Blue Spring Ride focuses on a high school girl named Futaba Yoshioka. During the summer of her first year in junior high, she was in love with a boy named Kou Tanaka. He asks her to go to the summer festival with him, and she accepts. One day at school, she gets annoyed with a boy that’s pestering her and declares that she hates boys. Kou overhears this, and he never shows up to the meeting spot he’d arranged with Futaba. She intended to talk to him after summer break, but when she got back to school, Kou had transferred to a different school.
The series jumps ahead in time three years, and Futaba is finishing up her first year of high school. She’s surprised to discover that Kou has come back, but that he has changed his name to Kou Mabuchi due to his parents’ divorce. Futaba discovers that Kou has changed in the intervening years and that sometimes he’ll be cold to her, while other times he’ll help her out.
Episode Five sees the leadership training having an orienteering activity. At first, only Futaba and Kominato (the blond-haired boy) are excited for it. However, after they make it to the first checkpoint and score the highest amount of points there, the others start becoming a little more interested. In all his excitement, Kominato keeps leading the others around by following other groups rather than reading the map. Futaba tries to get the others’ attention and tries to convince them to use the map, but they decide to run willy-nilly. At each checkpoint, they get various keywords; at the final checkpoint, the keywords tell them to go to the biggest lake. They finally consult the map to find where it is.
At this point, they realize they don’t know where they are since they didn’t look at the map at all. Kominato tries to make himself seem like he knows what he’s doing by telling them how to figure out where they are on the map; unfortunately, the group ends up even more lost.
At this point, I really wanted to facepalm. Apparently, no one in the group realized that the whole point of orienteering is to use maps and/or compasses to find your way. Well, I shouldn’t say “no one,” because Futaba had been trying to tell the others to consult the map.
At this point, Kou starts taking the lead. He finally remembers some common sense things about what you should do when you’re lost. Futaba also hears the river that’s near the lake, and they follow the sound. When they cross some rocks at the river, Futaba slips and ends up injuring her foot. Makita gets scared and refuses to move, and Kou goes back to her and offers her his hand. As he helps her across, the audience sees Makita looking at Kou differently than she had before, and it almost looked like she was interested in him. I tried to convince myself that it was only my imagination and that I wasn’t really seeing that.
After the group makes it back to the camp, Futaba and Makita have a talk that night. They both declare that they won’t leave the other, no matter what happens. At this point, I was having a “red flag” moment and thinking that this could be something ominous.
The next morning, Kou, Futaba, Murao, Makita, and Kominato watch the sunrise together, and the group seems to feel closer than they did before the leadership training.
When they return home, Futaba realizes that now that she knows the 16-year-old Kou better, she actually does like him. However, just as she realizes this, she receives a text from Makita, who admits to Futaba that she thinks she’s fallen for Kou. Uh-oh. I guess I wasn’t seeing things in that scene at the river, and no wonder my “red flag” meter was tripped. I’m sure this development is going to end up creating conflict for Futaba and Makita’s friendship, and I’m curious to see how the series is going to handle this development.
And I’m happy to finally see Kominato referred to by his name! His name may have been said in passing in Episode Two, but it wasn’t really said again until Episode 5. At least I have a name now, and I no longer have to call him “blond-haired boy,” “blond-haired guy,” “blond-haired classmate,” etc.
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