Yuri


Akira comforting Fumi again 

        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.

Fumi and Akira on the trainFumi at her schoolAkira at her school

Akira's just too damn cute

         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.

throw away the old bookson stage next yearYasuko will be going overseas

        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.

you just can't turn them offsecond place in nationalthe text message

       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.

Fumi remembering her loves

        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”.

I don't think they're dating

Why did I hide from them

          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.

the girls xmas party

Mogi is blushingpictures of Akira and Fumithe text from Kyoko

thanks for the nice gift

       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.

Mogi and the letter to Shinobu

        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.

this is where you cried

       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.

Walking back hand in hand

       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.

Kana chan sweeping the floor

       Being an episodic anime blogger who works full time really limits my ability to sample every new anime that’s released, so after picking my 3-4 series I’ll blog episodically, and chosing the other 10-12 series that I’ll watch but not write about, I generally look towards other bloggers’ opinions to see if I’ll add anything to my watch list.

      Generally, this system had worked quite well for me until now, but with Kanamemo it failed. As the new anime season began, most of the bloggers that did a “first look” post of Kanamemo rated the series as one of the worst of the year, so I didn’t bother with Kanamemo. But, the other day I had some time on my hands and several episodes of Kanamemo on the computer so I watched the first episode and fell in love with the series.

the kanamemo crew

A short description on Kanamemo’s plot and main characters.

Plot–   Kanamemo is the story of thirteen year old middle school student Kana, who up until now had been living with her grandmother because her parents died early in her life. Recently, Kana’s grandmother passed away and after the funeral some moving men show up at her house and start hauling away her grandmother’s furniture.

       Kana not being the smartest person in the world assumes that the movers will soon try to grab her and put her up for sale, so Kana rushes into her room and loads up a small bag with some of her clothes and rushes out of the house. Then Kana proceeds to search for a job that provides room and board, as Kana passes a newspaper delivery office she sees a help wanted sign offering room and board, but she runs away when she sees two of its female employees kissing outside the office.

       Kana then keeps looking for a job but is turned down either because of her age or that she needs to show permission from her parents or guardian. As night approaches, Kana finds herself walking past the newspaper office when she gets slammed into and knocked unconscious by one of the employees returning from her route by bike.

       When Kana wakes up she finds herself inside the office surrounded by its female employees. At first, the office chief offers Kana a job, but withdraws the offer temporally when she finds out that Kana is only thirteen. After hearing about Kana being a orphan with one to look after her, the chief gives Kana the job and just kind of forgets to fill out all the proper paperwork. Soon, Kana spends her days learning her job, attending school, cooking the office meals, and becoming part of the family of misfits who work and live at the newspaper office.

The cast of characters.

Kana-A thirteen year old orphan and middle school student, a very good cook, and  a very sweet but not very smart girl.

Saki-The assistant chief of the office, and the only company manager that we ever see; while she’ only a fifth or sixth grader she is by far the most mature person working in the office.

Yume-Is a college age girl who attends a  patisserie academy, she puts way too much sugar in everything she cooks. Yume and Yuuki are a openly lesbian couple and show their affection for each other in public.

Yuuki-Is a college age girl who also works at the newspaper, but it’s never shown what college, if any, she attends. Yuuki is Yume’s lover and she is very jealous if anyone gets too cozy with Yume.

Haruka-Is a college student who studies bio-fermentation, she is always seen drinking some form of  intoxicating beverage. Haruka is a lesbian who has a weakness for cute girls between the ages of eight and fifteen. She is constantly hitting on Kana and getting smacked around by Saki and Hinata for her advances on Kana.

Hinata-Is a college age girl who has failed her entrance exams for two straight years, she works hard and thinks a lot about money but tends to try and get more money by gambling , playing raffles, and entering contests.

Kanamemo is all about family

For me, Kanamemo is about the value of having a “family” and not being alone.

       Yes, your Honor, the verdict is in and Kanamemo has been found guilty on all charges. Yes, Kanamemo is loaded with silly tropes, a unrealistic plot line, unbelievable characters, and just plain silliness that could never happen in real life but Kanamemo works for me. First and foremost, Kanamemo is about the value having some sort of family that cares for you, looks after you, keeps away the loneliness, and is non-judgemental and supportive. While the newspaper office is populated by a strange cast of weird girls, they form a “family” unit that works for them, and they’re happy with their arrangement. Many critics have been very mocking of the unrealistic nature of Kana’s situation saying that she must have other relatives to care for her, or her grandmother must have had money, or that the state would have sent her to some institution or boarding school for kids in her situation. But, I would rather see Kana being part of a family of misfits than going home alone each night to an empty house or a lonely boarding room at some school (think of Orihime from Bleach at home alone every night).

        Another thing I like about Kanamemo is that while most of the girls attend some sort of school or college the series doesn’t spent much time showing the girls’ attending school, and while the girls work six days a week doing early morning and late evening newspaper delivery that’s still a small part of the show. School and work issues in Kanamemo only function to have the girls interact with themselves as a “family” unit, they greet each other before work, eat their breakfasts and dinners together, take trips to the public bath together, and generally hanging out in the evenings together before bed. Also, the employees of Kanamemo function as a full family in the respect that they do all the things a normal Japanese family would do together, such as, celebrating the Japanese holiday of Obon.

      I guess, in the end, that I’m a sucker for the ‘family is were you make it” types of anime like Eureka 7, Brigadoon, Maison Ikkoku, and Clannad, which place as much value on the closeness of your relationships with your friends as you would with your normal family, in affect your friends and companions become your real family.

Notes about Japanese newspaper delivery. I did a little bit of research on this topic and found that over 90% of Japanese households take a daily paper, and about 35% of households take both a morning and evening paper. Also, since the papers are delivered very early in the morning and late evening it’s one of the jobs that are considered to be compatible with a student’s schedule with over 45% of the delivery employees being students and almost half of all delivery employees being female. A typical Japanese biking/walking delivery route has about 200 delivery points and takes about two hours in good weather to complete. Also, the delivery person is not paid a large amount of salary, I read a little ditty written by a college age newspaper delivery boy and he said he made less than 22,000 per year before the company deducts any fees they may charge for the use of a company dorm or other such living arrangements, and of course, taxes.  

Please wish me luck

        This episode begins on the Sunday of Yasuko’s sister’s wedding with Akira being driven to the ceremony by her brother. While Akira is heading to the wedding, we see that she never told Fumi about it, so after Fumi tries to call Akira she heads off for a walk.

quite being lazy

        While this is going on, we see Yasuko talking to her sister before the wedding, and she also talks with her unrequited love, Kagami. Once Akira arrives at the ceremony she runs into Kyoko and Kou, and soon the group also runs across Yasuko who invites both Kou and Akira’s brother to attend. Well, the wedding goes off without a hitch and Kazusa and Kagami both look great and seem very happy.

thank you of inviting me

the wedding walk

       After the ceremony is over Akira checks her cellphone to find messages from Fumi, and once Akira touches base with Fumi she decides to join Fumi who’s taking a trip to a nearby tourist island. Akira’s brother volunteers to drive Akira to meet Fumi, but before they can leave, Yasuko asks if she can tag along too.

agreeing to meet Fumi

        When Fumi sees that Yasuko has also tagged along she’s not very happy, and she asks Yasuko why she’s here? Yasuko says she wanted to see and talk with her, but Fumi says she doesn’t wish to talk with her. Akira rushes to Fumi and they start walking ahead of Yasuko and Shinobu, and when Yasuko tries to use Akira to get closer to Fumi she’s told by Fumi to not put Akira in a tough spot.

I don't want to talk with you

       As the group is walking in pairs through the village Yasuko explains the whole bloody situation to Shinobu who pretty much keeps is mouth shut and listens quietly. Later, the group decides to check out the local cave and once they’re inside the caves Akira pulls her brother away from Fumi and Yasuko so they can talk alone. Yasuko tries to explain her situation and her feelings to Fumi but Fumi calls Yasuko selfish and a child, and Fumi tells Yasuko that if she has someone she loves then she needs to concentrate on that person. Yasuko asks Fumi what she should do about a unrequited love and Fumi tells her that she should give up gracefully. Fumi then tells Yasuko that she’s given up on her, and that she should grow up. As Fumi is walking off, we hear Yasuko trying to tell Fumi that she’s sorry. Well, that’s all for this episode.

your selfish

fix on the one you lovegive up gracefullyplease grow up

I'm sorry Fumi

       Well, this was one hell of an episode, while many powerful feelings and emotions were revealed it was never done in an over-the-top method. We finally got to the bottom of how Yasuko became how she is now and while all the girls that know her think that she’s a strong person we now understand that it was caused by personal weakness on her part. As Yasuko told Shinobu, she fell for Kagami after he was dating her sister for a long time and in an attempt to imitate her sister she cut her hair, and she also became more manlike in an attempt to act out/get noticed by Kagami and her sisters. It was also quite interesting to watch Yasuko basically tell Shinobu that Kyoko relationship with her is almost a copy of her relationship with Kagami, so Kyoko is almost a copy of her at that age.

       Finally, Yasuko’s relationship with Fumi reached a breaking/ turning point. We can see that Yasuko misses Fumi and still has feelings for her, and she also understands she hurt Fumi, but when she tried to talk with her Fumi she got the laid the hammer down on her by Fumi calling her selfish and childish. Even though Fumi tells Yasuko that she’s given up on her she really left the door open for Yasuko by telling her to concentrate on the one you care for and give up gracefully on a impossible love,  you need to grow up. While many may think that this is the end of Fumi/Yasuko it’s really giving Yasuko a chance for a new beginning if Yasuko can move on from Kagami and really shows she really cares for Fumi. In affect, Fumi’s been burnt once by a just fooling around relationship and she’s telling Yasuko that if you really want me, PROVE IT!

what will it be like when it happens

       This episode begins with Akira’s brother Shinobu driving all the girls (Kyoko, Fumi, Akira, Pon-chan,  Ya-san, and Mogi) out to Kyoko’s aunt’s summer house where they’ll be spending the holiday. Finally, all the girls get to meet Kyoko’s fiancee, Kou.

the van ride to the house 

        As the girls are watching a tennis match between Pon-chan and Kyoko, Kou and Shinobu play a round of golf where they talk about the date incident from a while back, Shinobu admits that he might be a bit overprotective of his sister but he realizes that someone will eventually come into her life, and Kou says he also understands how he feels.

watching the tennis matchsome one will come into her lifeI now how you feel

        After the tennis match, Kyoko shows the girls a hiking trail where long ago she became lost and was found by Kou, and Pon-chan and the others think this is very romantic. The girls take a stroll down memory lane even though Kyoko says that there’s nothing special down there. While walking down a slope Akira slips and is caught is Fumi, and they end up holding hands while walking. When the girls reach the spot where Kyoko and Kou met, Pon-chan and the others perform an over the top reenactment of the incident. The girls soon spot a patch of lilies growing in the marshy waters next to the stream.

the story is so romantic

Fumi catching AkiraFumi holding Akira's handthe hand holding episode

help me I'm lost

the lily patch near the river

         After dinner while Akira and Fumi are relaxing in their room, the other girls join them and want to tell ghost stories, Akira doesn’t want to do this but Fumi says it’ll be interesting. So, they spent the night telling ghost stories scaring the crap out of Akira.

lets tell ghost stories 

        The next day, it gets decided that everyone will go on a overnight camping trip at a nearby campground. At the campground all the kids enjoy a nice curry supper, and it’s decided that they’ll have a test of courage this evening. Everyone will breakdown into teams of two and have to head off to the spot when they saw the lilies growing and retrieve one of them, and the mention of the trail where Kyoko and Kou met triggers a flashback in Kou’s mind of their meeting.

the campground pinic tabletonight a test of courage

        Later that evening ,all the kids draw straws for their partners for the test of courage and they head off into the woods. Kyoko and Fumi talk about Kyoko’s painting and when she fell in love with Yasuko while they walk. Akira and Kou talk about his meeting with Kyoko where Akira lets it slip that Kyoko was rejected by the person she loves, and Kou tells her he wishes he was the person she’s in love with. Mogi and Shinobu gets paired off together, and the last pair is Pon-chan and Ya-san. Well, once everyone’s gotten back to the cabin we find out that Mogi  has a crush on Akira’s brother and the girls raze her about it. Akira asks her what’s good about her brother and all Mogi tells her is that she thinks  he’s cool.

drawing lots for the walk

I feel in love with yasukoKyoko was dumped by that personI want to be that person

I thought he was cool

meet your future sister in law

       Later, that night, Akira lies awake and thinks to herself that everyone but her has someone they like and she wonders what she’ll be like when she falls for someone. Akira’s stomach then growls and she finds that Fumi’s still awake and giggling at her, so the head downstairs to find some food for Akira. While they’re downstairs, Fumi notices the beautiful night sky and they both head outside to watch the stars. Well, that’s all for this episode.

everyone has someone they like

sharing the stars

        Well, I really loved the mellow, slow, and gentle pacing of this episode, and it was really nice seeing Kyoko and Kou getting some character development. I liked how the other girls found the story of Kyoko’s and Kou’s forest meeting very romantic and how they practically squealed with delight thinking about the possibilities. Also, it was nice seeing Kou admit to Akira how strong his feelings for Kyoko are. But, I do feel sorry for him, Kou’s & Kyoko’s story is like the fairy tale of prince rescuing the princess from the dark forest, or its close to the “prince on the hill” tale from Candy Candy but with the twist that the princess really doesn’t fall in love with the prince.

candy-and-her-prince

         I also liked how Akira is starting to get a little character development of her own, up until now Akira has been a pretty good listener to the love problems of Kyoko and Fumi and now she’s wondering what will happen when she falls for someone, will she cry like Fumi? Akira also thinks to herself that she’s the only one who hasn’t fallen for or at least likes someone, and it seems like she worried that she’s falling behind her friends in the growing up process.

Well, with only two episode left we’re left with many possible endings.

1. A Fumi /Akira hookup (probably the nicest outcome, but I don’t think that Akira’s a lesbian.)

2. A  Fumi/Kyoko hookup (unlikely, but we have two rejected lesbians who loved the same person.)

3. A Yasuko/Fumi or Kyoko hookup (it’s possible that she decides to pick either, but Yasuko still hasn’t resolved her own problems.)

4. A Kou/Akira hookup (it’s possible that Kou decides that Kyoko’s a lost cause and starts to get closer to Akira and their friendship turn into a real dating relationship.)

5. A Kou/Kyoko hookup (Its possible that Kyoko sees Yasuko as a lost cause and decides to turn to the one person who’s always been there for her and always supported her.)

6. A Mogi/Shinobu hookup (highly likely, Mogi already thinks he’s cool and Shinobu doesn’t seem to be exactly killing the girls in college, plus he needs something to take his mind off of worrying about his sister.)

       I also really liked the camping storyline because it brought back memories from my youth. When I was first in the Army we would get 3-4 guys and invite all the girls we knew for a Friday-Sunday camping trip, and we would do the whole ghost stories around the campfire thing along with the walk though the dark woods thing. It doesn’t get any better than sitting around a campfire next to a sweet girl while telling ghost stories on a slightly chilly fall night, hookup percentage 100%, those were the sweetest days of youth.

A meeting of the broken hearted 

      This episode picks up with Fumi wanting to leave Yasuko’s house after being told by Yasuko that she can no longer be her girlfriend. The family is concern about Fumi because it’s raining really hard, Fumi finally accepts a ride home from Kuri. During the ride, Fumi’s suspicions are confirmed that Yasuko was/is in love with Kagami, and she also finds out that Kazusa is marrying Kagami.

Kagami is with Kazusa 

       The next school day, Akira tries to quiz Fumi  about her visit to Yasuko’s house during their ride to school, but Fumi’s is extremely quiet, and Fumi invites Akira to a movie after school. Meanwhile, at Akira’s school, Kagami and Kazusa’s engagement makes the newspaper and the news spreads like wildfire throughout the school. Later, Kyoko figures out the Kagami -Yasuko/Kazusa triangle and confronts Kagami in the hallway. Kyoko tells him that he lied to her about not knowing Yasuko, and asks him if Yasuko loved him? He tells her she has to ask Yasuko if she loved him, and why do you care about Yasuko so much? Kyoko tells Kagami that she loves Yasuko, and she asks him if he finds that strange?

you know how girls areWhy do you care so much about herI'm in love with her

is that very strange to you 0001

       After Akira and Fumi watch the movie, Fumi tells her that she got dumped by Yasuko. Later, Akira confronts Yasuko on the way to school, and after a tense couple of minutes Yasuko grabs Akira and they leave the train. Yasuko takes Akira to a sweet shop where Yasuko tries to dodge the subject at hand, but Akira won’t let her off the hook. Akira demands to know why she dumped Fumi. Yasuko’s says that’s not what happened. Then Akira drops the bombshell on her, she asks Yasuko if she was in love with Kagami? Yes. Akira then asks Yasuko if she stills loves Kagami to which Yasuko says, “everybody asks that question”, and Yasuko tells Akira that she’s scary. Yasuko goes on to say that she fell for her sister’s boyfriend, and when they got engaged she never thought it would hit her so hard.

Fumi took the day off please don't be mad at mewhy did you dump Fumi

do you still love himI fell for my sister's BFIt hit me very hard

       After Akira finishes her meeting with Yasuko she sits alone for a long time thinking and decides to skip school and pay a visit to Fumi who also cut school. When Akira goes inside Fumi’s room she rushes up to and hugs Fumi, and she tells her she’s so sorry. As they’re hugging, Fumi asks Akira why should she be sorry? Akira tells Fumi that she confronted Yasuko because she felt what Yasuko did to Fumi was mean and cruel. Later, Akira laments about how she got involved in this problem, and Fumi tells her she’s too kind for her own good.

I hate myself Fumi

You're too kind for your own good 

      As the days pass, we see everyone seeming to be getting along with their normal routines; Fumi hangs out with Akira and seems to be getting along nicely with her classmates, Yasuko continues to practice basketball and be surrounded by her mob, and Yasuko’s family continues to prepare for Kazusa’s wedding.

Fumi hanging out at schooFumi and Akira hanging out after school

      As summer vacation approaches, all the girls talk about what they’re going to be doing, Kyoko invites Akira to hang with her and Kou at their summer place. When Akira seems uncertain about how to respond to the offer, Kyoko tells Akira to invite Fumi and the other three girls that helped with the play. By mistake Akira lets it slip that Fumi and Yasuko broke up to which Kyoko says that it might be uncomfortable for she and Fumi to see each other. Well, Akira says she’ll run it by Fumi anyways.

the girls talking about summer vacationinvite Fumi and the others if you wantI have a really big mouth

Yasuko broke up with Fumi 

      As Yasuko is leaving the school she sees Kyoko waiting for her, Kyoko tells her that she heard about her break up with Fumi, and Yasuko guesses Akira must have let it slip. Well, Yasuko walks over to Kyoko and asks her if she thought that she’d date her next? Yasuko blows her off by saying, forget that, and see you later. Kyoko begins to follow Yasuko and tells her that yes, she’d thought that Yasuko would date her next, and Kyoko asks the same question that Fumi did, do you still love him? Well, Yasuko gets angry and tells Kyoko that no one likes a pushy girl and is quite forceful in rejecting her once more.

did you think I would date you next 

      Later, that night, Akira tells Fumi about the invitation to Kyoko’s place, and after some goofing around Fumi tells Akira that she’ll go. Akira tells Fumi don’t start a rejected by Yasuko club with Kyoko, and Fumi claims that she barely has feelings for her anymore, Akira claims that Fumi’s just putting on a act. Later, that night, Fumi thinks to herself that the reason she was able to get through this was because of Akira.

don't start a rejected by Yasuko club

I barely have feelings for her 

      A few days later, Akira, Fumi, and Kyoko are at a cafe talking about the upcoming vacation and Akira excuses herself from the table leaving Fumi and Kyoko alone to talk. Kyoko asks Fumi if she still loves Yasuko, but before she can answer Yasuko says not only does she love Yasuko but Yasuko now hates her.  Kyoko calls herself an idiot, and Fumi tells her she’s not, and soon both Fumi and Kyoko share a cry-fest together. Well, that’s all for this episode.

she hates me now 0001Kyoko crying 0001Fumi crying 0001

        Well, even after seeing the cliffhanger ending to the previous episode I really didn’t see the Yasuko/Fumi breakup coming. I thought that Yasuko would have come to the realization that her sister is marrying her unrequited love and there’s nothing she can do about it, so she decides to get on with her life. But, it looks like it’s going to take Yasuko a lot longer to get over her first love than it took Fumi to get past her first love. Hell, it should be alot easier for Yasuko to get over Kagami than it was for Fumi to get over her lover because as far as we can tell Kagami never returned Yasuko’s affections with anything other than kind words and a smile while Fumi relationship reached the sexual phase before their breakup.

       Also, I found Yasuko’s behavior towards Kyoko to be quite mean and cold, I had figured Yasuko to be the quiet, strong, and mature type but in the end I guess she’s as much a broken hearted schoolgirl as Fumi was when she got dumped by her first lover.

       I really like how Fumi is starting to mature and gain confidence as the series is progressing, if her breakup with Yasuko would have happened at the beginning of the series she would have been depressed for weeks. Even if Fumi still has feelings for Yasuko she’s matured enough to tell herself that there’s nothing she can do to fix the current situation other than give Yasuko time and space.

       One thing I have to mention is that Akira rocks in this episode; Akira really knows how to comfort and stick up for a friend. I have to agree with Yasuko that at times Akira can be downright scary when she thinks a friend is getting a raw deal. I also have to point out that Akira’s relationship skills have improved greatly. At the beginning of the series she knew nothing about relationships, and now she almost like counselor. Akira knows the right time to give a hug, and she now understands when she should get two people together to talk out a problem in private.

Now to some smart-assed comments about the next episode.

      Well, we’re going to have one hell of an interesting summer vacation episode. One summer house, six girls, maybe seven girls if Yasuko shows up, with two of them being broken hearted lesbians + maybe one lesbian/bi-sexual girl (maybe she’ll figure out what she is someday) add to the mix four straight girls plus one college guy who doesn’t know his future waifu is a lesbian and we could get one heck of a H-dojin.

       But, seriously, the only thing that would make me want to pull my hair out is if Yasuko keeps trying to pawn off Kou off on Akira; it’s almost like she’s too much of a coward to just tell Kou that she’s a lesbian, and she would rather be dumped by Kou leaving her guilt free. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yasuko show Akira to her room, and when Akira looks around she sees a couple of bottles of Saki on the nightstand, some chocolate kisses on the pillows along with a couple of condoms, and Yasuko tells her by the way you’re sharing the room with Kou, so enjoy.  

do you truely love her 

      This episode begins with Kou giving Kyoko and Akira getting a ride back home where we see how Kyoko found out about Yasuko’s tears and her reaction to Yasuko’s tears. Then back at Fumi’s house, we see that Fumi’s still mulling over Yasuko’s confession that she had feelings for someone else and it didn’t work out.  The next morning, Fumi skips school and decides to hangout with Akira who has the day off. Akira and Fumi spend the day window shopping and just hanging out, and we see that Fumi stood up Yasuko. Akira can tell that something bothering Fumi, so when Fumi asks to spend the night she says sure. As they’re getting ready for bed Fumi tells Akira that she did something bad. To Yasuko? Well, Akira says she might be too popular, so I’m on your side. Before the head off to sleep Akira tells Fumi to reconcile with Yasuko. Yes, I should have confronted her directly, I’ll talk with her tomorrow and if we can’t work it out then it wasn’t meant to be.

Yasuko started cryingFumi wondering about YasukoAkira and Fumi hanging out

it's a girls day out

Akira and Fumi having a laugh

       The next day at school, Akira finds out from Kyoko that Yasuko has three older sisters and one of them was a teacher at this school. Also, we see that Fumi sends Yasuko multiple text messages, one saying she’s sorry, and another one asking to meet with her after school if she can forgive her. Well, Fumi and Yasuko meet after class, Yasuko doesn’t say much other than asking her if she’s free this Saturday. Fumi tells Yasuko that she’s free, then Yasuko says it’s a date, and she’s going to take Fumi to visit her family. later that night Fumi calls Akira and tells her about getting to meet Yasuko’s family and Akira tells her that Yasuko has three sisters.

the four sister are pretty famous 

      When Saturday comes Fumi waits at the station for Yasuko, and Fumi gets a little nervous about being stood up. Yasuko surprises Fumi by showing up in a chauffeured car to take her to the house, and when they get there Fumi’s shocked by the size of her house. Well, as Yasuko takes Fumi through the house she meets Yasuko’s sisters; Shinako-the eldest sister, Kazusa-the next oldest, and Kuri-the one closest in age to Yasuko. When the four sisters, Fumi, and Yasuko’s mother all sit down for some tea, Yasuko makes the statement that she’s dating Fumi. Shocked looks travel around the table with one of Yasuko’s sister asking you mean like a lesbian? Kuri asks Yasuko some pretty tough questions like do you love her, or do you just love her now, so are you bi-sexual, and Yasuko gets offended and tells Fumi that they’re going to her room.

the car ride to Yasuko's houseShinako-Yasuko eldest sister 001Yasuko's mother and her sister Kuri

Kazusa-Yasuko's second eldest sisterI'm going out with this girlis she your girlfriend

are you a lesbian

so are you bi-sexual Yasuko

      As Yasuko gets up to leave, Kuri tells Fumi to stay and let Yasuko go, she says that Yasuko will pout and expect someone to console her, and that she’s such a princess. A short while later, Fumi heads up to Yasuko’s room and they talk. Yasuko says it’s always the same because she lets them manipulate her, and Fumi says that she’s envious of her because she has no siblings. Then Fumi starts to tell her about her previous relationship, saying that she loved someone, but her relationship with Fumi was probably just fooling around. Yasuko butts in, asking Fumi if she doubts her? Yasuko also suggests that maybe Fumi just fell for her after being dumped, or maybe they both just thought they fell for each other at first sight?

Lets go to my room FumiI need a damn smokeare you still doubting

maybe I just appeared at the right time

      At that moment, Shinako comes into the room and tells Yasuko that it’s not nice to switch the blame to Fumi, and she grabs Fumi and takes her downstairs. Fumi sits down with the other sisters and their mother to play a game, and they invite Fumi to stay for the night. After a little bit, Fumi offers to take some food up to Yasuko. While Fumi’s away, Kuri jokes about whether or not Yasuko will take this to the next level tonight, and one of the other sisters says that maybe they’ve already been to the next level.  Kazusa says maybe that’s enough, and Kuri asks her if she’s feeling guilty?

your not being fair to her

I wonder if they'll go to the next level

what if they already went to the next level

      Upstairs, in Yasuko’s room, Yasuko tells Fumi that she was cruel and she’s sorry, it happened because she can’t sort out her own feelings. After a short pause, she tells Fumi that in her current state that she can’t be Fumi’s girlfriend. Well, that’s all for this episode.

I can't sort out my own feelings

I can't be your girlfriend right now

       Well, basically this episode consisted of two parts with the first part showing Akira and Fumi hanging out and Akira being a good & supportive friend. But, the real meat of the episode was watching the interactions between Yasuko and her sisters, and seeing Yasuko’s uncertainties about her relationship with Fumi. I think that it’s pretty safe to say that Yasuko was/is love with Kagami but he refused her confession because he hooked up with the middle sister, Kazusa. This is pretty much confirmed when Kuri asks Kazusa if she’s feeling guilty after Kazusa tries to get the other sisters to stop talking about whether or not Fumi and Yasuko are going to/or already have had sexual relations. I also felt that Kuri’s tough questions directed Yasuko were perfectly appropriate since she knows about the Yasuko/Kazusa/Kagami mess; So, are you bi-sexual, and do you love her, might sound really tough but they need to be asked. Also, Shinako’s intervention on Fumi’s behalf was needed, Yasuko’s moody behavior isn’t about Fumi, it’s all about her.

       Now, the biggest issues in this episode are all Yasuko’s. As the last two episodes have shown, Fumi has been much more forth coming about her feelings, emotions, and her past than Yasuko has been. While Fumi is very willing to tell Yasuko about loving her cousin and being dumped by her, Yasuko is closed off. Shinako and Kuri asked Yasuko some tough questions and when she stormed off it showed that Yasuko is still pretty uncertain about her real feelings; Yasuko should have been able to answer whether or not she lesbian or bi-sexual and if she loves Fumi, very tough questions, but they need answering. I think that before Fumi and Yasuko move to the sexual phase of their relationship Yasuko needs to be honest with herself and Fumi about whether she still loves Kagami, and if she’s even a lesbian. If the answer yes, then any further relationship with Fumi will only be a distraction from her pain and she’ll only end up hurting Fumi and herself. If her answer is no, then Yasuko should feel free to snuggle up next to Fumi and let nature take its course.

the lonely flowers after the play 

       This episode begins on the day of the big play, Fumi and her friends work the reception desk, and we get a pretty funny scene showing Akira trying to hide from her parents and her brother. Then we see how all the actors get ready for their stage performances by putting on makeup and so forth. The front desk crew notices that some programs of the first play were mixed in with their stuff so Fumi volunteers to run them over to the elementary school kids.

Akira hiding from her parents 

       As Fumi’s heading over to drop off the stuff she runs into Yasuko and they talk about how fate had them cross paths, Fumi tells Yasuko that she’ll watch her from the main audience, and she promises to meet Yasuko right after the pay is over. Then we see Akira spending some time with her family at the school’s cafe.  After Fumi drops off the stuff we see that she heads over to a flower shop to get a bouquet of flowers for Yasuko, but little does she know that many bouquets of flowers have been dropped off by Yasuko’s fans.

Yasuko's and Fumi's chance meeting

       Fumi makes it back to the auditorium by the end of the elementary school play and sits down with her friends. As the middle school play is going on we see the high school students continue to prepare back stage for their performance, and we see that Akira helps Yasuko with her makeup and hair.

Falling asleep during the play

Akira helping Yasuko with her hair 

     The high school play starts, and we’re treated to the acting on stage and the behind the curtain actions like costume and prop changes. While Yasuko’s off stage she has a conversation with Kyoko about her opinion of the Catherine character from the play, Kyoko tells her that she thinks that Catherine’s selfish, and Yasuko tells her that everyone is selfish. Well, Yasuko goes back on stage and finishes up the final scenes of the play, and when it’s over the whole cast gets a standing ovation.

the play begins

Edgar proposed to meI love himin my hearteveryone is selfish

I really do forgive you

        When Fumi’s friends look for her during the curtain call they find her seat empty because Fumi is rushing backstage to give Yasuko the flowers she bought for her. Back in the dressing room Kagami is congratulating all the girls for a job well done, and he gives special praise to Yasuko for her acting job, Yasuko tears up after hearing the praise. Yasuko’s tears cause a stir among the other actors, and we see that Fumi observed the whole scene from the doorway.

Fumi rushing with the flowers

Yasuko's really crying after the play 

       After everything has finished up Fumi and Yasuko sit outside and have a little chat where Yasuko tells Fumi that she saw something strange. Fumi say no, not at all, she’s goes on to say that she realises that Yasuko has another person that she also likes. Yasuko asks her if she wants to know? No, I don’t want to know, but it’s eating me up inside. Yasuko tells Fumi that it’s all in the past now, but I loved them and they loved me, that’s it. Yasuko tells Fumi that starting tomorrow she’ll be running the basketball club so would you like to come and watch me? Yes. Yasuko tells Fumi it’s time to go, she offers Fumi her hand and they get up and leave together.

Its eating me up

I loved them and they loved me

it's time to go home 

      Wow, Ive got to say that I thought this was one hell of an episode, probably the best one of  the series so far. I really loved all the little touches that were included in the episode; Akira trying to dodge her parents and brother was pretty funny, as was her brother complaining about have to wear a suit to the play, and it was also pretty funny how Akira and her mother got into discussing Wuthering Heights while her father and brother didn’t get it. Watching Akira’s mother having to wake her son up after he dozes off during the first two plays was pretty funny too (I have had the exact same thing happen to me in the past when going to see stuff my younger brother and sister were in).

      I also loved how Fumi has started to mature since the beginning of the series. When we first met Fumi in episode one she was very emotionally unstable, shaky, and fairly fragile after being shocked by the news that her cousin who was her first lover was getting married and had to break off her relationship with Fumi. From that first episode to now, Fumi has gained the maturity and self-confidence to tell her best friend that she’s a lesbian and dating Yasuko, and Fumi also showed the courage to tell Yasuko that while she doesn’t want to know about the “other” its eating her up. I think that Fumi can relate very well to Yasuko’s emotional situation; Fumi’s also felt the painful sting of losing a first love. The Fumi from the first episode might have just ran away after seeing Yasuko’s reaction to Kagami’s words but this Fumi is now much stronger.

       I also felt that the little conversation that Yasuko had with Kyoko about Catherine’s character from Wuthering Heights was quite illuminating about both of their natures and maturity levels. While, Kyoko’s answer that Catherine is selfish is quite understandable it highlights her portrayal as being quick to judge a situation with little introspection, and Yasuko response that everyone is selfish shows why they can’t be together. Yasuko needs a more introspective/quiet thinking partner and Fumi’s a much better match for her.

       Well, I look forward to watching future episodes of Aoi Hana to see how Fumi’s and Yasuko’s relationship continues to develop, and I also look forward to seeing maybe a little more development of Kyoko’s back-story.

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