Ai Yori Aoshi Anime Review
Ai Yori Aoshi
/ TV Series / Romance / 16-up
Nothing brilliant or original, but definitely not without merit.
...Oh My Goddess! with an extra helping of harem and magic replaced by fanservice.
Ai Yori Aoshi
Indigo More Than Blue
US Release By
Geneon Entertainment, Pioneer Animation
Romance comedy cheesecake
26 25 minute episodes
2002-04-10 - 2002-09-26
What's In It
- American blondes
- More fanservice
- Violence: 1 (mild)
- Nudity: 3 (significant)
- Sex: 2 (moderate)
- Language: 0 (none)
Kaoru Hanbishi, a poor Tokyo college student, is on his way home one afternoon when he meets a beautiful girl in a kimono who is looking for the home of somebody special to her. When he takes it upon himself to help her find this person, he is shocked to discover that she is actually looking for him- she is his childhood fiance Aoi Sakuraba. Although their engagement was cancelled years ago, Aoi's devotion has driven her to come to Tokyo alone to find her beloved Kaoru and be with him. But there are many things standing between them, not least of which is the substantial difference between their social status- while Kaoru is just a poor student, Aoi is the daughter and heir to a rich family. Will their love be able to endure the trials before them?
Effectively a "magical girlfriend" story with the magic replaced by extra fanservice, Ai Yori Aoshi is a fairly by-the-numbers romance. With the requisite amount of comic misunderstandings, hot springs episodes, melodrama, WAFF and dim-yet-busty girls the series is, for the most part, an amusing but generic story. However, there is one thing which keeps the series from mediocrity, and that is the wonderfully appealing relationship between the two leads. Although Kaoru is your classic kind-hearted sappy girl magnet (with a few wrinkles in his backstory which make him a bit more interesting) and Aoi is just a Belldandy-style gentle-and-loving-doormat, their oh-so-sweet romance gives the series a real core of strength, making viewing much more worthwhile every time it shows up (in between heavy doses of filler and fanservice).
The other characters are the usual disposable group of support characters: loser friends, busty junior classman/maid, foreign bimbo, bratty childhood acquaintance, stern minder and cute animal mascot, with personalities ranging from amusing to outright annoying. The fanservice often verges on excessive, but the series does usually manage to be quite funny when it tries. Although most of the episodes are filler, they rarely become tedious and the glimpses of Kaoru/Aoi material are well worth watching for. Technically, the animation is decent if unspectacular, boasting some attractive character designs (especially Aoi), while the Japanese voice acting is overall quite good.
Overall, Ai Yori Aoshi is a decent series for those who like their romance sweet and their fanservice free. Not fantastic by any standard, but worthy of a casual look.
Notes and Trivia
Available in North America from Geneon on 5 hybrid DVD volumes. Geneon also sells the soundtrack on CD.
Looking to buy? Try these stores: RightStuf (search) | AnimeNation | Amazon