Sweet Blue Flowers, known in Japan as Aoi Hana (青い花), is a Japanese yuri manga series written and illustrated by Takako Shimura. It was serialized between November 2004 and July 2013 in Ohta Publishing’s Manga Erotics F manga magazine. Eight volumes were published between December 2005 and September 2013. The story focuses on Fumi Manjōme, a lesbian high school girl, and her close childhood friend Akira Okudaira, who tries to keep her friends happy through difficult times. When Shimura was writing her manga Dōnika Naru Hibi, she became interested in a story between girls, leading her to create Sweet Blue Flowers. While she felt that the story focus should be on girls for yuri works, Shimura also wanted to introduce some males since she thought it would add an interesting aspect to the series. An 11-episode anime television series produced by J.C.Staff and directed by Ken’ichi Kasai aired in Japan between July and September 2009 on Fuji TV.
Fumi Manjoume, an introverted, bookish teenage girl, is beginning her first year of high school at Matsuoka Girls’ High School. She enters the school year with her heart broken by a previous relationship. At about the same time, she reconnects with her best friend from ten years ago, Akira Okudaira, who is now attending Fujigatani Girls’ Academy as a first-year high school student. As they reconnect, they both deal with their own respective romantic problems, and help each other get through them.
What Aoi Hana attempts to portray is a thoughtful and serious story about a group of teenage girls as they learn about first love and themselves. The main focuses are the girls Fumi and Akira (affectionately called Aa-chan). Both were close friends when they were very young but in the years they had forgotten about each other since Fumi’s family had moved away. The story begins with both girls starting as freshmen at new high schools, Fumi at Matsuoka High and Akira at the nearby and prestigious Fujigaya. The girls are fatefully reunited through a series of chance meetings and the new friends they make at school. For fans of yuri, Aoi Hana is a title that must not be missed. I think it’s a bold and original production in an industry full of the same tired old themes and sequels. Anyone else who is interested in a serious romance and coming of age story should definitely give this a try.