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Ai Yori Aoshi #4: Truly Yours PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 00:00
Ai Yori AoshiAi Yori Aoshi's sort-of-schitzophrenic nature has annoyed many a fan - some prefer the AYA-the-love-story aspect, best shown in Volume 1, others prefer the AYA-the-harem-show side, while the show itself can't seem to make up its mind... So which version do we get with Volume 4..?

16 - Shores
Summer! Beach! Swimsuits! You get the picture, and the episode opens with the girls making a fuss of choosing just the right swimsuit for the trip. Even Aoi's in on the act. The gang's visit to the ocean also sees the arrival of new girl Chika, Taeko's younger cousin, who judging by her deep brown, not-all-over tan obviously spends far too much time in the sun. The usual beach chaos soon follows, with Aoi having to wait until after dark before getting the chance to spend some quality time with Kaoru - but is Taeko developing 'feelings' for Kaoru?

TeaseNew friends

17 - Waves
The gang's beach visit continues, this time with a healthy dose of onsen fun added, just in case the swimsuits didn't work for you. Chika's quick on the uptake & has noticed Taeko's growing attraction to Kaoru - knowing that her cousin isn't the most forward of people and being unaware of Kaoru's connection with Aoi, she takes matters into her own hands & works towards getting the two of them together. She's not exactly subtle about it, either. Can Kaoru keep his hormones in check when he's stuck in the shower with a naked Tae-chin..?

ConfessionsSayonara

18 - Bedsharing
After two episodes of Taeko chasing after Kaoru, it's Tina's turn. A planned daytrip to the zoo turns into a date, sort of, as everyone else drops out leaving Tina & Kaoru to make the trip on their own. A freak storm then leaves them unable to get home, and they're forced to spend the night together in a hotel. A love hotel. Yup, it's another test of Kaoru's hormonal control...

Wishful thinkingHelpful

19 - Lap Pillow
Chika comes to visit under the pretence of needing some help with her holiday homework, when it seems that what she's really after is some companionship. Being an only child she feels she's missed out on a lot of the 'family' experience, and looks to Aoi & co for some of that - particularly as one of her holiday assignments is to write an essay on 'my family holiday', and she's at a loss for what to write...

HomeworkLap pillow

20 - Cure
It's Cultural Festival time again, and the photo club are putting on a Cosplay Cafe. Until Tina accidentally ruins things by releasing reptiles over the customers. So it's down to plan 'B', featuring Aoi with neko-mimi & her specialty Japanese tea. Unfortunately for Kaoru, the whole traditional tea-ceremony thing brings back unwelcome memories of his time with the Hanabishi. Later, Aoi finds spending so much time at the college without actually getting to see Kaoru difficult to deal with...

Service, service!Together

Last time I looked at this volume, I was quick to dismiss it as nearly all "harem filler stuff". I may have been half-asleep at the time, or otherwise distracted, but on repeat viewing it seems I've done the volume a disservice. While it's lacking in touching Kaoru / Aoi moments, there are a few good touching scenes involving Kaoru and other characters (all suitably chaste, of course) that raise the disc above being simply comic filler. The best of those moments are with Taeko in episode 17, as everyone's favourite klutz tries to let Kaoru know how she feels, and with Tina in episode 18, when she again gets Kaoru to herself for a night. Both stories show that there's more to Taeko and Tina than accidents and alcohol respectively, and go a long way to bringing some much-needed depth to their characters.

That said, if you're looking for the love story between Aoi and Kaoru to advance here, there's not much happening on that front beyond a few short moments of quality time. This is very much a 'summer of fun' disc and focusses almost totally on the show's other women, and for the one episode where they could have made more of the leading pair (Cure), they're only briefly given the spotlight before being pushed back into the background, which was disappointing.

The award for best contrivance goes to Lap Pillow, particularly Aoi's 'We're all family' speech at the end. This really came out of nowhere & for the life of me I still can't figure out what part of Chika's behaviour would've prompted it - it's more like there was a message the writer wanted to get across at this point and, by The Maker, he was going to make it, and it leaves you with a few scenes that feel forced. That's a minor gripe, though.

This volume's worth depends on what you were looking for. To get the most out of it, you'll be wanting to go into it with your mind switched off & looking for some shallow fun - it has that in spades & will be very entertaining if that's all you want. If you're looking for something with a bit more depth and emotion - which AYA can do when it wants to - then there's a lot less of that here, and you may end up disappointed. Still very enjoyable viewing, though.

Rating - ****

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