Futaba Yoshioka, a middle school girl, 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 for him. Now, she is in high school, and she sees a boy who looks like Kou. But is Kou the same boy in which she fell in love?
As Ao Haru Ride, Vol. 3 (Chapters 8 to 11) opens, Futaba has learned that her friend, Yuri Makita, has a crush on Kou. Futaba tries to tell herself that she does not have romantic feelings for Kou, so it is perfectly fine if Yuri pursues him. But what will Futaba do when she realizes that she is indeed in love with Kou? Can she admit the truth to Yuri, and how will that affect their friendship?
[This volume includes the bonus story, “Attraction to the Stars.”]
THE LOWDOWN: The Ao Haru Ride manga is a high school shojo romantic drama with something beneath its surface styling. Like Ao Haru Ride creator Io Sakisaka's previous manga, Strobe Edge (also published by VIZ Media), there is more than just melodrama in this new series.
Ao Haru Ride Graphic Novel Volume 3 focuses on two fronts. First, Futaba is clearly in love with Kou, but she is clearly aware that her friend-girl, Yuri, wants to pursue him. Secondly, Yuri also asked Futaba if she were pursuing Kou, and Futaba said she was not. Now, the drama comes full circle, as Futaba has some explaining to do.
Futaba is the star, and she is the one who will have to deal with the potential loss of friendship. I had a blast reading this volume, with Emi Louie-Nishikawa's excellent translation. Plus, creator Io Sakisaka's art is so beautiful that I always need more.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of shojo high school romance will want to read the Shojo Beat series, Ao Haru Ride.