Series Review: Ai Yori Aoshi +(Enishi)

While this is an older series, I couldn’t help but watch it anyway. Ai Yori Aoshi, or True Blue Love when translated into English, is about Aoi Sakuraba, a traditionally raised Japanese girl who goes off in search of her betrothed. She happens to cross paths with a kind stranger while on her search who coincidentally is Kaoru Hanabishi, the man to whom she was suppose to marry. While it was an arranged marriage from when they were children, Aoi was still in love with Kaoru. Kaoru also begins to find himself remembering the past, and their flame was rekindled.

tina-foster1While that was just the first episode, the rest of the series follows the relationship and it’s growth, but it wouldn’t be very interesting if there wasn’t any drama. They introduce a gaggle of new characters throughout the series, and it soon becomes the stereotypical anime where there is a bunch of crazy girls trying to get with this one geeky college kid. Also in stereotypical anime fashion, there is fan service. Lots and lots of fan service. So much so, that there is at least one panty shot, girl in cosplay, or erotic boob shot every ten minutes or so. That’s at least twice an episode.

The series is on the shorter side, being that there are only two seasons 24 episodes each. It doesn’t surprise me, though. It had deep character story lines for everyone, even the side characters, and the potential to become something truly interesting and memorable. It really did, but the series just fell flat. It was mostly fan service and girls trying to snatch up Kaoru every chance they got, and the deep character issues, such as Kaoru’s issues with his family, what would happen with the Sakuraba group if Aoi stayed with Kaoru, and the hardships of Kaoru gaining acceptance of Aoi’s family (Especially her father), went unresolved and unexplored. I was really disappointed. I was also disappointed that season two started some years later, and that it felt like we missed out on a large portion of the story line. They could at least had given us a brief recap of what had happened  in that time.

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I also had a problem with the animation. While I know that this is an older series and that anime of the mid 200o’s weren’t the greatest, but I was urked that they used the same sequences over and over throughout the series. Whenever explaining Kaoru’s past, for example, they use the same sequence over and over of his grandfather. There was no attempt at giving his shocking past a new look for the viewers who already know what had happened to him. That’s just laziness on the animator’s part.

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And while I’m ranting, there was one other thing that bothered me, and that was Aoi. As the heroine of the story, she doesn’t have any outstanding qualities other than being the perfect traditional Japanese housewife. She’s quiet, cries a lot, and, this may just be me, a bit of a closet perv. She cries literally every episode over the tiniest of things. Once I think she started crying because Kaoru kissed her and said he loved her, which wasn’t anything new at that point. Continuing on with the closest perv thing. I really think she is. Who honestly offers to wash the back of the guy she hasn’t seen in over 18 years? Who in there right mind thinks it’s okay to snuggle naked together after only one night of your reunion? I certainly wouldn’t. That’s crazy. She didn’t know if he was romantically involved with someone or if he was even interested in her. Hell at that point, Kaoru could have been some kind of psychopath and could have  ‘took advantage’ of her and she wouldn’t have even known until it was too late. To top it all off, after one whole season she still couldn’t announce to the crazy ladies that live with them that she even loves Kaoru, despite the fact that she openly considers him to be her fiance.  Long story short, I’m not a fan of Aoi. She’s kind of an emotional idiot.

I’m not going to lie, the series as a whole was disappointing. I only watched the entire thing because I own and read the manga (Which was a lot better, by the way. A definite read for those who like a good romantic comedy). If you don’t have anything better to watch on your Hulu+ or whatever, then maybe, but it’s nothing memorable.

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