Ai Yori Aoshi- The Complete Series DVD Review
“Ai Yori Aoshi” suffers from poor writing.
In this 36 episode anime series, the story revolves around a college kid (Kaoru Hanabishi) and the young woman who loves him (Aoi Sakuraba). You see, Kaoru has been loved by Aoi since childhood and the two were arranged to be married at one time until Kaoru walked away. Now, Aoi has sought out Kaoru on her own to try and marry him once again. Kaoru agrees and he soon finds himself getting to know her. In typical anime fashion, however, their new romance proves to be awkward in an amusing fashion (at least that’s the intent of the writers).
The main story aside, expect to see other stories about: Kaoru’s old friend Tina, the photo club, Aoi’s caretaker Miyabi, Taeko (a photo club student/Miyabi’s housekeeper) and her cousin Chika, a ferret, Kaoru’s dark past with the Hanabishi clan, Mayu (who has a crush on Kaoru), family troubles, Aoi’s birthday, hot springs and a spa trip (of course), swimsuits, Kaoru in trouble with other women, tennis, and friendship.
“Ai Yori Aoshi” is the type of series that will probably divide anime fans. Some anime fans will adore the romantic story and characterization while others will be put off by the clumsy writing. Personally, I have to say I fall in the latter camp.
One of the main issues with this series is the character of Aoi. She doesn’t seem like a real character at all which may drive some viewers crazy. In addition to her over-the-top swooning and kimono rambling, Aoi has the tendency to announce everything she thinks or does. Granted, this was probably an artistic choice by the writers, but this style of writing makes her character more irritating nonetheless.
Another puzzling choice by the writers is the fact that the characters CONSTANTLY say each others names. I would understand using names at the start of the series so we remember who everyone is, but by the time the second season rolls around, we know who these people are. It may seem like a minor quibble, but trust me, once you see the show you will notice how frequently it occurs.
Last, but not least, is the issue of the second season. While you can argue that the first season is watchable enough, the second season definitely stumbles. Aside from becoming haremy, the storylines meanders and drag as the characters spend a majority of their at the Sakuraba mansion. Simply put, the story wasn’t eventful enough in season 2 and it felt like the writers were stalling for a conclusion.
Summary: “Ai Yori Aoshi- The Complete Series” is strictly for fans of the anime series.
The series, which is presented in fullscreen, looks solid, but don’t you think it’s time for a Blu-ray upgrade for this anime show?
The set contains English and Japanese Stereo tracks. The English dub is hit-and-miss as Aoi’s voice is a bit annoying and robotic at times. The Japanese audio track is preferable here as the voice acting is stronger overall.
*Trailers for ”Fractale,” “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” “Tales Of Vesperia,” “Kaleido Star,” “Okami-San And Her 7 Companions,” “Shakugan no Shana,” “Hetalia World Series,” “Oblivion Island, “ “Kaze no Stigma,” and Funimation.com
* A short bonus episode called “Speaking Of Dreams” about character’s (you guessed it) dreams.
* Another bonus episode titled “Miyuki.” This is a 15 ½ minute series prequel set at Christmas time.
* Yoko Ishida music video.
* 2 textless opening songs, 1 Japanese opening song and 5 textless closing songs.
* “Yoko Ishida- Live At AX ‘04”- 9 minutes of concert footage from the singer.
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