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Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ #1: Fate PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Monday, 25 January 2010 00:00
Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~Ai Yori Aoshi returns for its second season, which comes with the first season's comedy aspects fully intact. I unfortunately can't say the same for the more touching side of the show, though, which is a real shame - fans of the Aoi / Kaoru relationship, prepare to be disappointed, as the heart and soul of the show is noticable only by its absence...

1 - Spring Blossom
It's been two years since Kaoru and Aoi were almost torn apart by Aoi's father, but the gang are very much together. Lately, Chika's taken to asking awkward questions - like 'which ones of you girls are in love with Kaoru?' Seems someone else is developing an interest - but since their relationship is still a secret, Aoi's unable to answer honestly, and it seems to be beginning to bug her. Chika's persistent in her questioning of the other girls, though...

SurpriseHappiness

2 - Friends
After Chika's schoolfriends Natsuki & Chizuru find a photo of her & Kaoru, the girls jump to the worst possible conclusion and suddenly become interested in this man their friend seems to be living with. Keen to learn more, they announce their intention to come and visit. Cue a mad panic by Chika, who isn't sure how best to explain the relationships between everyone who lives in the house, and is desperate to keep her friends away from Kaoru, in case there are any more misunderstandings...

Wishful thinkingAcrobatics?

3 - Tennis
Chika needs to get some tennis practice in for school, and manages to talk the rest of the gang into helping her out with her practising - so it's short tennis outfits all around, and lessons from Miyabi, as Chika's not the only one in need of training. Meanwhile, Kaoru and Aoi are having trouble getting any sort of quality time together, despite their best efforts, with Miyabi warning them that their relationship must still be kept secret, at least until it gets the full blessing of Aoi's family...

Another stern lectureRivalry

4 - Phantoms
Tina's been hearing strange sounds at night, and they've been keeping her awake - not that she wants to admit that to anyone, even though they're beginning to notice how tired she's getting. She eventually buckles, though, and tells the rest of the gang, and it turns out she's not the only one to have heard strange noises coming from the attic. More surprising is Taeko's eagerness to go on a monster-exterminating mission (any excuse to get everyone into miko outfits, I guess...). With everyone prepared, it's up into the attic to find out what's been causing the noises...

Being clumsy againSpooky

Miyuki Special
A 15-minute short, apparently set sometime before Aoi and Kaoru were reunited. When Kaoru does Santa a favour (a Santa who looks suspiciously like Aoi), she naturally wants to return it. Looking into Kaoru's heart to see what he truly wants, she finds he's quite keen on the idea of spending Christmas with her - but not being that kind of Santa, she offers to allow Kaoru to see any person he wishes to see - giving him a chance to finally see his mother again. Next day, though, Santa's still around, and somehow ends up on a date with Kaoru...

Essentially, this volume brings more of the same for Ai Yori Aoshi - although when I talk about "more of the same", I'm referring to the comedy / harem aspect of the show - the love story / romance aspect between Aoi and Kaoru is sadly almost completely missing here, bar one or two small scenes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for at least one or two mushy episodes before the end of the season, as that's where the shows strengths lie, and I've never quite figured why they don't play to them more - the first season had a similar failing, and it's just compunded here.

Apart from that, you get 4 episodes of typically harem-esque fun, meaning this is a good disc for vegging out to, and that you shouldn't expect anything too taxing or unpredictable. There's nothing here that hasn't been done in several other harem shows, but AYA does manage to pull it of with a certain amount of flair. Chika takes most of the disc's focus, being heavily involved in three of the four episodes and with a running joke developing about her habit of crawling into bed with Kaoru every night - she's one of my favourite characters, thanks to her innocent optimism, so I've got no problem with her hogging the limelight. It does leave the other girls a little pushed to the side, though.

I can't deny I quite enjoyed this volume - I laughed, I sniggered, I enjoyed the short tennis skirts as much as Kaoru clearly did - but I can't help but think they've got the emphasis wrong. We've already seen just how touching the series can be when the focus is on Aoi and Kaoru, but that potential just isn't used here - and that's a damned shame. Just as well there's still enough good stuff here to make the volume worth picking up, though - if you can still find it...

Rating - ***

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