Ao Haru Ride is a shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka. VIZ Media is publishing this manga in English as a series of graphic novels, also entitled Ao Haru Ride, available in both print and digital editions.
Ao Haru Ride, Vol. 1 (“Unwritten” and Chapters 1 to 3) introduces Futaba Yoshioka, a middle school girl who cannot stand boys. That is the case until she meets Kou Tanaka, and she is immediately smitten with him. Kou moves away before Futuba can really express her feelings. Now, she is in high school, and she sees a boy who looks like Kou. But is he the same boy in which she fell in love?
THE LOWDOWN: Shojo readers will recognize the illustrative style of the Ao Haru Ride manga. Creator Io Sakisaka also produced the manga, Strobe Edge, which VIZ Media also published in English as a series of graphic novels.
Ao Haru Ride Graphic Novel Volume 1 is a little different from Strobe Edge. The main characters, Futuba and Kou, are introduced in a short story, entitled “Unwritten,” which, as a read, is as sweet and as comforting as a cup of warm cocoa.
The main story, which is set in high school and covers three chapters in this volume, is decidedly different. It is a little edgy and is certainly tart, as Sakisaka deals with such themes and topics as friendship, yearning for the way things were, fake friends, and being true to oneself. After really liking “Unwritten,” I found myself initially put off by the present day narrative. It may take awhile for me to truly warm up to this, but I like that the characters are stubborn about being true even if its means being standoffish. I am curious to read future volumes.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of shojo high school romance will want to read the Shojo Beat series, Ao Haru Ride.