Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ #3: Destiny Print
R1 DVD Reviews
Written by maehara   
Tuesday, 04 January 2005 13:51
Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ - Volume 3This volume of Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ brings the series to a close, and a particularly disappointing one at that.  While the first season showed some flashes of brilliance in amongst all the harem comedy, those best parts were gutted from the format, leaving a fairly shallow show behind.  Was there anything left in ~Enishi~ to make it worth watching?

9 - White
Kaoru's university professor gives him a gift of two tickets for a hotel stay - as a thank-you for all the help he's given. After a stern warning from Miyabi, he decides to take Aoi on a date and to see how things develop (the rest of the gang are away form the house on various trips, so no-one will know) - it's the first chance they've had to spend some real quality time together in a long while. When night-time comes and they end up in the hotel together, it turns out to be a bit awkward for both of them...

Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ - Episode 9Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ - Episode 9

10 - Bathrobe
Onsen! Scanitily-clad women! Not much else in the way of story! You know the drill - 1 hot-spring resort, 1 guy, many women, and many ways for embarassing things to happen - especially when some mischevious kids change the sign on Kaoru's private bath from 'occupied' to 'vacant'. Meanwhile, Tina has a heart-to heart chat with Aoi-chan...

Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ - Episode 10Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ - Episode 10

11 - Moonlight
Mayu's overheard a 'phone conversation, where Tina has said she's going back to the US - but when she confronts Tina about it, she's adamant the 'phonecall was just about a homecoming trip. Is Tina hiding something? Meanwhile, she's just bought herself a new digital camera & is looking for an excuse to make use of it - by roping the rest of the house into cosplaying for her...

Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ - Episode 11Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ - Episode 11

12 - Bonds
It's very quiet around the house now that Tina's away - and no-one's sure if or when she'll be back, they just know it's not the same without her. Meanwhile, Tina's trying to settle back into her home in America, but she's finding it's just not for her...

Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ - Episode 12Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ - Episode 12

It's really not good for someone to be as obsessed about something as Aoi is about Kaoru.  That said, the Aoi / Kaoru relationship was the one area where the first season of AYA really shone - check the first and last volumes of the DVD release for proof.  There were many people who watched just those two discs, and were happy with what they got, as the rest of the series was essentially harem 'filler' - and fairly average at that.

For ~Enishi~, the producers seemed to take the biggest criticism of the first season to heart - it was too schizophrenic, too unsure of what it wanted to be, and they needed to decide between heartfelt romance or harem comedy.  AYA's real strength was heartfelt romance, so for the second series they decided to stick to... harem comedy.

D'oh!

For that one reason alone, ~Enishi~ has been something of a disappointment - you know all the way through what these characters can produce, but you're stuck with 10 episodes of slapstick.  In episode 11, there's finally an attempt to capture some of the old emotion and drama, but by using Tina as the vehicle (and ruining the impact of her departure by having her return the very next episode), the really lose the attempt to grab your heartstrings before they've even started.

So.  Fans of the fringe characters or of the harem aspect of the show will have plenty here to keep them going - but they always seemed to be in the minority compared to those that wanted more of Aoi & Kaoru.  Fans of that relationship sadly aren't going to find much here, and will instead have to make do with thinking over what could have been if ~Enishi~ had had a different focus.  There are rumours of a third season - if they come back to the real meat of the story then I'm all for it, but if it's going to be anything like this season, then I'd rather they didn't bother...


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