Shoujo sprees are incomplete without Blue Spring Ride (If you disagree, go and grab your fake Shoujo fan certificate). On the surface, it seems like a sweet romance which it is, to some extent. But as the story progresses, the romance gets heavy and drama takes the center seat. The plot stretches out the narrative to show the characters as imperfect individuals. With all of that, the manga has garnered a reputation among fans for having a toxic male lead, Kou Mabuchi.
The relationship shared by the central couple is far from a one-dimensional romantic relationship. Kou is a teenager, who often comes off as rude and leads on the love of his life. Besides that, there are a lot of layers to all the relationships but everything leads to a happy ending nonetheless. This brings us to the question, is Blue Spring Ride misleading its younger audience? This article contains manga spoilers.
Character Analysis of Kou Mabuchi
Just like many others, Kou is a character who falls into the gray area. Kou suffered a loss which can’t be summed up in words. He spent days alone at the hospital besides his sick mother with just thoughts and nothing else. The sadness and loneliness became a part of him, making him push people away. Additionally, he was just 17 so not even an adult. His insecurities and the traumatic loss of his mother shaped him into an emotionally fragile teenager.
All the baggage he was carrying around came out in problematic ways. His relationship with Futaba strayed far from an ideal one. He led her on with a lot of mixed signals and eventually dated someone else despite having feelings for Futaba. He stayed with Narumi because he shared something very intimate with her, the loss of a parent. He felt obligated to stay by her side.
With all that said, his treatment of Futaba isn’t being justified. This is just an attempt to better understand their relationship.
Does Blue Spring Ride set misleading expectations for its younger audience?
If we look at their relationship from a realistic point of view, it does hold the potential to mislead teenagers.
- Kou and Futaba end up together despite all the unnecessary drama. The drama glamorized suffering and the concept of ‘the one’.
- At the same time Futaba starts dating Touma who showers her with love and adoration (love-bombing). She starts to date him without taking a breather from the Kou drama.
- No matter how badly Kou failed at sustaining a relationship, he still got together with Futaba because she was the one for him.
Young viewers/readers of Blue Spring Ride might romanticize this idea and continue to be in a relationship which is just supposed to be a learning curve.
In the end, everything problematic about Blue Spring Ride comes down to the interpretation. The author tried to incorporate the consequential nature of life as well, by making Futaba have someone else besides Kou. Her friends were also vehemently disapproving of Kou.
At no point in the manga, does the creator justify Kou’s questionable behaviors. Even with all that, there’s a lot to be read between the lines. By no means, the manga is perfect but when it comes to slow burns and dramatic romance, Blue Spring Ride holds the potential to be a top contender.
To sum it up, Blue Spring Ride hold the potential to mislead teenagers. At the same time if we scrutinize every form of fiction with the same intensity, then every title will fall into this category.