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Ai Yori Aoshi #2: My Dearest PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Thursday, 05 November 2009 00:00
Ai Yori AoshiRemember all the good lost-love-refound story that made Ai Yori Aoshi's first volume so good? It's all gone. Well, almost - in its place we get comedy and high-jinks that just aren't the same. Tina fans will be pleased to see her becoming a much more interesting character, but I'm sure there's better material than this just waiting to be used...

6 - Family Tradition
Kaoru's finding that having Tina living under the same roof as him is a major distraction for his studying - and a source of a constant stream of situations that Aoi can misunderstand. Hostel life's about to get even more complicated, though, as Taeko turns up on his doorstep, bags in hand and looking for somewhere to stay - she's been fired from her previous job, and since her accommodation came with the job, she's out on the streets. When Aoi learns that Taeko was a live-in housekeeper, though, she decides there might be enough work around the place to make it worthwhile employing her - as long as Miyabi agrees. The trials Miyabi sets her, though, soon indicate that Taeko's better at creating chaos than at tidying it away...

Nice distractionHard at work

7 - Spiritual Illusion
Aoi sees a brochure for hot-springs holidays - she can just imagine herself & Kaoru soaking together, but under current circumstances she reckons that's not going to happen for a while. Until the photo club decides to take a hot-springs trip themselves, and Tina insists that they invite Aoi along with them. Leaving the arrangements to Taeko may not have been the wisest idea, but the gang get there - eventually - and get down to the serious business of having fun...

Subtle warningParty time

8 - Cherished Treasure
One of Miyabi's many rules around the house is "no pets", so when Tina sneaks a ferret home with her you just know that it's going to spell trouble. Aoi's quickly won over by the little critter's charm, though, and while Miyabi's initially having none of it, she eventually gives in to public opinion and decides to let it stay, on condition that she has nothing to do with it. But the ferret's antics are unavoidable, and eventually it's all just too much for Miyabi to take...

Kawaii!Loner

9 - One Night
Aoi's going away for a day to attend a memorial service - but the way she says goodbye to Kaoru, you'd think they were parting forever. With Aoi and Miyabi away on their trip, and Taeko away on a photo shoot with Suzuki and Sato, Kaoru's left feeling at something of a loose end - until Tina emerges from her room, and sees an opportunity to be taken advantage of. Seduction mode, ON! Or is Kaoru just grabbing the wrong end of the stick..?

Sickening, aren't they?Mmm.  Naked Tina.

10 - Place of Learning
Aoi keeps hearing about and seeing photos of Kaoru's college life - Tina and Taeko get to be a part of that, since they go to college with him, but for Aoi it's always second-hand information, leaving her as the outside observer. Just for once she wants to see it up close, so once her daily soap-watching is done, she heads for the college with the excuse of bringing Kaoru some exceptionally tasty taiyaki. But finding the gang around campus proves to be harder than Aoi was expecting...

Snackfood heavenLost

Okay. Of the great inter-personal moments that we know this series can produce - volume one is proof - there's barely a sign. Episode 10 has a few scenes that hark back to those glorious days, but apart from that were almost locked in comedy central as the crowd around Kaoru and Aoi continues to grow. In a word: boo.

Some of what's here is good, though. Even with Aoi out of the picture, episode 9 has some really good moments as we get to see a little more of what makes Tina tick, and the peeks under the surface make her a much more likeable character. Taeko gets a proper introduction from episode 6, which puts her firmly in the post of comedy fanservice girl, and Miyabi's softer side eventually surfaces under constant pressure from Uzume the ferret. Most of this disc is filler, though - comedy happenings in situations that are contrived to allow them to happen.

I confess, though, that much as I was annoyed because I know AYA can be better than this, I still laughed and I still enjoyed it. The characters are coming together well now, and even though they do conform to harem archetypes there's a lot of fun to be had watching their antics. There's just not a lot to write about them, as you'll have seen them all before - this stuff wasn't new even when AYA was, and we're many years further down the line now. As blasts from the past go, though, you could do a whole lot worse.

Rating - ****

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