It is my understanding, and one that I have a slippery hold on at best, that in Japan and elsewhere arranged marriages are still practiced where the woman is normally completely subservent to her husband. That is a big part of what this show is about, a beautiful young woman who has trained her whole life to serve the needs of a man she will marry.
Before I begin, take a look at that picture that I picked out for this review, the one of the cast standing in front of the house. Whenever I see this picture, I see what could have been in real life and not an anime, a cookie cutter sitcom with some handsome and attractive young actors who really want to put on a show that is something special but ultimately won't be.
Like many other animes, a friend in Ohio introduced this to me. He was looking for a new show to watch and saw this, and billed as a comedy. While it is funny it's largely more of a drama and romance show. Together we ended up seeing the whole series, bumps and all since the show does have a few.
Aoi Sakuraba and Kaoru Hanabishi were childhood friends who were arranged to be married but one day were pulled apart. Kaoru's mom left him when he was a teen and his Grandfather beat him and called him weak to the point that he ran away from home and had forsaken his family name, a shame since his family is very wealthy. He has been living in a cheap apartment and has worked very hard to get his way through college. Aoi under the watchful eye of Ms Miyabi trained very hard to be a worthy wife for Karoru but Aoi never saw him again.
Aoi one day goes looking for Kaoru who has moved to the big city Eventually finding him, Aoi does not care about his living arrangements, shes back with the man she loves and will do anything for him. Ms Miyabi comes along and demands that Aoi returns seeing as how Kaoru is something of a pauper and little Aoi will one day own the Sakuraba conglomerate and be loaded. A concession is made so that Aoi will not be heartbroken, Aoi and Kaoru will live in a summer house as to not attract attention around other friends and family members with Kaoru posing as a tenant and Aoi the manager. Kaoru has to stay in a seculded part of the house though. Sure enough though, Kaoru's friends from school start showing up needing jobs or places to stay and it's a house full of girls and one attractive single guy....yeah, thats right. Aoi and his relationship is kept a secret.
If you caught that last part, you are right. It's a house full of girls and one guy.
Kaoru Hanabishi is Robert Palmer: Simply Irristable
Not much hope for romance between our protagonists. The friends are all cliched but get they're moments from time to time. The annoying and loud American girl, the clumsy nerd, the obnoxious rich brat, and plucky island dweller. Ms Miyabi as I already said is a stern taskmaster of sorts.
As far as favorite scenes, they are any time Aoi and Kaoru are alone. You really feel that the two are in love with each other and this is a love story. The best scenes between the two are in the first few episodes and the last few episodes, with one in particular where Kaoru has to stand up to Aoi's dad who doesn't like Kaoru much. Always that awkward time when the guy stands up to the protective father of his little girl.
Theres nothing I can really add as far as dialouge goes. It's not flashy nor is it wooden. It serves it's purpose to move the story and you can argue that some of the romance does get sappy, you can at least belive Aoi and Kaoru are in love instead of being told they are in love.
If you liked Tenchi Muyo or other "harem" animes, then this one will proabably fill a need but most people who I know who have seen Tenchi and this and will side with Tenchi. I have not seen much of Tenchi so I can't offer a comparison. The show is essentially got a PG 13 rating for it's more dramatic elements and occasional naughty joke. There is no sex but there is some coy nudity in very small supply. Nothing too horrifying.
I'll give the show a 2. It's not a bad show and when it wants to be romantic it is but the show spends a lot of time with it's supporting cast of characters and the show is built up on a flimsy premise that says "One Guy + hot young girls = awesome." We also don't see Aoi and Kaoru together enough and it's cause of those episodes with all the other characters where we can really appreciate those fleeting moments more, like how in real life a husband and wife are lucky to get those moments together cause they're so busy. If you burned out Tenchi or another show, Ai Yori Aoshi is a worthwhile watch if only for those fleeting moments.
What did you think of this review?