Can I just say, I’m absolutely loving Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride)?
Though it still contains some doom and gloom, episode three moves us largely past that tone and toward a more hopeful one as a new school year begins. The main cast is now all in the same classroom, with Futuba and Kou joined by Toma, Yuri, and Shuko. And by episode’s end, the characters have all volunteered to become either class or event representatives.
The closing scene in which the five main characters of Blue Spring Ride take their place in leadership, is more than a convenient plot development – it’s thematically important. For at least four of them, it seems (I’m not yet sure about Toma), it represents a moving forward from pasts that burdened them: Futuba from her playing at friends; Yuri from the hate that’s followed her; Shuko from a bitter school year; and Kou from family issues, though his, it seems, will be the most difficult transition.
It’s ironic, then, that Kou has now told Futuba several times that their past is irrelevant, when it seems that he’s the character who is most hanging on to it. While encouraging Futuba, in his own buttheaded way, to make change, he himself can’t rise above whatever issues have haunted him during the past several years. He’s quite the opposite of the former (and current?) object of his affection, who quite easily pursues change by making some brave gestures in leaving her “friends” behind and volunteering to be class president.
The truth of the matter is, the past is both relevant and it isn’t. For Futuba, she sees Kou’s point in starting anew. She thinks the following to herself:
If you lose it, just build it again.
Moving forward is like rebuilding a city following a flood. The damage of the past can be wiped away and a new city can rise.
But just the same, when the devastation is massive or whole, it’s not always easy to rebuild. It’s sometimes near impossible.
While Futuba embraces Kou’s words, her’s is a relatively easy past to overcome. Kou’s is more difficult, and the problem may be that instead of simply forgetting and moving forward, he needs to come to grips with his past before he can do so. For Kou, the past is very relevant. And without knowing how far he’s come, and seeing what the future can offer, Kou won’t be able to “build it again.”
In the Christian life, we’re often told about how we receive a “new heart” upon conversion. For us, our old hearts are, in a sense, rebuilt – a blackened, dark heart is replaced by a new, beating, healthy one. But that only happens when we face our past – accepting the Christian life without accepting where we’ve come from is likely to lead to little change in one’s life, because we can neither understand the light at the end of the tunnel nor face the tunnel from which we’ve come.
Grace is so powerful because it says that no matter who we are, no matter what we’ve done, we can start anew without guilt and without penalty, for the price has been paid for us. That’s the magic of the gospel and the power of it – unending springs of forgiveness for anyone and everyone who accepts.
As the season develops, I’m guessing that Futuba will help Kou see the light – that she will offer him grace (it’s already begun, as seen in the scene in which she comes to understand how much he’s gone through), as will, perhaps, the new group of friends surrounding them. But transformation will only come in the same way it does for us, only if Kou faces his past and understands the depths from where’s coming. And only then, through that kind of understanding, can he (and we) be rebuilt.