Ao Haru Ride was one of the first Shoujo romances I’ve seen. I enjoyed most of it, but everyone I asked about it said it wasn’t a particularly stand out example of the genre. It certainly had a perchance for melodrama, the most memorable example of which was the damn train reveal in episode 6.
Fumiko couldn’t make up her mind if she really loved Kou or not and decided to let him decide for her. She pretended she left her bag at school, which would mean she would miss their train, and waited to see if Kou would get off the train to wait with her. Now it’s true that this was an important scene. Fumiko was able to clarify her feelings for Kou and it set the direction of the whole second half of the show. But I felt they oversold the suspense of Kou’s decision so much it went from powerful to simply exhausting.
Fumiko closes her eyes as we see the doors closing at an oblique angle so we can’t tell if he got off. Then we have an extended shot of the train leaving the station. Fumiko still has her eyes closed at this point. Then we have the most inconveniently placed clock ever. Until finally… almost 35 seconds after the doors closed…
Now as I said above this was a very important scene and the music and artistic style were very effective at making this a cathartic reveal. I just felt so physically exhausted at this point that was all I could think about.