Film review: Blue Spring Ride - family issues cloud teen romance
Japanese teen romance is at its weakest when it deals with matters of the heart.
Based on the titular comic series by Io Sakisaka — whose breakout hit Strobe Edge has also recently been turned into a movie — this Japanese teen romance tells the story of Futaba Yoshioka (Tsubasa Honda), a high-school student who has struggled to make friends since she abruptly lost contact with her first love, Ko Tanaka (Masahiro Higashide), some four years ago.
When Ko returns to school one day in similarly enigmatic fashion, Fubata is forced to again confront her feelings for the boy, who hasn't only changed his surname but is also awkwardly insistent that she should "stop looking for the kid I used to be". It soon transpires that Ko, now a condescending loner, has lost his divorced mother to cancer and developed a peculiar guilt complex.
Despite its origin as a shoujo manga (for teenage girls), this abridged version is incongruously at its weakest when it deals with matters of the heart: the rivalry for Ko between Fubata and her new best friend simply fizzles out; her one suitor is practically a stalker; and Ko's other female "friend" is there solely to drag him down with her family problems.
"To fall in love is a girl's greatest mission," or so the movie's opening voiceover declares. Ironically, Blue Spring Ride could just make a more effective tug at the heartstrings if it had stayed with the romantic relationships and not diverged into unconvincing mother issues. As it is, this one is only for the fans.
Blue Spring Ride opens on July 2