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 she loved in middle school?
As Ao Haru Ride, Vol. 5 (Chapters 16 to 19) opens, Futaba and Kou make plans for a visit to a summer festival. Then, something comes up and Kou cannot attend. Next, he starts to miss class and becomes secretive. Futaba starts to wonder if she has done something to affect this change. Meanwhile, Toma Kikuchi, a boy from another class, makes his move to gain Futaba's attention.
THE LOWDOWN: The Ao Haru Ride manga might be a typical high school shojo romantic drama about lovelorn kids. However, there is a little extra beneath the stylish art of this series from creator Io Sakisaka (Strobe Edge; also published by VIZ Media).
Ao Haru Ride Graphic Novel Volume 5 holds its best for last. The rest of the volume seems a little off. Toma Kikuchi is not an interesting character, and just seems like a place card holder – a temporary obstacle. The art by creator Io Sakisaka is good, but Vol. 6 is not a top volume.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of shojo high school romance will want to read the Shojo Beat series, Ao Haru Ride.