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Manga / Sweet Blue Flowers

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Sweet Blue Flowers (or Aoi Hana) is a Manga by Takako Shimura (the creator of Wandering Son) about girls in love with other girls. The manga ran in Manga Erotics F from 2004 to 2013. An anime adaptation debuted July 2009. The anime was licensed by Lucky Penny Entertainment in July 2012 and released in the US as a complete series DVD set on February 2013.

Sweet Blue Flowers eschews both silliness and overt melodrama and instead settles on Slice of Life. The story initially focuses on four high school girls:

  • Manjoume Fumi — A Shrinking Violet and crybaby in her first year of high school. She was a childhood friend of Akira, with whom she had been very close when they were younger.
  • Okudaira Akira — A fairly level-headed first-year student to the prestigious Fujigaya Girls' High School. A childhood friend of Fumi.
  • Sugimoto Yasuko — Captain of the basketball team at Fumi's school. She's a fairly masculine tomboy and The Casanova.
  • Ikumi Kyouko — Another first-year student at Fujigaya. She has a strong unrequited love for Yasuko, despite having her own fiancé (although in name only).

The plot begins with Fumi and Akira meeting each other after many years apart, and going to their first day of high school together.

Sweet Blue Flowers contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Some extraneous details were cut for the anime adaptation.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: The head of Fujigaya's Newspaper Club. She confesses her feelings to Hinako and asks her about her love life, but upon finding out Hinako has a lover, she immediately starts spreading rumours about it to the other students, causing people to gossip about Hinako in a cruel way. She also, though the newspaper club, spread rumours about the lesbian love lives of her fellow students. There's a panel of her telling a student about this rumour while looking sad at the inevitable homophobic response.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Sure, Akira and Fumi are extremely close friends, but they have not become the lovey-dovey couple depicted in the opening as of the end of the anime series.
  • Bait-and-Switch Lesbians:
    • It becomes clear that for most of the girls in the series having feelings for another girl is merely a phase in life.
    • Averted with Hinako-sensei and Orie, who met as teenagers and then entered into a live-in relationship as adults.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy:
    • In the anime's opening credits.
    • Averted in a later manga scene with Akira where she undresses to prepare for a bath and contemplates her relationship with Fumi after the two had sex.
  • Bathing Beauty: Fumi is this to the audience and, in-universe, to Akira.
  • Beta Couple: Orie and Hinako. Fumi comes to look to them as an example of what she herself wants in a relationship.
  • Better as Friends: This is Akira's motivation to break up with Fumi.
  • Bifauxnen: Yasuko in many of her outfits.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Akira's brother Shinobu. Even more pronounced in the manga than in the anime.
  • Big Fancy House: The Sugimoto household as well as the Ikumi household.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Akira breaks up with Fumi. In the last chapter, they reconcile.
  • Butch Lesbian: Yasuko, who even wears a suit to her sister's wedding. Played with in that she's actually bisexual and dislikes the "prince" role that was actually forced on her by everyone's expectations. She grows out her hair and takes on a more feminine appearance after being Put on a Bus.
  • The Casanova:
    • Yasuko. Truthfully, she is not seen with anybody else, boy or girl, aside from Fumi, but she is extremely flirtatious.
    • Yasuko's sister Shinako actually fits this more, as she seemingly has dated a great number of men and women already. At one time she even brags about how many girlfriends she has.
  • Character Development: Could be said to be the whole plot of the story. Also a Coming of Age Story for many cast members.
  • Childish Pillow Fight: Akira and Fumi love to show their friendship by pummeling each other with pillows from time to time.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Along with being her childhood friend, Akira is also Fumi's first love.
  • Christmas Episode: Well, half an episode, but still...
  • Comic Trio:
    • Easily Mogi, Pon-chan and Yassan. They provide the series with some of its best comedy. The poor Matsuoka drama club is made up of a bunch of clowns.
    • Members of the Sugimoto family can be seen as such, teasing Yasuko about her fickleness. Though interestingly, this trio is not made up of the three elder sisters, but of Kuri, Shinako and their mom.
  • Compartment Shot: Used in a flashblack in Episode 1, where Kindergartner Akira looks inside her desk for her crayons.
  • Cool Big Sis:
    • Sugimoto Shinako. Despite her seeming nonchalance towards people, she seems to know a lot more about human nature than her younger sisters. She drops words of wisdom every now and then. Plus, she just likes to have fun.
    • Orie. More so in later chapters when she agrees to supervise Haruka and her friends during their trip to the onsen.
  • Cut Short: The second season of the show has been axed due to disappointing DVD sales.
  • Demoted to Extra: Kyouko, after she gets back together with Kou.
  • Elevator School: Fujigaya
  • 11-Episode Anime
  • Erotic Dream: In one of the final chapters of the manga, Fumi has a dream where she gets down on her knees and begins licking Akira's inner thigh. It's implied that this leads to oral sex, but the audience isn't shown what happens.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Yasuko. Her fangirls are shown meeting up to trade photos of her during the Wuthering Heights story arc.
  • Expressive Hair: Akira, sometimes.
  • Extreme Doormat: Fumi. She gets better.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Shinako.
  • Fanservice: Generally mild, although Shimura seems to have a thing for drawing girls bathing in the nude.
  • First Kiss: Akira gets hers from Fumi.
  • Furo Scene: Common.
  • Gayngst: Poor Fumi, losing two love interests in a row to men. She begs Akira not think of her as disgusting after she first comes out, and brings this up again after she confesses to her at the end of volume 4. Ramped up considerably starting about the end of volume 3, and to massive amounts after she gets dumped by Akira.
    • Chizu has a lot of this, enough so that she gets married to a man and has his baby. Her later conversation with Fumi, where she blames herself for "corrupting" Fumi and starts crying, makes it obvious that this is what's really going on.
    Chizu: My daughter looks a little like you. After all, we are connected by blood...right? We're girls...and I can't be that kind of girl...
  • Genki Girl: A trio of them, in Fumi's school friends Youko, Misako and Miwa. Akira is repeatedly called genki by other characters. Haruka also counts.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: A while after breaking up with Fumi, Akira sees Fumi with another girl, it's suggested she's just jealous of Fumi having a new friend. Confirmed in the last chapter when Akira realises, and admits to herself, that she is in love with Fumi.
  • Holding Hands: Commonplace.
  • Hopeless Suitor:
    • Kyouko with regard to Yasuko, which gets milked for all it's worth.
    • And of course, Yasuko with regard to Kagami.
    • Kou also has some of this with regard to Kyouko. Things appear to be looking up for him, though.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Fumi. Ueda qualifies as well and Yasuko is taller than Fumi.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: This might be the reason why Akira decides to try going out with Fumi after all.
  • Important Hair Cut: Yasuko gets one in a flashback. It is revealed that Kyoko's hair is short now because she tried to imitate Yasuko in the past.
  • Intertwined Fingers:
    • Part of the Ship Tease between Fumi and Akira.
    • See the final shot of the anime's opening sequence.
    • This also happens in a movie theatre between Akira and Fumi, after Fumi is dumped by Yasuko.
  • In Vino Veritas: Invoked by Fumi, who uses the courage of being drunk to confess to Akira. Since she has already done so several times, and they are currently dating, an exasperated Akira can only exclaim "I already know that!"
  • Jerkass: Yasuko. Her bratty nature and the way she treats Kyoko might just be a defence mechanism or her own warped idea of kindness, but it doesn't erase the fact that she is kind of a jerk. Curiously, only to girls.
  • Joshikousei: The uniforms at Akira's school are classical seifuku.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • Implied heavily so between Fumi and her cousin Chizu, with Akira wondering whether Fumi's heartbreak over Chizu's marriage is because of this. At the end of volume four of the manga, Fumi confesses to Akira the extent of her relationship with Chizu.
    Fumi: Whether it was my imagination...or choice, or nature, or just something that love for Chizu was real. And that's the truth.
    • Kou, Kyoko's "fiance in name only", is her cousin; his one-sided feelings towards her can also be implied by this.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: Subverted in the anime, when they show the kiss after all in the next episode.
  • Kudzu Plot: Gradually getting there. Let's just say Shimura is not making it a high priority to keep track of plot points.
  • Loving Bully: Minor example, but one of the short stories revolves around a lesbian student who teases her best friend. At the very end, the student admits that she only does so because she's in love with her.
  • Luminescent Blush: Fumi is particularly prone to this, rivaled perhaps only by Haruka.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Akira's older brother. Even followed her when she went to a mixer.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: One of the short vignettes involves a young girl named Maeda who receives homophobic letters from her classmates. Her friend Nakajima urges her not to accept such "slander", but is surprised when Maeda admits that she is indeed a lesbian. Nakajima immediately tries to backtrack and claim there's nothing wrong with being gay, but is visibly embarrassed by her earlier comments.
  • Oddly Visible Eyebrows: All the characters, particularly noticeable on Kyouko because of the dark-on-light contrast and occasionally with Fumi's glasses.
  • Ojou: Fujigaya is filled with them, apparently. Yasuko and Kyouko certainly qualify, with Kyouko acting more the part.
  • Onee-sama: The elementary schoolers are adorable.
  • One-Gender School: Two of them, in fact.
  • One Head Taller: Turned on its head—it's the tall, cool-looking Fumi who's the quiet, feminine, crybaby other half to the much shorter Akira.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Haruka.
  • Potty Failure: A embarrassing memory that Fumi has from childhood has her wetting herself. Chapter 50 also shows a young Akira suffering the same fate.
  • Prone to Tears: Fumi cries rather easily.
  • Put on a Bus: Yasuko starts studying in England.
  • Real-Place Background: Shimura really studied Kamakura, and it shows.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Kyouko with regard to Yasuko.
  • Say My Name: Misako and Miwa poke fun at this with their 'reenactment' of one of Kyouko's childhood memories ("Kyouko! Kou-chan!").
  • Scenery Porn: Being set in lovely Kamakura naturally invokes this.
  • School Play: The main plot revolves around several of them.
  • Sealed with a Kiss: The manga ends with Akira and Fumi, who are now living together after graduation, kissing each other.
  • Senpai/Kōhai: Yasuko and Fumi, and later Akira and Kyouko to Haruka.
  • Ship Sinking: Defied in the end when Akira, realising her feelings for Fumi have developed beyond friendship, confesses that she is in love with her.
  • Shout-Out: The recurring bonus segment is called "Little Women".
  • Shrines and Temples: It's hard to avoid these in Kamakura.
  • Shrinking Violet: Fumi
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Akira acknowledges herself that she's a late-bloomer and has never had even a crush before starting to date Fumi, and even after they break up there isn't a single hint she's ever attracted to anyone else.
  • Situational Sexuality: In the manga, it's talked about how a lot of these romances developed because the characters go to all girls' schools.
  • Snow Means Love: In the anime Fumi and Akira share a very important moment in the snow.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Kyouko and Kou get an overly long story arc about their engagement that has no relevance to the main story whatsoever.
  • Tareme Eyes: Ryouko, which curiously gets more pronounced as the series progresses.
  • Teacher/Student Romance:
    • The short story "Kanako-sensei" is about a young schoolteacher who is implied to have a crush on one of the girls in her class. She chooses not to pursue a relationship on the grounds that it would be inappropriate, but it's clear the attraction is there. She even states at the end of the story that unrequited love is her hobby.
    • Yasuko was in love with her former teacher, Kagami, who just to make things worse is engaged. To Yasuko's older sister.
    • In the manga's extra section "Little Women", it is seen that one of Hinako's students harboured deep affection for her. Hinako turns her down of course, but the student seems thrilled that she is rejected for ethical reasons rather than her gender.
      • During the main story, a student - who introduces herself by saying she hasn't been taught by Hinako yet - goes to Hinako's office and asks her what she's doing for Christmas. The student gets very excited when Hinako says that she's just doing the usual family stuff, but when Hinako says she's introducing a "special someone" to her parents, the student starts crying. Hinako comforts her by saying she was brave to confess, and then adds that "something like this has happened before."
  • Team Mom:
    • Funny enough, it's Kyouko. Fumi and Akira seem to run to her whenever they need advice and she also carries herself quite maturely. Except when she's around a certain Sugimoto, who just makes her lose all sense of dignity.
    • Ueda Ryouko fits this trope a lot more, especially since she becomes somewhat motherly towards Akira and Haruka.
  • Their First Time: In the manga, after a time of dating, Akira kisses Fumi herself (the first time she has done so), placing herself in Fumi's care immediately after.
  • Those Two Guys: Kou and Shinobu, to some degree, on the girls' first summer vacation. They literally are the only two guys in a gaggle of young teen girls, and they... bonded to a certain extend. If one considers Shinobu's Big Brother Instinct rearing its irksome head around Kou to be "bonding".
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Yasuko and Fumi as well as Akira and Fumi. Also, Kaoruko and Shinako.
  • Tsurime Eyes: Kyouko and a few of the Sugimoto sisters.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Fumi, in a double dose: First she gets dumped by Chizu, and later by Akira, though this gets subverted at the end.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Kou with regard to Kyouko, since Kyouko's feelings for another girl seem to have been nothing but a phase, though Fumi now qualifies again at the end.
  • Wham Line: When Yasuko formally introduces Fumi to her family as her girlfriend, her older sister Kuri starts interrogate her, before saying "Then I guess you're bisexual, huh?" While this isn't immensely shocking, it confirms to Fumi that the person Yasuko had "a big crush on" was a man; it ends up leading to Yasuko dumping Fumi.
    • During Fumi's eventual Love Confession to Akira, she emphasises that her feelings are likely different from Akira's with the following:
    Fumi: Sometimes...a while ago... Chizu and I used to have sex. When I like someone, it means I want to do that stuff with her.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Yasuko wears slacks and a tie for her sister's wedding.
  • Will They or Won't They?:
    • Akira and Fumi. They do. After a long period of confusion, Akira asks Fumi to go out with her. Only to dump her again later. And then the ship rights itself in the last chapter with a role reversal and Akira confessing to Fumi .
    • To a lesser degree, Kyoko and Kou, as a portion of the fanbase actually prefers that she gets together with him rather than Yasuko.
  • Yuri Fan:
    • In the manga, a lot of the girls get very excited about Kawasaki and Yasuko living together as exchange students, which even gets mentioned on the front-page of Fujigaya's news paper.
    • And this happens again when Fujigaya's news club publishes rumors about a Fujigaya student dating a girl from another school. Which is clearly about Fumi and Akira, much to Akira's chagrin.
  • Yuri Genre

Alternative Title(s): Aoi Hana


Sweet Blue Flowers

Fumi is driven to tears by Chizu already having a husband.

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