Blue Spring Ride
by Rebecca Silverman,
In some ways, this is the episode when everything happens, while at the same time not a whole lot goes on. I tend to think of this as a very shoujo trait – the action is nearly all emotional with very few accompanying physical reactions. Futaba gets most of the realizations this time. Unable to accept what Kou and Yuuri have both told her, that nothing happened between them, she decides to stop fretting and actually ask Kou what's going on, a nearly unprecedented move in the world of romance narratives. This is a particularly wonderful turn of events for us as well – it would have been torturous to continue to make up “what if” scenarios about what took place in that other room, something so clearly momentous that the potato was left lying on the floor afterwards! Futaba certainly indulges in some of this behavior before she decides to head back to Kou's place, over-interpreting every pause and silence. While what is revealed is very important, it's mostly a relief to have it out in the open.
What Futaba learns from her solo visit to Kou and her subsequent discussion with his older brother serves to shed light on Kou's behavior. Suddenly both we as viewers and Futaba can see where his outward coldness is coming from, why he won't take in the cat (although that had better change!), and why he keeps resisting his obvious feelings for Futaba. Given more episodes, this could really be developed in-depth; given the few remaining, I would suspect that it will be somewhat glossed over in favor of developing the romance. In either case, it does make Kou much more three-dimensional as a character, and Yuuri's reaction to both his information and Futaba's apology that she went back to find out about it also makes her a more fully realized player in the (melo)drama.
That's another strong point in this episode's favor – Yuuri and Futaba talk things out. Rather than allowing their mutual crush on Kou push them apart – something that would have been all too easy – they make an effort to remain friends. It isn't easy for either of them, but seeing them refuse to throw away their friendship over a boy is very nice to see. Sadly other things we see this episode are not as great, such as the continuing presence of off-model characters, an awkwardly obvious 3D car, and a fair amount of chibis, which just don't quite work here. Blue Spring Ride's animators need to get back on track, because these past three episodes really have shown a slide in quality. In fact, the animation highlight this time is really the big, viscous anime tears that Futaba sheds a lot; much care was clearly taken in animating each trembling drop. Perhaps it is meant to symbolize our quavering emotions as it looks like Kou may be getting a clue (seven glasses of water!) and that Futaba's persistence and patience may pay off. Or maybe someone just really enjoys animating tears. In either case, things are really starting to come together, and despite its lack of physical action, this episode is full and totally engrossing.
Blue Spring Ride is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Rebecca Silverman teaches, writes ANN's RTO manga review column, and writes fiction when she has the chance.
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