Aoi Hana – 9
. . . Wow. Before this episode, I had not considered the thought of Ikumi x Fumi for even a moment, but it is kind of interesting how hints of that have come about.
This pairing does make a whole lot of sense if you think about it. They have the shared heartbreak of tumultuous relations with Sugimoto, although the paths followed by each are quite different. (I think, after that good cry, Fumi is largely over her infatuation with Sugimoto, while Ikumi is still clinging to it as long as she can.) Unlike Acchan x Fumi — which really does not strike me as that believable since, you know, Acchan is not a lesbian — Ikumi x Fumi actually seems like it could happen. The two were a bit awkward around each other when Acchan first introduced them, and when Fumi went out with Sugimoto they did not see that much of each other, but now that they have something in common, they are getting along quite well.
Acchan can see it as well. She definitely picks up on something on the ride to the summer home, anyway. It is not much — just a look and a laugh by both girls — but it is something. I really felt like Acchan in that scene, like, “Holy hell, how did I not notice that before now?” Ikumi and Fumi seem to have a natural connection, though, and it really highlights how much Fumi has grown through the series. In the beginning, she is so introverted and afraid to reach out to others. But here she is actively engaging Ikumi (even if she is doing it in kind of an awkward way), even going so far as to praise something Ikumi painted. (I get the feeling there is a story behind that painting, and not just that Ikumi painted it as a way to get close to Sugimoto, or something.)
Also, and I hope I am not imagining this, Kou and Acchan seem to have a bit of chemistry as well. It is not really overt, or anything. But I just feel like there is something there, especially given Kou’s melancholy view of his and Ikumi’s engagement. It is a nice bit of irony that the two have their own unrequited loves — Ikumi for Sugimoto, and Kou for Ikumi. (Ikumi undoubtedly likes Kou as a person, but she would not pursue Sugimoto so doggedly if she loved him romantically.) I feel kind of bad for Kou. He really does like Ikumi a ton, but he is also realistic enough to see that she does not completely return his feelings. Kou wishes she would love him — just as Ikumi wishes Sugimoto would love her — but he seems like the “love her enough to let her go” type to me.
Acchan’s nighttime musings hint that she may start thinking seriously about this, too. At least, she considers the fact that, of her friends, she is the only one who has not given love much of a thought. Acchan does not need to force herself into anything — that is definitely the path to disaster in love — but at the same time, should someone light that spark in her, she should go for it. The very ending of this episode throws out more suggestions of Fumi x Acchan, but I still see their relationship as more of a really good friendship than a relationship that will develop into something more romantic. They are just very close to each other.
Not too much to talk about in this episode, because it slows things down a bit before the end. The slice of life is really charming and funny, and I absolutely love the light effects while the girls are walking along the hiking path. I don’t know how difficult something like that is to do in animation; however, it seems as if it is a subtle thing that is surprisingly tricky to pull off and make consistent. It’s just a little thing that stands out to me as being a nice touch.
I’m wondering if Aoi Hana will get a second season, too. I have not read much about it, and those who have already seen the ending would know much better than I would whether there is room for more, but I do know that the manga is ongoing. I guess I will see when I get to the end!