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Old 2009-07-16, 16:25   Link #181
Shiroth
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaoru Chujo View Post
Yes. There's one in my blog post about this show. That is one taken for this show. But if you search Google Images on her name in English (Ai Takabe) or Japanese (高部あい), you can find many shots of her from her swimsuit idol work.

There are also a couple of episodes around of Guren Onna, an entertaining late-night supernatural comedy dorama she starred in. There are links to her home page and blog on her Anime News Network page.
Thanks a lot for the images. It's just so i can make her page over at myanimelist.
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Old 2009-07-18, 10:54   Link #182
MeoTwister5
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Just saw episode 3.

One of the things that makes this show refreshing to watch is that it seems to treat the subject matter of lesbian relationships as perfectly natural and acceptable. As of this episode there's really none of the awkward and taboo-ish treatment of the subject matter that tends to make shows like this painful to watch. It flows very freely and openly such that it removes all the emo, rebellious and awkward feelings and baggages that I used to see in its lesser cousins. It all comes down to the root of human emotional relations without dillydallying on the social conventions and taboos you'd expect in shows like this.

This was precisely the problem of its predecessors: those shows got so overwhelmed with the social and ethical issues of homosexual relationships that it completely bogged down the romantic core of the story. Instead of seeing how emotions and feelings grow between two anatomically similar people, we get served up with incessant social commentary and emofesting that you'd wonder if it was primer on the gay movement.

None of that here thank god. Rather than having individuals struggling to cope with social norms and acceptable behavior, the shows strips down all of that as if they never existed in the first place, which gives the characters the space and the chance they need to build up on their growing emotional attachments without getting bogged down by society's demands.

Heck I wasn't even taken aback by their Fumi's... offscreen kiss. Heck I smiled wide for a reason I have yet to understand.

Three S's: Sweet, slow and simple. A lot of romance shows get chopped up with random pacing speeds, but here for three episodes it's been chugging along at the same rate it has when it started. It's not trying to be pretentious or overbearing with its presentation, relying rather on the strength of its story and premise to do the work.

This show just got bumped up from my "To Watch" list to my "One of the reasons I even bother waking up on weekends" list beside Umineko and Spice and Wolf.

Edit - And how tall is Fumi exactly? Whenever I see her I end up thinking she's around... maybe 5'4" to 5'5"? That's freakishly tall for a girl, and I'm a guy standing barely at 5'7", but I do have a thing for tall girls so...

Last edited by MeoTwister5; 2009-07-18 at 11:10.
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Old 2009-07-18, 11:16   Link #183
musouka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
None of that here thank god. Rather than having individuals struggling to cope with social norms and acceptable behavior, the shows strips down all of that as if they never existed in the first place, which gives the characters the space and the chance they need to build up on their growing emotional attachments without getting bogged down by society's demands.
No. If you actually think that, you've missed a gigantic part of Fumi's characterization. Aoi Hana, more than any other yuri show I've seen does deal with society's pressure to keep hidden. Witness how Fumi didn't tell Akira why she's been so miserable. Witness why Fumi's lament includes "we're both girls" in regards to her cousin.

In fact, it's the total reverse of what you're talking about. I can't think of another mainstream yuri show that deals with this sort of thing. They all take place in bubbles where the homosexuality taboo doesn't exist, because men don't "exist". Where women can play open, elaborate romance games in plain sight in school without anyone batting an eye. I'm not sure what yuri shows you've been watching, but almost all of them gloss over the idea of society's disapproval more than Aoi Hana does.
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Old 2009-07-18, 12:11   Link #184
Kaoru Chujo
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I think I agree with both MeoTwister5 and musouka. Is that possible? There are indeed places where the social unacceptability, or at least oddness, of yuri relationships is alluded to, but many others where it seems not to exist at all, and people just go for it in the most natural way. Maybe Ai-chan will gradually migrate from the first attitude to the second. Not sure.

So far, it seems to me that guys have about the same role here as in Marimite: important outsiders, some of whom have direct and often good relationships with one or other girl. The girls are the centre of the story, but the guys are not invisible at all.
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Old 2009-07-18, 14:14   Link #185
Bath-Teth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaoru Chujo View Post
I think I agree with both MeoTwister5 and musouka. Is that possible? There are indeed places where the social unacceptability, or at least oddness, of yuri relationships is alluded to, but many others where it seems not to exist at all, and people just go for it in the most natural way. Maybe Ai-chan will gradually migrate from the first attitude to the second. Not sure.

So far, it seems to me that guys have about the same role here as in Marimite: important outsiders, some of whom have direct and often good relationships with one or other girl. The girls are the centre of the story, but the guys are not invisible at all.
Good comparison. This show is similar to Maritime, yet its setting is more realistic and less secluded than the Maritime All Girls School.
Additionally, Aoi Hana makes a bigger distinction between girl crushes and "hero/rolemodel worshipping" on the one hand (which make 90% of Maritime's "couples") and actual lesbian relationships.
I would say Aoi Hana is a more mature and realistic version of Maritime, yet it still has that tranquil air about it like Maritime.

Any Yuri-ish anime without any males in it (e.g. SP) or only as a comedy relief (Saki) is plain male fanservice, anyway. I'm glad Aoi Hana is not one of them. On the contrary, the males in this show are essential to the plot.
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Old 2009-07-18, 14:24   Link #186
Bath-Teth
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Oh and can I say that Fumi's cousin is a real bitch!!

First, seducing her little cousin and playing with her emotions (which are all over the place for a 13-15 year old girl anyway) and then, when her bi-curiosity is satisfied, going on and getting engaged to someone else (a man no less) without even telling her cousin beforehand (probably 2-timing her along the way).

Not only has Fumi to cope with realizing she's a lesbian, she was actually just used in her first intimate realtionship.
Fumi's right: That's just cruel!
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Old 2009-07-18, 16:33   Link #187
Shiroth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaoru Chujo View Post
So far, it seems to me that guys have about the same role here as in Marimite: important outsiders, some of whom have direct and often good relationships with one or other girl. The girls are the centre of the story, but the guys are not invisible at all.
For now yes. I just don't want you keeping the thought in your mind that males in this story are just the outsiders, and having second thoughts about the story if that changes at a later stage. I'm not going to spoil you about it, just warning you.
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Old 2009-07-18, 16:49   Link #188
BBOvenGuy
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Originally Posted by musouka View Post
I can't think of another mainstream yuri show that deals with this sort of thing. They all take place in bubbles where the homosexuality taboo doesn't exist, because men don't "exist". Where women can play open, elaborate romance games in plain sight in school without anyone batting an eye. I'm not sure what yuri shows you've been watching, but almost all of them gloss over the idea of society's disapproval more than Aoi Hana does.
Prior to this show, the one where I saw the societal-disapproval topic brought up most was Kannadzuki no Miko, which did a really good job even with all the silly robot-fighting that was thrown in.

Contrast that with Strawberry Panic, for example, which was just ridiculous.
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Old 2009-07-18, 19:43   Link #189
MeoTwister5
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Well if the social issues regarding homosexuality exists in this story then it doesn't seem to rear its ugly head too much.

To me it isn't really an issue whether the society at large had issues regarding such relationships, rather if these issues end up overriding the main story of lesbian love to the point that it no longer feels like a romance show. There's nothing wrong with having the cast tackle these personal and social problems, but not to the extent that it becomes the focal point of the show and the romance takes a back seat to it.

That was precisely my point in that post: that even if there are social aspects on the attitude towards homosexual romance, the show isn't forgetting it's first and foremost a romance show, and that's exactly what we're getting.
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Old 2009-07-18, 21:23   Link #190
Sorrow-K
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I think the difference between this show's approach to societal disapproval of homosexuality and what goes on in other shows, is that this series is much more subtle about it. It only happens rarely, but whenever you get these moments (which, ironically, are usually introspective) of disapproval of a homosexual relationship, it's usually hammed up to maximize the drama. What we're seeing with Fumi is basically someone too scared to come out of the closet, which, let's face it, is a pretty common dilemma for homosexuals, but they've kept it as an undercurrent and handled it with subtlety, so it comes off as a very natural part of her character and her emotions. So, instead we get a focus on a whole heap of emotions developing because of each of the characters' relationships and romantic interests... which, ultimately, is what we all want to see. The societal commentary is secondary (yet still important).

This idea that yuri anime conveniently confine themselves within an all-female bubble... in all honesty, I've only really encountered this in Strawberry Panic. I guess we can look at Marimite, but I'm still not prepared to say that any more than a handful of the relationships in Marimite are actually romantic. So I'm not sure it's a good case study... it's an easy one, since it's so convenient to just go "oh, let's look to Marimite as the exemplar shoujo-ai story, since it's so damn good", but this lack of explicit romance, like we're seeing so far in Aoi Hana, kinda makes it an awkward comparison. Marimite kinda skirts delicately around the edges of romance in shoujo-ai, while Aoi Hana goes right for the meat and bones.

I will agree that there's a difference in the level of realism between the two shows. Marimite has sympathetic (and occasionally realistic) characters in a fanciful setting. Once you accept that almost everyone is a lesbian, Aoi Hana is pretty realistic throughout.

Ep 3

Needless to say, this show is still awesome. I love how they draw the characters' hair in a messy way. It shows the animators are going to some effort, but I think it's also a bit of a reflection of the characters' state-of-mind, particularly Fumi.
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Old 2009-07-18, 21:56   Link #191
musouka
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Once you accept that almost everyone is a lesbian, Aoi Hana is pretty realistic throughout.
I'm not sure why everyone is assuming everyone is a lesbian in Aoi Hana.

I actually like Kou/Akira.
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Old 2009-07-18, 23:00   Link #192
Sorrow-K
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I'm not sure why everyone is assuming everyone is a lesbian in Aoi Hana.
Genre convention. Out of the main four characters, it's only really Akira who hasn't been "confirmed". Interestingly, now that I think about it, there hasn't been much evidence regarding her sexual orientation. I guess it's just easier to assume this is the case because she's an important character in a shoujo-ai anime.
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Old 2009-07-18, 23:10   Link #193
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Maybe everyone isn't a lesbian but I certainly think it's accurate to say that an unrealistically high proportion of characters seem to have attraction/feelings for those of the same gender, compared to what one would expect in real life.
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Old 2009-07-19, 03:30   Link #194
Shiroth
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Maybe everyone isn't a lesbian but I certainly think it's accurate to say that an unrealistically high proportion of characters seem to have attraction/feelings for those of the same gender, compared to what one would expect in real life.
Well that's just plain obvious.

But yeah the whole cast female cast aren't lesbians. It's quite funny how people jump to that conclusion straight away, but i don't blame them for doing so.
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Old 2009-07-19, 05:29   Link #195
Bath-Teth
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Well that's just plain obvious.

But yeah the whole cast female cast aren't lesbians. It's quite funny how people jump to that conclusion straight away, but i don't blame them for doing so.
My breakdown for the main characters "lesbianism" after EP 3:

Kyokou:

Has a serious crush on Sugimoto and got rejected. Doesn't care for her fiance.
Conclusion: Might be a lesbian.

Sugimoto:

The cool and athletic sempai, who goes for cute and insecure kouhai's (Fumi). I guess Kyouko isn't cute and insecure enough for her or she's not interested in an equal and serious partnership with another girl (probably the player-type).

Conclusion:
I'm not convinced of her being a lesbian (or having a real physical attraction towards girls. The kiss proves nothing, imo.)

Akira:

The Op is quite misleading.
Nothing so far indicates that she is interested in other girls beyond friendship.

Conclusion: straight (for the time being).

Personally, I think only Fumi is confirmed to be an outright lesbian in Aoi Hana. She's the only girl we know of, who was already in an intimate/sexual relationship with another girl. Which means she has an actual physical attraction to other girls and is beyond those love letter writing "hero/sempai-worshipping" girl crushes which are so common in all-girl schools (at least in the anime world).

It's a yuri-anime, so by definition alone at least 2 girls have to be lesbians. So far, even that isn't confirmed in Aoi Hana. The "lesbianism" of the main characters so far are quite superficial (except for Fumi).

I don't see what the "Why are all girls lesbians?"-comment is based on.
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Old 2009-07-19, 05:31   Link #196
Shiroth
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I don't see what the "Why are all girls lesbians?"-comment is based on.
Now you see where we manga readers are coming from.

Your breakdown is pretty much spot on. Nice.
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Old 2009-07-19, 05:45   Link #197
Bath-Teth
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Now you see where we manga readers are coming from.

Your breakdown is pretty much spot on. Nice.
Thanks.
I guess I'm a bit biased against Sugimoto, because I feel she's using the emotional turmoil of a dumped and hurt Fumi (even though she doesn't know that).
She might be nice and sincere indeed, but somehow I can't get myself to like her, yet. (Doesn't help that she made Kyouko cry. )

I'm quite tempted to read the manga, but I think I'll wait till the anime is finshed. If the anime has only 11 EPs, I don't think they'll cover the whole manga, right?

The hard part is to wait at least 2 month, when you have the opportunity to read it all.
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Old 2009-07-19, 05:50   Link #198
Shiroth
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I'm quite tempted to read the manga, but I think I'll wait till the anime is finshed. If the anime has only 11 EPs, I don't think they'll cover the whole manga, right?
Upto four volumes have been translated, and at the pace of the manga i believe they'll get to around the end of the second volume. Around that point in the story would work if they wanted to end it for now, and continue at a later date.

Personally i'd say just stick with the anime, because so far it's being a very good adaptation of the manga. You can just read the manga once the anime finishes, though if you do please read it from the beginning.
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Old 2009-07-19, 05:56   Link #199
Bath-Teth
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Upto four volumes have been translated, and at the pace of the manga i believe they'll get to around the end of the second volume. Around that point in the story would work if they wanted to end it for now, and continue at a later date.

Personally i'd say just stick with the anime, because so far it's being a very good adaptation of the manga. You can just read the manga once the anime finishes, though if you do please read it from the beginning.
Will do. So they'll cover only half of the manga (at most). Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 2009-07-19, 14:07   Link #200
motormind
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Dang, does Fumi just fall for people who first with her? Or is it people just fall for others so easily without really knowing them. This series makes it out like EVERY girl is up and open to being a lesbian. Dang straight up asking her out without even knowing..... or knowing for sure that is. The end made me a little bit sad for Ai-chan, since I'm kind of rocking the FumiXAi-chan boat.
Well, Fumi is still mourning about being jilted by Chizu and she falls for that tall girl because she looks a bit like her previous lover.

Spoiler:


If you combine this with Fumi's tendency to fall in love rather quickly you have your answer.

Spoiler:


From personal experience I can tell that a lot of women aren't quite as heterosexual as they seem, so it's not so surprising stuff like that happens if you put a lot of girls together without too many males around--especially when you place one or two genuinely bisexual/lesbian girls in their midst. It doesn't mean though that the feelings aren't genuine. I have seen some heartbreaking things happen between girls in similar situations. Hmmm... maybe I should make some yuri manga myself. Too bad I can't draw straight to save my life (no pun intended).

Still, it's not true that the romances in the series are depicted as easy and without problems.

Spoiler:


I enjoy the show so far. The OP is so sweet. The imagery of the two girls dancing is truly wonderful, especially when they change into little kids. The smile on Fumi's face when she opens her eyes is so heartwarming. This is the best OP I have every seen for any series, anime or otherwise.

I also have a bit of a crush on Akira--she may sprinkle flowers over my face anytime!

Last edited by motormind; 2009-07-19 at 15:45.
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