Ao Haru Ride Anime: Will It Make Your Heart Skip a Beat? (Review)

Why should you watch Ao Haru Ride? Then let me ask you: Are you looking for something sweet and warm? The kind of anime that gives you the mushy lovey-dovey feeling like you’re meeting your highschool love again? Then yes, Ao Haru Ride is the perfect Shoujo anime for you! I will give you all the details about the anime you need to know, so keep digging!

Io Sakisaka has written and illustrated Ao Haru Ride, a Japanese shōjo manga series. Serialization of the same began in the February 2011 issue of Shueisha‘s Bessatsu Margaret and ended in February 2015.

Ao Haru Ride received many adaptations during its run. For example, A novel by Akiko Abe ran in Cobalt. In 2014, a limited edition drama CD adaptation was also released to promote the then-upcoming anime television series by Production I.G, which premiered in July 2014. A live-action film adaptation was also aired in December 2014.

Ao Haru Ride was nevertheless one of the best shōjo series of 2014 told by several manga industry professionals. The series achieved popularity with teenagers and young women who could relate to Futaba’s personal growth. Ao Haru Ride was also one of the best-selling manga series in 2013 and 2014 and hence forced me to write a review on this lovey-dovey cute series.

The Plot of Ao Haru Ride

Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride) is no doubt a shoujo. In her childhood, the plot of a girl developing a crush on a boy of her age has turned into a cliche. Although there is a sense of innocence as the young Futaba Yoshioka sees boys in her class as ‘violent.’

The only exception is a boy named Kou Tanaka, who is gentle towards her. A turn of events from simple misunderstanding to a separation between the two as Tanaka transfer from school will lead to new beginnings. To Simply put this, the experiences that Futaba shared with Tanaka are a treasure. But that treasure gets buried away until one day…

Where to Watch?

Ao Haru Ride Review

The anime adaptation is based on the manga of the same name created by Io Sakisaka; it successfully hits shoujo to the very core. Ao Haru Ride stands out in a plentitude of ways.

It takes guts and a lot of hard work to turn one of the most classic genres into an anime that steers it into a direction with honesty, drama, and a show full of charm. The time for Spring Ride is perfect for teenagers or young adults. Ao Haru Ride follows a group of characters that get intertwined in a story of young love and growing up.

The Storyline

No relationship can ever be without misunderstandings and love triangles.  Awkward moments in this show must be accepted for enjoyment, or this show will haunt you like a ticking time bomb. The show is slow-paced, which sometimes kills the climatic vibes. Even when it gets a bit intimidating, the show managed its clever humor and dramatic dialogues, unlike Horimiya.

The dialogues are often lighthearted with no shock value or profane scenarios. This series’s little problem is that sometimes it attempts to try, especially with its dialogues during conversations. The drama gets emotional and feels realistic; I feel empty thrills and predictable outcomes. Furthermore, it gets a little boring.

As Kou and Futaba are the main focus, there’s an obvious lack of detailed work on the other characters. Only superficial information is available about the side characters. In contrast, they feel less conventional as the love triangle is more of a plot device to draw Kou and Futaba closer together. The collateral damage is the one that’s hurt while other love birds get to carry on their story.

Ao Haru Ride Anime Review

This anime used romance, friendship, and family values well. The leading girl trio (Futaba, Yuuri, Murao) interaction feels realistic. The critical difference is that Futaba’s new friends treated her with actual sincerity, which usually doesn’t happen in real life.

We also get to see; there is also some family connection between Kou and his brother Yoichi Tanaka. Although the relation between them is not explored in-depth, they share a bond despite their different personalities. 


The story revolves around a group of characters during their school days. It’s easy to say that school is the perfect setting for people to grow up but is it so?. Futaba tries to change herself and puts effort into being less girly. Her actions speak louder than words, too, such as when she purposely starts eating like a pig to play down her girly side.

Her so-called “friends” even start complaining about her recent behavior and avoiding her. Nevertheless, Futaba is genuinely kind, which is evident through her relationship with Yuuri, a pretty classmate who other girls despise. Other side characters start appearing in the story, including the lone wolf Shuuko Murao and the energetic Aya Kominato.

Ao Haru Ride Anime Review

Also, by this time, Kou returns but now goes by the name “Kou Mabuchi.” This isn’t all what else?. Unlike his gentle self, the new Kou is just the moon’s reverse side with his sarcastic behavior and cold gestures. Some viewers didn’t like this. But I know many will be like, what in the world happened? Some scenes are funny and enjoyable, enabling the viewers to release more serotonin after dramatic scenes.

Overall, the main characters’ development was flawless but failed to develop the side characters, so some viewers may feel disinterested in others and skip to the scenes to watch the main characters.


The Artwork does what it’s meant to do. The show successfully maintains a youthful appearance throughout the series. The background focuses on portraying the theme of Spring with the graceful weather, palate framework, and convincing yet straightforward imagery.

The outdoors and weather are distinct with their consistency. Flashbacks are cleverly enlightened with aura-like water paint to illustrate youth. However, character designs are moderate or 50-50 for me. Most characters look stiff, and the movements are limited. I think it would have been in the production committee that worked on Violet Evergarden produced this series instead.

Ao Haru Ride Anime Review

There’s less focus on the characters and more on their moments. Important scenes have a longer focus with a cool-down time before a transition appears. I think the purpose of this is to create new memories and show how characters changed. But I must say that studio Production I.G. brings it to top-notch A-game when it comes to the overall animation adaptation of a shoujo manga.


I think it was one of the strong points of this shoujo series. Both the OP and ED songs have colorful imagery and symbolism, and melodic music. The OP song also possesses both energy and a girly-like feeling, while the ED song gives some montage vibes. The vocals remind me of Tower of God, and they could use this element well.

OST is well-timed and feels like there has been planning. The key moments appear to bring out the best message of what they are motivated to do. Certain background songs played in the memorable moments heighten the overall quality.

Voice acting also deserves praise. We see a sharp contrast in voice and tone between Kou Tanaka and Kou Machibi. Shuuko is noticeable for her cold mannerism as a lone wolf but slowly adapts to become a more sincere girl as time passes. On the other hand, I felt Futaba’s voice is irritating and forced.

Final Words

Ao Haru Ride, a shoujo series, is surprisingly well structured to talk about its story. It has the look and feels of a typical shoujo series having all characters, visuals, and other commonly seen tropes.

While the show may fail to leave a long-lasting impression on many, it’s interesting to see how their lives become interconnected and through this everlasting relationship blooms. Also, the sweet, lovely moments that make your heart skip a beat is like a cherry on top of a mouthwatering dessert. The show also delivered realistic lessons and wasted little time to flesh out what it’s trying to do with the premise.

Ao Haru Ride Anime Review

It might happen that after finishing the series, one might end up asking themselves, “Is that it? Nothing more?” Well, my friends, sadly, the shoujo series is like this. It has little to offer but can make you feel breathless and warm at the same time. For some, it’ll be just another cliche series, but maybe for some, it might be their best shoujo series.

I want to say that this series is light-hearted and can be enjoyed. There’s no need to tire yourself over thinking about the outcomes of each dialogue, and it does what it says. Go and watch this anime and let me know about your experience in the comments section below.

Rating: 4/5

FAQs on Ao Haru Ride

1. Will Ao Haru Ride have a Season 2?

No official announcement has been made as of now, but you can check for a detailed report on our page as well.

2. Does Ao Haru Ride have a movie?

Yes, it has produced A live-action film directed by Takahiro Miki, which aired on 13 December 2014 to promote the anime.

3. Is Ao Haru Ride and orange the same?

The main difference between Ao Haru Ride is that it focused on the romantic aspect while Orange gives more importance to the healing process, and hence it’s more dramatic.

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