Title: Ao Haru Ride Vol. 12
Author: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Slice of Life, Romance
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Volume twelve of Ao Haru Ride brings us a major shifting point which sets up the ending of the series which is occurring next volume. I have to admit, in my last review, I kind of took a shot at Domestic na Kanojo and then, an event happened here in this volume and I had to hold my breath, praying that Io Sakisaka wasn’t going to down the same rabbit hole. Thankfully, a huge sigh of relief was had as some certain high-level strats were avoided.
Still, it was painfully obvious what was going to take place in this volume. I thought that it might happen here with volume 13 serving as an epilogue of sorts and it looks like I nailed that one right on the head. Even though it was obvious and I talked about it in past reviews, I’ll refrain from saying anything just in case there are those out there who didn’t piece it together.
Still, the story only took one really big step forward. This volume was mostly character development-driven and since the major step is a spoiler, let’s just jump into the characters even though it may just spoil the spoiler anyway, haha.
Before we get to the biggest and most obvious development, I like the small “d’aww” moment between Uchimiya and Yuri. Uchimiya finally said what he wanted to say and it was a rather cute moment!
Now onto the stars of the show… those obviously being Narumi, Kou, Futaba, and Kikuchi.
Kou and Narumi finally received closure to their story. That’s how the volume kicks off. With Kou no longer having Narumi on his mind, he decides to make a full-on attempt at getting Futaba all to himself despite the fact that she’s still dating Kikuchi. Meanwhile, Kikuchi’s band is playing a concert and he invites Futaba to come see it. She instantly agrees all while trying to block Kou of her mind. At first, Futaba is giving Kou a taste of his own medicine by being extremely harsh and direct with him but the more Kou pressures her, the more and more Futaba begins to wonder what her true feelings are.
That’s about as far as I can go without spoiling anything but I think you can piece together the rest. It’s not as if it wasn’t obvious for the past few volumes or anything.
I know this one is a bit on the short side but when the majority of the second-to-last volume is dedicated to one, solitary, defining moment in the series, it’s kind of hard to tap dance around it. I could throw up the spoiler tag but I’ve received many comments about putting spoilers into my reviews so I try to make an honest effort to withhold them as much as possible. When you’re 12 volumes deep into a series, a review isn’t about whether a series is good enough for you to check out because, by this point, you should have already made that decision. It becomes about my personal experience with the volume and because as such, I will offer these thoughts:
While I think this has been a good series thus far, it was pretty obvious what the end result was going to be from the very beginning. I, honestly, never liked Kou as a character because I just can’t understand how you can flip flop between being cold and calloused one moment and then be caring the next moment only to go back to that frame of mind. I just don’t understand from a realistic point-of-view how Futaba could still hold onto feelings for Kou after the way he treated her for damn near 75% of this manga series. I drew many comparisons in my reviews to Nino and Momo from Anonymous Noise because I saw the same type of character development between those two in this series… despite being from two separate mangaka.
Not saying I haven’t enjoyed this series. I really like Ao Haru Ride; however, I just never saw the point in developing Kou the way they did. If they approached it from the aspect of Kou just being cold to Futaba and then her discovering why much later and doing whatever she could to break through Kou’s shell all while never actually dating Kikuchi (or even having him as a character), I think it would have been a more compelling story. Sure, the end goal would have been just as predictable as is now but I think it would have been much more rewarding to see Futaba put forth a lot of effort to save the guy she never lost feelings for and then finally ending up with him in one big emotional moment.
That’s just me, though, and I have no idea what actually sells well in Japan. Maybe they eat this kind of story up of there? I digress.
Hmm… reflecting back, maybe those should have been my thoughts for Vol. 13’s review? I guess we’ll just have to read the epilogue and do some final overall thoughts on all 13 volumes, haha!
Follow me on Twitter @JJPiedraTOH
You can also check out other The Outerhaven reviews on your favorite social media networks:
This item was provided for review by VIZ Media