Blue Spring (Aoi haru) is a full-length Japanese film that was released in 2001. It was originally a popular manga and was directed by Toshiyaki Toyada. The Japanese title of the movie, Aoi haru, can be translated into either blue spring or inexperienced years. Inexperienced years is appropriate as the movie is about a group of teenage misfits who are trying to figure out where their place in the world is.
A group of seven teenagers attend an all boys public high school that is named Asahi High. Asahi High is a place that is filled with students who do not want to learn. The teachers have given up on the students and pretty much let them do whatever they want. The school is covered with graffiti and the gang members are always standing around outside the school waiting to sell drugs or to get new members for their group.
The movie starts on the twenty-fifth graduation ceremony. The new seniors head to the roof top to uphold a school tradition. The rules state that the boys have to hang off the side of the building by a metal rod. They then have to clap as many times as they can. The one who claps the most, without giving up or falling to his death, wins and becomes the leader of the senior class.
The most shy, quiet boy in the bunch, Kujo, is the winner of the challenge. He is the one who will now become the leader of the group and there is no arguments about it. In his own quiet way, Kujo accepts the honor. He starts to use his power when people start disrespecting him and his best friend, Aoki. Kujo is quick to hand out punishment to those who he feels deserve it at first. Shortly after winning the challenge, though, he becomes bored of being the leader and his control slips. He is concerned about the future, and about what he is going to do in his life, and he let is control his actions towards everyone.
He even alienates his best friend, Aoki. Aoki is bewildered and furious at Kujo. In his mind, Kujo has tons of power but will not use any of it. He decides when Kujo drops the baton of leadership that he is going to pick it up. He starts turning the school from the desolate place it is into a hell-zone. Only Kujo can decide to help Aoki, or stop Aoki.
This has been marked by many Toyoda fans to be their favorite Toyoda film. It shows a side of Japanese schooling that is not known. As with every country, Japan is starting to see a rise of student violence in the school systems. What was once an idealistic setting is slowly turning into anything but. Toyoda took the challenge to show the world how he feels the school system is changing. His movies have all been well-received, but Blue Spring became an instant hit with the critics due to its subject matter.