Yuri Manga: Aoi Hana, Volume 5

April 22nd, 2010

You know the 5 Stages of Death? Well, Coming Out also has certain stages. 1) First, you have to admit to yourself you are /fillintheblank/. 2) Then you admit it to someone close to you. Just one person, because your sure it’s going to turn them against you. 3) Then you admit it to someone else – sometimes a perfect stranger, because that’s safer than family or friends. 4) The biggest hurdle is vocalizing it to your family. If that stage is not horrible (and for many people it is,) you start becoming more comfortable with the whole thing, until the final stage 5) Acceptance. For that to happen you have to accept yourself. It’s a bonus if the people around you accept you too, but it’s most important that you accept yourself.

In Aoi Hana Volume 5, Fumi has made it past the third stage. And really, she’s not sure how she got there. But it’s okay, because she’s well on her way to accepting herself. And she’s also already incredibly strong, although she doesn’t yet realize it.

It’s once again time for the Drama Club to put on their play and emotions are running very high. Despite themselves, last year’s first-years are turning into rather mature second-years that are admired by the new students. Kyouko stuns people with her performance in Mishima Yukio’s Rokumeikan. (The link is to the collection of plays in which Rokumeikan is included.) Even Akira, who comes down with sudden nerves, finds herself caught up in the moment and shines on stage.

Haruka learns that Fumi, too, is a lover of women, and we follow a flashback when she learned of her sister and Hinako’s relationship. When Fumi meets Haruka’s sister, she is keenly aware – and a little jealous – of their comfort level with each other.

Even Mogi’s clandestine relationship with Akira’s brother is noted.

Everyone is growing up.

I only wish I had “met” Fumi when I was young. I could have used a media representation like her.

With vacation planned and old flames coming back into the story, Volume 6 promises to be full of fireworks – can’t wait!

Ratings:

Art – 8
Characters – 9
Story – 9
Yuri – 5
Service – 1

Overall – 9

Does *anyone* like Chizu? The more we see of her, the less I like her.

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6 Responses

  1. yuuki says:

    It’s funny that you put up this blog and I just finished reading 4. So I’ll be starting the chapters for vol. 5 soon. Things are getting interesting for many of the characters. I find it interesting in many of the GL stories that, the some of girls have an interest dating the most popular girl. But Do they consider it a bad thing if it goes too far. Because the way the girls carried on in vol. 4 they acted like while things in school seem like a phase, keeping the relation going outside is like an alien concept. Being deemed wrong and worthy of conversing about. I’m trying to understand some level of realism to all this.

  2. @yuuki – I think this a fairly realistic story. We can’t know for sure what anyone thinks, unless we’re told, but my guess is that Fumi is coming to terms with the idea that this is her life, not a phase. And we already see that Haruka’s sister and Hinoko have been together for a while, even after school.

  3. The Defenestrator says:

    I wish there was some way to contribute to a fund towards licensing and translating a manga, so that the publishers would be more willing to take a chance on that work.

  4. The Denominator says:

    I can’t say I like Chizu, but my dislike of her actually lessened with her return in volume five.

    Not to say I’m trying to validate her being a complete jerk to Fumi, but at least we’re given snippets of her perspective over that illicit love affair she had with her underage female cousin.

    And it seems Chizu had to deal with her desires versus the expectations of society. I’m not saying she’s a closet lesbian or anything, but I suspect if her family wasn’t “When are you getting a boyfriend?/When you get married, you’ll…” around her, then things may have turned out differently. I think she’s a representation of the woman who never got that chance to be open and honest with herself in regards to what she wanted.

    Or perhaps she just wanted a frivolous relationship, one she could control and keep under wraps, and now she feels guilty for choosing someone like Fumi has her little “experiment”. We don’t really know for sure, but I can’t say I’m upset about it– I find when things are up for interpretation, they tend to be more engaging.

    What is undeniable is her guilt, though. You can really see that whatever it is that is on her mind has been eating away at her for a year and some since she last saw Fumi.

  5. Emma says:

    I love Orie and Hinako; the little women chapter featuring them told a long story in a small space- Orie and Hinako are together as students and break up at graduation, then eventually Hinako realises that she can’t get her high-school girlfriend out of her head and looks her up . . . much radness. I want to read a whole manga about that, lol. Ah, Aoi Hana . . . SO GOOD. And, OMG,could there be an honest to goodness Fumi/Akira resolution? For the longest time I thought not, and it’s still uncertain- but there could be hope!

    *SQUEE*

  6. maggie says:

    Erica, you’re right on the money. I love how this story captures the strength of a young, gentle lesbian coming to terms with her sexuality – without fanservice and without cliches. God, how many times do we actually see THAT happen in this ridiculous world that gave us Strawberry Panic and Candy Boy?

    Sometimes it’s hard NOT to hate Chizu (Sugimoto is on this list for me as well), but at the same time each character is undeniably -human-. They’re not these terribly bad people who are so easy to label as “the bad guys”. Every character in Aoi Hana is almost heart-wrenching in how genuine they are, and you can’t help but try to understand each one of them at least a little.

    I hope the manga/anime continues on for a while. Besides having a wonderfully-written, elegant story, it needs to around long enough for the teenage girls out there who lay awake at night, tossing and turning in their beds and wondering if they’re ever going to live a normal life.

    Wish I had “met” Fumi when I was 16 too. :)

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