Love is a whimsical and frail thing. It can leave a person wanting and empty or full and happy. 青い花 or Sweet Blue Flowers is all about the struggles of loving someone unconditionally and struggling with feelings in a society that frowns upon same-sex couples; however the struggle of acceptance isn’t a primary struggle but still a present one. Our story focuses on the character Fumi Manjoume and her run in with the sting of a love unfulfilled and that of a short, yet budding high school romance. Along the way she reunites with an old childhood friend Akira Okudaira and remembers the one person she truly fell in love with. The thing about Sweet Blue Flowers is not that it is a step above all other yuri, it is a leap. It takes a bold and more truer direction in showing the day to day happenings of two women in love and the very same struggle and pain we all experience and feel when it comes to trail matter concerning love.
Fumi Manjoume is a character that anyone can relate with. She had a love with her cousin Chizu Hanashiro and was quite intimate with her; only to have her heart broken when Chizu decided to marry. Upon feeling this crushing weight Fumi would bleakly go about her early high school days wounded and lost until running back into Akira Okudaira and her sweet summer love Yasuko Sugimoto. Through Yasuko, Fumi begins to feel happiness once more even if it is a short-lived happiness. Through the course of their short-lived romance Fumi discovers that Yasuko is very much in love with a man to whom she can never be with due to the fact that her two other sisters both feel the same; with one of them even being engaged to the man. It’s this vicious experience through love that we can learn to relate to Fumi. To have a love or a summer fling is just a common happening for most. It’s enjoyable for however long it may last, but in the end it is just as frail as a piece of paper when their attention is not on you.
Art that tells a story and believable characters: One piece that I enjoy about this anime so much is the realistic art style. The backgrounds are placid and simplistic, but still manage to hold a beauty not seen as much with newer titles. This is a 2009 anime so it is surprising to see how well it holds up. As I mentioned in our initial impression of the anime the art is so soft and frail looking that it seems to almost fade away or is at the very least as delicate as the love that is portrayed through the anime. Then again this is what great art is for. It emulates the softness, the frailty of the nature of the anime to provide its audience with a deeper meaning. Any art that can add to the emotional effect or even expand upon it is well worth the added weight or in Sweet Blue Flowers case the added depth to the frailty of the portrayed characters.
The characters themselves are entirely beautiful. Having characters that portray a person who is realistically struggling with love and not showing them half naked or fully nude every other scene is frankly beautiful. Not that I have anything against more traditional yuri it is just a very welcomed change in comparison to what we are more normal used to. It is very nice to watch a yuri romance that is all about the feeling and pursuit of love over the usual fan-service that the community is served; granted it sells better which is why it is more preferred. With that being said the characters themselves while traditionally drawn in a very anime style still manage to carry a sense of realistic proportions to them. This is what I frankly loved about the show. Seeing how realistic these leading ladies where gave me a newfound appreciation for the less than exaggerated styles.
Story that is believable and relative: Granted we briefly talked about this in the opening of our review, but I wanted to dig a little deeper with this. The story is very much a strong point to this anime as it more realistically portrays a lesbian romance. Something that is not often shown via animation, unless it for the sole purpose of pleasing those who wish for fan-service or frankly hentai. Instead we are given a very much slice of life look into the trials and tribulations of coming out and falling in love with a person of the same sex. The scene that stood out the most for me was the scene where Fumi decided to tell her childhood friend Akira that she was dating another woman. Then seeing Akira struggle with how she wanted to go about supporting her friend and not being opposed or sickened by her friends reveal. Frankly I am a sucker for situations like these and seeing someone react naturally and be supportive of someone’s life choices is just amazingly beautiful and profound. It is the small details of this story of love that I enjoy the most. The simple gesture of showing someone support is the biggest help that anyone can ever give or receive.
It is a point to note that the realistic approach to the storytelling has been a widely praised aspect of the anime and the source manga. Having something that is very real and dear can mean a world of support for someone possibly going through a similar situation. The story just isn’t for a woman who is in a similar situation, being a male viewer I found myself very much relating to Fumi. Everything about her personality gave me some sort of entry point into relating to her and actually realizing that what she has gone through has been, in some ways, what I have gone through. Grabbing your audience with this sort of method is the best and quickest route for you to get to succeeding in the in-depth storytelling department. Granted it is a shame that we did not get to see a continuation with the anime due to poor sales of the DVD release of the anime.
Beyond the woes of anime sale issues the story has a lot of impact in the theme department. While on the outside for the average viewer the theme could be about pursuing one’s passion regardless of life’s obstacles or possibly the theme that through love one can grow and learn to better themselves. This anime can mean a multitude of things it all just depends on the person that it watching the anime. If an anime can present to you a life lesson that can be learned from its brief run then you have something special on your hands. For many that watch this they will have comfort in knowing that they can succeed in pursuing their passions, even if it is liking a person of the same sex; which is frankly more openly supported these days.
To watch or not to watch for that is the question: Now this won’t be for most. If you came here expecting a steamy girl on girl story you will need to leave and look elsewhere for that. It is soft, supple and sweet. It does its very best to portray a realistic love and struggle that a person may face in facing a world of difference. If you are fine with this then you will experience an anime that is frankly one of the best slice of life romances I have seen to date. It frankly is giving Toradora a run for its money in my book! The music is another big selling point as it perfectly fits the theme of the anime with its soft and gentle melodies and the opening, 青い花 By Kukikodan is just beautifully perfect for the anime and it fits it just so well! You can purchase this song on both the American iTunes Store or the Japanese Store; granted the Japanese store has both the 2015 version and the original rock based one.
If you have seen this anime or read the manga, please let us know how you felt about it’s realistic portrayal of a summers love down in the comment section below or feel free to let us know on our official Facebook page!
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