A Review: Ao Haru Ride (Japanese)


I’ve been talking about LOVE in most of the Japanese movies I’ve reviewed. Now I want to focus on FRIENDSHIP.

Ao Haru Ride is a journey of love and friendship through the eyes of Futaba. Let’s join her as she discovers her true love and true friends who made her adolescence more meaningful.


Futaba with the gang:

Tanaka-sensei: One year of life in high school is busy and will pass quickly, but what kind of life it will be is up to you all.

It’s better to be alone than with pretend friends. Futaba did not know this at first. Her main goal when she entered High School is friendship first and NO boys. She was able to gain new friends but they are just pretenders. Since she is always with the same group, she’s starting to be like them too while shedding the girl that she is. Pleasing someone is never an ideal way to gain friends. Good thing an incident happened and Futuba saw the true colours of her so-called friends. This lead the way for her to see who her real friends are.

Futaba and four other students became the volunteer leaders of their class. Through the leadership training, they became even closer. The group is composed of Futaba, Mabuchi, Yuuri, Shuko, and Kominato. They are a perfect blend of different personalities that when combined formed a beautiful bond of friendship who learned to understand each other amidst difficulties.

Futaba with the girls:

Shuko: It’s just, I thought that I could say it if it were to you two.

I love their foundation: Honesty even when it hurts. I think this is a testament of a true friend, when you are bold enough to tell the truth even when it hurts. I prefer a friend who will tell me what is bad rather than always praise me with the good. Or worse, a person who would smile at you in front yet stab you at the back.

Futaba, Yuuri and Shuko became close when they started to be open with their feelings. Futaba was brave enough to tell Yuuri that she likes Mabuchi too, even if she knows Yuuri feels the same way. It is a risk to be honest but the girls has pure intention that accompanied the hurtful truth. That made them realise that they have found a precious friend for keeps.

Futaba with Mabuchi:

Mabuchi: I love you. I did then, and I do now. Always did. I’ve never liked anyone but you.

They are each other’s first love. I enjoyed the young love story that started when they met one rainy afternoon. The shy glances and hidden smiles was enough to pull me in. They are just adorable, no wonder why Mabuchi wasn’t able to erase her in his heart even if they were separated for four years.

They met again when Mabuchi went back from Nagasaki to study in the same school as Futaba. She was able to recognise him at first but noticed a difference. He wasn’t the same boy he knew in middle school. I wasn’t solved by the drama behind the change. But the few scenes of Mabuchi with his Mother did stir my heart.

Sometimes you don’t need someone to fully understand you because you share the same experience. What matters most is your presence. Futaba is always available for Mabuchi, even if he ditched her not just once but twice! I know, right. I was like, Dude, what the fudge did you do?? Why does another girl have to enter and ruin your promise? That aside, I like this angst better. It doesn’t hurt to have a third wheel just to keep the main pair from turning. It was also a needed push for Mabuchi to be man enough to face his own love and be assured about it.

Kikuchi: When I’m in a large group of people, I always end up unconsciously trying to find you. Even if I get the wrong person, I look for you. And when I’m trying to find you, no matter how big the group is, I somehow find you first. I wonder if that’s what it is to fall in love.

Speaking of third wheel, Kikuchi is so cute! Though he was wrong to volunteer himself as a bubblegum. He can never cover the spot that Mabuchi has in Futaba’s heart. I’m glad he didn’t push Futaba too much to annoy me. Even if we know who the OTP is, a man like Kikuchi showed us that we can be loved just as we are. Isn’t it nice to experience love like that?

Personal Thoughts:

Sometimes we are concentrated on just one thing, we forget to have fun. Of course it is important to focus on our studies, but enjoying life as a student makes a difference. We wouldn’t even remember most of the lessons we learned, but the great times we had created in a given moment will be remembered most. These are the kind of memories you will laugh at whenever you have dinner with your friends. Even those you thought were bad, will have a different meaning once you are old enough.

Adolescence is not just the time to experience love but more importantly it is the time to build genuine friendship that will last a lifetime. I’m blessed to have a set of friends that I’ve met in Grade 1 who are still with me today. They are the people who saw me grow up and knows the old me and the person I have become now. The best part is, I don’t have to pretend to be anybody but myself with them. This is the kind of relationship that is the most important to build in our youth.

But finding true friends is not easy. Selecting a friend is very crucial because some are pretenders or they might have hidden agenda to befriend you. You have to be decisive and keen. After all, you don’t need a hundred of friends. Less is MORE! Few friends who will love you just the way you are – flaws and all. You have to carefully surround yourself with optimistic and genuine people. They are the best thing to have in life outside your family. As you grow old you will need friends who will be with you not just during sunrise but most especially when it’s dark.

Higashide Masahiro reminds me so much of Jo Jung Seok. They can pass as brothers. Don’t you think?

Moving on, he had a sweet chemistry with Tsusaba Honda. Young love doesn’t have to be overpowering. A few dusting of sweetness is enough to feel that you can find that one person whose going to brighten up your day, and have a great time sharing every moment with.

This movie is a great reminder that we have to constantly think and  “Create memories of fun times”. No matter what age you are, this will make a difference.

Until next time!



  • anna says:

    I loved this movie. This was one well made liveaction movie. I thought Masahiro looked like Matsumoto Jun especially when he laughted. The chemistry, and the take away from the movie was good.

  • bellaardila52 says:

    I am glad that you doing review of Japanese dramas. Can you please do Taiwan next?

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