Ao Haru Ride

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Ao Haru Ride, (also known as Aoharaido by short), is an ongoing shoujo manga by Io Sakisaka since 2011, following the success of her previous work Strobe Edge. It is currently serialized in the magazine Bessatsu Margaret and compiled in four volumes.

The story follows Futaba Yoshioka, previously a quiet and gentle girl who has changed her image to become approachable and confident, after her insecurity accidentally drove away her First Love Kou Tanaka and her popularity with the boys caused her friends to leave her. Despite her newfound persona, she is anything but happy, and she only realizes this when Kou re-enters her life, now under the name Kou Mabuchi. In the two years they haven't seen each other, Futaba is shocked to realize that Kou has changed so much. Despite what they felt for each other in the past, Kou informs her that they can no longer be what they used to be. However, Futaba's love for him reawakens and she is determined to unlock his past and heal his heart.

Tropes used in Ao Haru Ride include:
  • A Day in the Limelight: Shuuko gets her own side story in volume 3, an Origins Issue that describes her life in middle school and first meeting with Tanaka-sensei.
  • Accidental Pervert: Futaba and Touma's official first encounter results in Futaba accidentally copping a feel on him.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Futaba, Yuuri, and Shuuko have all been ostracized by their female classmates at one point.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Kou and Futaba's relationship fluctuates between this and Unresolved Sexual Tension. Half of the time, Futaba and Kou argue, mostly because Kou is exasperated by Futaba's actions and Futaba is annoyed by Kou's snarky behavior.
  • Betty and Veronica: Touma is the Betty and Kou is the Veronica to Futaba's Archie. At the same time, Kominato is the Betty and Tanaka-sensei is the Veronica to Shuuko's Archie.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Tanaka-sensei tries to take care of Kou, but it's too bad Kou keeps rebuffing his advances.
  • Big Heroic Run: Kou clearly remembers Futaba running to save him during their cops and robbers game in middle school. It's been such a fond memory for him that he thinks of this whenever he feels she is rescuing him.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Kou is capable of being The Ace at school, yet lacks the drive to do so after his mother died.
  • Broken Bird: Poor, poor Kou.
  • Brother Walks In At the Worst Time: When Kou comforts Futaba intimately, there's a progression of what looks like an Almost Kiss... until Tanaka-sensei suddenly walks in, clueless. Oops.
  • Brutal Honesty: Both Kou and Shuuko don't hold back when it comes to expressing their opinions. In fact, it was because of this Shuuko was ostracized by her so-called "friends."
  • But Not Too Foreign: Kominato's character profile in vol. 3 states that he is a quarter French.
  • Caught in the Rain: In a bittersweet moment, this is how Kou and Futaba come to bond with each other in middle school, and that very memory is how Futaba is able to identify Kou after the Time Skip.
  • Class Representative: The Five-Man Band become class representatives, though the most they have come to fulfilling the actual stereotypes of the trope itself was urging Kou to keep up his grades.
  • Covert Pervert: Futaba tends to unconsciously sniff Kou's neck. Kominato also has some porno mags and he's willing to show you if you're his friend as long as you don't tell Shuuko, shhh!
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Kou's change in behavior mostly stem from Parental Abandonment due to his parents' divorce and his mother's subsequent death.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Leave it to Kou to ruin your attempts at impressing girls, Kominato... not even, Futaba! On the other side of the spectrum, Shuuko snarks at Tanaka-sensei in her side story before falling in love with him.
  • Debut Queue: The prologue of the manga detailed Futaba and Kou's lives in junior high.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Shuuko has learned to tolerate Futaba and Yuuri just fine.
    • She even initiates a hug with Yuuri!
  • Do Not Call Me Tanaka: It's Mabuchi, now, all right?
  • Five-Man Band: As all members are Class Representatives, this is how they develop their circle of True Companions.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Kou lately becomes annoyed whenever he sees Touma and Futaba together, although he has yet to form a Green-Eyed Epiphany about what is causing his bad mood.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Futaba and Yuuri are close friends, even after falling in love with the same guy!
  • Horrible Camping Trip: The Five-Man Band is required to go to a training camp to prepare for managing class activities, and things don't start out very well.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Futaba's image change in high school revolves around her desire to have True Companions after being abandoned by her friends in middle school.
  • Improvised Umbrella: When Kou and Futaba take shelter at a shrine in the rain, Kou lets Futaba use his gym uniform as an umbrella.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kou berates Futaba, but he's the one looking out for her most of the time.
  • Kawaiiko: Poor Yuuri is just a natural Kawaiiko that Futaba's former friends, Asumi and Chie, accuse her of being The Fake Cutie just to attract guys.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Kou and Tanaka-sensei were separated from each other when their parents divorced, which led their relationship to be slightly strained. Tanaka-sensei still has a Big Brother Instinct towards Kou, but Kou doesn't like confiding in him.
  • Love Triangle: Of note, there's Futaba/Kou/Yuuri and Kominato/Shuuko/Tanaka-sensei. Looks like we'll be seeing Touma/Futaba/Kou after Futaba/Kou/Yuuri was resolved.
  • Luminescent Blush: Touma blushes easily, and when he does, he gets super red.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: While Futaba, Yuuri, and Shuuko are confused about how boys think, Kou himself states that he doesn't understand women either.
  • Missing Mom: Kou's mother is dead.
  • New Transfer Student: Kou's classmate from Nagasaki's going to turn out like this soon.
  • Nice Guy: Touma is respectful of others to the point that his friends accuse him of being a goody-goody. This doubles as a Fan Nickname, where fans have taken up referring him as "GG" before his name was officially revealed.
  • Not What It Looks Like: When Futaba and Touma confront each other about Futaba's Accidental Pervert incident, Kou assumes that Touma's been doing something far worse to Futaba, causing Futaba to invoke this trope.
  • Parental Abandonment: Slightly subverted in the fact that Kou spends more time on his studies than with his mother (which is made worse when she dies) coupled with his parents' divorce, this is cited as one of the reasons for Kou's drastic shift into becoming a Broken Bird.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Futaba is usually depicted in pink clothing and backgrounds while her hair colors lean on the warm side. Kou, on the other hand, is often colored using cooler shades. Played straight in the fact that they're respectively the Red Oni, Blue Oni of each other.
  • Power Trio: Futaba, Shuuko, and Yuuri spend a lot of time together.
  • Pun-Based Title: Word of God explains the meaning behind the Japanese print title, Ao Haru Ride: the characters for "ao" (blue) and "haru" (spring) make the word "seishun" (youth) when put together.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Futaba (and Kominato) is the Red to Kou's Blue.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Kou denies to his casual hang-out buddies that Futaba is his girlfriend. Futaba also has to pull a He Is Not My Boyfriend when describing her relationship with Kou to Yuuri and later Touma.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Tanaka-sensei is a Nice Guy, hard-working, and pretty much goofy. Kou is the opposite, as he's a Brilliant but Lazy Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Sour Supporter: Whenever the Five-Man Band make their plans, Grumpy Bear Kou is often the least reluctant to join.
  • Stepford Smiler: Kou acts more relaxed around his male peers, while he makes no effort to put up such a front around his friends and his family.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: This pretty much explains Shuuko the Kuudere.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Kou, hands down.
  • Teacher-Student Romance: Shuuko has a crush on Tanaka-sensei, who probably should be at least six to eight years older than her.
  • That Sounds Familiar: Futaba immediately thinks of Kou when she first sees Tanaka-sensei.
  • The Cynic: While Futaba is a Wide-Eyed Idealist about reinventing her image, Kou is far more pessimistic about what he can change about himself.
  • The Stoic: Shuuko hardly ever shows emotion. Likewise, Kou is also an indicator of this, even when he's annoyed, which is why Futaba has trouble as to understanding what he is really thinking.
  • Those Two Girls: Futaba's former friends, Asumi and Chie.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Futaba is the Tomboy to Yuuri's Girly Girl.
  • Troubled but Cute: Kou, hands down.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Kou is nothing like how Futaba remembered him in middle school.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Although they don't get along at first, Kominato and Kou befriend each other during the Class Representatives training camp, though Kou still has trouble thinking of Kominato as a friend.
  • Watching the Sunrise: To celebrate being True Companions during the training camp, the Five-Man Band watch the sunrise.
  • When He Smiles: Futaba finds traces of Kou's True Self only when he smiles. After the summer of their second year in high school, she starts noticing he might be a Stepford Smiler.
    • She also seems to be able to differentiate his smiles over time, and correctly deduces something happens to Kou when she felt his smile change.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: After Kou re-enters Futaba's life, she becomes more encouraged to change herself in a way that makes her happy.