without you. In the end, Fumi has really been blessed, she’s had three loves before she was even sixteen years old. Fumi is now a much more mature person for her experiences, and it was really nice to see her shed tears of joy at the end of the episode.
Yasuko seems to have come to the conclusion that she needs to break with her past and take a change of scenery after graduation. I think that she’s matured to the point where she realizes that if she’s not ready to give up on an impossible love it’s better to separate herself from the situation and work on being a better, more mature person.
Kyoko has also managed to mature and move forward, she’s no longer being a semi-stalker when it comes to Yasuko, her text message to Yasuko was very touching and shows that she coming to terms with Yasuko not having affections for her.
Another thing that I thought was really awesome was Mogi going for the win, she really some courage when she handed her confession letter to Shinobu in front of Akira, her parents, and all the other girls. I think that Shinobu’s mother was doing backflips of joy after seeing her son get a confession letter, she’s told him a few times that she’s not worried about Akira, she’s worried about him. I think that Shinobu getting a girlfriend might just break him of his overly protective attitude towards Akira.
Overall, I feel that this was a very rewarding and enjoyable romance with all the feelings being potrayed in a understated but powerful manner, and this series never went into the over-the-top mode like so many other anime. A prime example of this was the ending scene between Fumi and Akira, any other show of this type would have had Fumi confessing her love to Akira making for an uncomfortable cliffhanger ending that also puts Akira on the spot. I think that Fumi knows that Akira isn’t gay or at least she not at the point where she knows what she wants, so Fumi will settle for holding hands and being near her friend.
One small gripe, what’s the deal with only eleven episodes? If they could have given us two extra episodes bringing the total to thirteen we could have gotten a little more character development and back story for the issues of Kyoko and her family relationships, Kou and his mother, and more interaction between Yasuko and her sisters.
My small gripes aside, Aoi Hana was a tremendous series, enjoyable, believable, loaded with powerful feelings and emotions, a must watch for fans of the yuri romance genre.