There aren’t many good live-action shoujo movie adaptions, but I’m cautiously optimistic about the upcoming Ao Haru Ride movie.
A first love story based off the manga by Sakisaka Io, Ao Haru Ride (Blue Sky Ride) follows sixteen year old Yoshioka Futaba, played by Honda Tsubasa, a cute girl who acts rough and rowdy in order to deter boys. In middle school, her female classmates ignored her because she attracted boys with her quiet nature, so she changes her image in high school in order to make friends.
The only boy Futaba didn’t actively avoid was Tanaka Kou (Higashide Masahiro), the boy she had a crush on in middle school, but before their relationship could move forward, he transferred schools. She meets him again in high school, but everything about him is different, his voice, his face, even his name, which is now Mabuchi Kou.
I was kind of uncertain about this movie when the promo pictures were released because Honda and Higashide looked kind of awkward, but I’m getting a good feeling from the trailer. What particularly caught me in the trailer was the window scene between Kou and Futaba because boy do I want to cry with Higashide. Where has he been hiding and why haven’t I seen him in anything before now?!
Of course, no high school love story is complete without love rivals. I think they nailed Toma Kikuchi looks-wise by casting Chiba Yudai (Ouran High School Host Club, Suikyu Yankees), the pretty boy in a rock band that falls for Futaba andTakahata Mitsuki (Q10, Vancouver no Asahi) will play Yu Narumi who has a complicated relationship with Kou.
Sakisaka has a talent for writing really cheesy scenes that somehow make your heart race and turn you into a big pile of goo (and her gorgeous artwork doesn’t hurt either), so I am a little worried that the movie won’t be able to recapture that same feeling. Takahiro Miki (Hidamari no Kanojo, Bokura ga Ita) is directing though, so I think Ao Haru Ride is in capable hands.
Ao Haru Ride hit theaters on December 13th.
Picture credits: Crunchyroll, zerochan.net