Blue Spring Ride
by Rebecca Silverman,
And so we bid a fond farewell to Blue Spring Ride...more or less. While the content of this final episode is heartwarming in more than just the typical romantic shoujo fashion, it also leaves pretty much everything unresolved, leading me to wonder if perhaps I have been too generous with my grade. The one plot thread that is fully wrapped up, however, is a central one – Kou's closed heart. The real work of the matter was done last episode, but this time we get to see the result: Kou smiles more in episode twelve than at any other point in the entire series. It's really quite wonderful to see, and Futaba seems blissfully unaware of just how much of an influence she has been. The pivotal moment is really at home, when we get to meet Kou's father for what feels like the first time. Tanaka-sensei is cooking dinner, Kou is setting the table, and Mr. Tanaka walks in. He stops in astonishment (well, understated astonishment) and we suddenly realize how withdrawn Kou has been not just at school, but at home as well. It doesn't feel like a stretch to say that his guilt over not taking better care of his mother translated into a strained relationship with his father, the man who left her in the first place. Now that Futaba has freed him of his guilt, he can have a relationship with his father and brother again. This, in turn, saves Tanaka-sensei from his own sense of culpability concerning Kou, and we get the feeling that there is real hope for this family.
And that's about all the resolution that we get. Kou's relationship with Futaba has tentatively progressed, but he still appears unwilling or unable to do anything, Yuuri still thinks she's in the running for Kou's heart, although to be fair, how would she know otherwise, and Shuuko and Tanaka-sensei have taken a tentative step. More annoying, however, is that the boy Futaba accidentally groped got no development, we don't get a single word about the girl glimpsed in Kou's flashback last week, and there's just an overall sense of, “Want more? Read the manga!” Were it available legally in English, that would be another story – still irritating, but we'd have the means to continue the story. As it stands, there is a legal French release, so if you read that language, you have the option. Regardless, the inconclusive ending is a major issue in an otherwise pleasant series, even if artistic standards have returned after some slumps in earlier episodes and we can guess where things are going to go. But who wants to guess when we could just know? Come on, Production I.G – let's see a second season and make this a much happier ending.
Blue Spring Ride is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Rebecca Silverman writes ANN's manga review column Right Turn Only!! and teaches writing and literature.
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