I’ve written about Aoi Hana before, but back then I didn’t actually say much about what I thought of the show. To date, Aoi Hana is probably my favourite girls’ love show. It’s cute but not afraid of getting ugly at times, and it’s sweet but occasionally harsh. I wouldn’t say it’s a very realistic story all in all, but it does feel very honest, at least most of the time. I especially loved how it dares to tackle issues like irresponsible communication, rushing into relationships and confusion surrounding love. Sakura Trick also touched on the latter point, but only quite briefly.
Aoi Hana is also not centered around comedy at all. Aside from the occasional slapstick and supporting butt-monkeys, the tone is quite serious most of the time. The manga expands on this a lot in the parts that were cut out of the anime. The character relationships are not as static as the ones in Sakura Trick either. The characters love and hate each other in turns, and the story revolves mostly around these characters trying to reach some sort of stability where they can be around each other without breaking down into tears(which usually makes the reader follow suit).
In the end, though, Aoi Hana is pretty much a classic “will they won’t they” kind of story, so people who dislike that may not enjoy it, but I think its strengths make it stand out among other girls’ love stories(If you disagree, please do tell me, I’m always up for recommendations when it comes to this genre). The visuals are a good example. The backgrounds are beautiful. The character designs are cute but not overly moe(no Sakura Trick character designs here), a style I feel lends itself well to the more serious tone of the series. And the lighting is just… great. I love this show and I highly recommend it.