I was just about ready to give up on Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) – or at least blogging it. But then came along episode eight, hitting me right in the feels. Nicely done.
After getting so down on Futuba the past two weeks for her selfish thoughts (though I count myself as nearer her than a more perfect shoujo heroine), I was glad to see her thoughts this week turn toward Yuuri. Futuba was reminded of how important Yuuri is to her, through personal flashbacks and by Shuko (who in this episode made two big steps out of her shell by spending time with the girls and by sharing her crush with them). Out of respect for their friendship, Futuba tells Yuuri the truth – a hard admission, as Shuko points out.
Yuuri’s response is surprising to Futuba, and was a relief to me (the series has stressed me out the last few weeks), as she takes it relatively in stride. Though she cries in the privacy of a bathroom, Yuuri confirms to her friends that she’ll remain true to her friendship with Futuba, even as the two both pursue Kou.
Though Yuuri’s words are admirable, I’ve found myself dwelling more upon Futuba’s thoughts and actions. The latter has two real conflicting thoughts going through her head – her own desire for what she wants and a more altruistic hope that she won’t hurt a friend. And though more than once, Futuba mentions that she might lose a friend, I don’t think that line of thinking weight on her as heavily as her want to keep Yuuri from pain, as this episode demonstrates how much she really cares for her friend.
Our hearts are also commonly conflicted between what we want for ourselves and what we wish to see for others. In my life, I frequently see this in how I parent my kiddoes. My laziness often tells me to take it easy and not try so hard, while my love for my kids says to go the extra mile, and to my shame, I sometimes pick slothfulness. And maybe that’s why I really admire Futuba in this episode, as she makes a sacrificial choice of out of love, the kind of which I want to make in my own life more consistently.
Further, the choice to do something is really important to note as well. Futuba loves Yuuri, but she could have chickened out and kept her crush on Kou to herself. But she pushes herself and bravely admits to it, a choice that I think many of us, honestly, may not have made.
Sometimes, the thought does count. But often, it’s action that means more. After all, love isn’t a thought or feeling – it’s more than that, and it’s what Futuba shows her friend in this episode. Love is more than emotions and good feels – it’s something we do.
Though not covered here, the second half of the episode was surprisingly good, too. It took too long for Ao Haru Ride to get back on track.