Yuri Manga: Aoi Hana (青い花), Volume 6

August 25th, 2011

In Volume 5 of Aoi Hana (青い花), I commented that Fumi had made it past the third stage of coming out, saying something to a complete stranger. In Volume 6, she makes it to 3.5, telling close friends.

During summer vacation, the girls all head to a hot spring, accompanied by freshman Haru and, more notably, the teacher that Haru says is her sister’s lover. Fumi overstays her time in the outside onsen because she’s embarrassed and subsequently passes out. When she wakes in her room, the teacher comes in to see if she’s okay, and Fumi ends up asking her a question about liking another woman. This is not unconnected, as Fumi’s embarrassment is, in part, at catching herself looking at Akira’s naked body in the bath.

Later that night, Fumi also inadvertently says out loud that she’s in love with A-chan, and Akira says, also out loud, that she knows. There is a tension now between Fumi and Akira; but whether it’s anticipatory or not, they aren’t quite sure and neither are we.

Once home, Akira visits Fumi and asks if maybe they should just try dating and see how that works out. Body and mind exploding with fear/joy/freaking right out, Fumi has completely lost whatever cool she usually has. But, at some point, Fumi pulls herself together and, when they are out on their first date, she kisses Akira with no second thoughts.

Fumi is speaking with her friends, Pon-chan and Mugi, when Pon-chan asks if Fumi is “that way,” (and Mugi flips out at Pon-chan because you don’t *ask* that kind of thing!) we see that Fumi has once again adapted to her new, stronger self and replies quite calmly and honestly that yes, she is “that way,” then lets her friends work it out for themselves. Which they do, very quickly, because after all Fumi is their friend and they love her. (In a nutshell, the number one reason for coming out, IMHO.)

But, wait, there’s more! Fumi’s parents leave on a romantic trip over Christmas, leaving Fumi and Akira to stay home. They buy cake, crack open the bottle of champagne Fumi’s Dad had received and Fumi proceeds to get just tipsy enough to say things she wants to say to A-chan. And so she does. About how she wants to have physical intimacy with her friend. Knowing that the excuse of the alcohol is the best lead-in she’s ever going to get, Fumi drags Akira about three steps forward in the relationship, the same ways she has since the very beginning – by being honest.

Fumi ends by saying that it’s really probable that A-chan’s “like” and her “like” are different, but she really likes A-chan…who responds by embracing her.

And I smiled. I smiled through just about every single page of this book. My god what I would have given for Fumi to have existed when I was 15.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri – 10
Service – 1

Overall – 10

If this book is ever translated into English, I will endeavor to make this story the light at the end of the tunnel for every gay teen in America. There are a lot of young women out there who need Fumi in their life.

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9 Responses

  1. EndlessD says:

    This is one of the manga I really want to be licensed. Hopefully Wandering Son will sell well and Fantagraphic Comics will pick Aoi Hana up.

  2. Cryssoberyl says:

    Someday, perhaps…

  3. Dop says:

    I just want to second EndlessD’s comment here, on both counts. I loved the Aoi Hana anime series so I’d like to read the manga properly!

  4. the_patches says:

    Ahh… This sounds SO much more lovely than the anime. I will need to keep my eye out for it.

  5. the_patches says:

    Ah… See the actual DEVELOPMENT here makes this work sound so much more interesting than the truncated anime. But that’s just me.

  6. @the_patches – The anime only covered the first volume, so of course the characters development had only begun by the end of the end of the anime.

  7. Felix says:

    Chock another one up to “if I had the money/knowledge to start a company to license manga.”

    I wonder what would be the most effective way to convince Fantagraphic or another company to license this in English? Actually what do companies usually look for per fan involvement when looking for something to license?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I was wondering if you had any insight into the intentions here. Fumi’s cousin got married, the ‘confused’ jerk-girl Fumi told off(I cheered when she did that) were good for the storyline but I see now that the little blonde girl is with that boy and even had sex with him. Ah-chan of course doesn’t know what she is but just that she loves Fumi. The thing is, when I examine Fumi I see not a typical Yuri character at all but a carefully constructed lesbian girl. If at the end of this series, Fumi as a character is not a lesbian, then there is no such thing in the universe. I pray with all my might that they do not screw this up or cop-out like the loser who left Sasamekikoto with a completely unnecessary ending made of concentrated fail. If you ever have any clarifying words or inside tidbits please relieve the stress.

  9. @Anonymous- It is impossible for me to know what Shimura intends as an ending, but mixing a series created as a comedy and one that is a drama up together simply because they are contemporary is sillyness.

    To relieve your stress, stop worrying. Aoi Hana is one thing, Sasamikoto is an entirely different thing. Let this story play out and see where it goes and accept it for what it does. Have no expectations.

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