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Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ #2: Bond PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Thursday, 13 May 2010 00:00
Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ continues to pretty much miss the point - having proved during the first season that it can excel at romantic drama when it wants to, the second season sticks to harem comedy - fun as far as it goes, but aren't there already too many harem comedies in the world..?

5 - Piano
Mayu's mother has sent her a present - a dress, designed just for her. All she needs now is an opportunity to show it off, so she railroads Kaoru into going on a date with her (much to Tina's disgust, and it takes some explaining to get it past Aoi). Of course, Mayu's so focussed on showing off her dress that she forgets to decide where to go... With that sort of start, just how good a date can it be?

All dressed upLost in thought

6 - Journey
End of term approaches, and Kaoru needs to hand in his thesis before the holidays begin. Problem is, he's having a hard time getting any peace and quiet at the house to get it done. He eventually points out to everyone that he needs some space to work on it, but even that doesn't seem to get him the free time he needs. If he doesn't get it done, he'll be spending his summer holidays in supplementary classes - but what are the odds of his housemates leaving him alone for long enough to work on it?

No peace for KaoruUnexpected chef

7 - Summer Resort
Summer holidays - and with his thesis out of the way, Kaoru has the chance to go away for a summer break with the rest of the gang - as long as they can survive Taeko's driving (according to the guys at the game centre, she's really good...). Once there, it's straight to the onsen for most of the gang, while Aoi and Kaoru try to get some quality time together. Easier said than done, especially when Mayu shows up...

Tina's up to no good againJealous?

8 - Fish and Water
Chika's back in school ahead of the new term - not for lessons, but for swim club practice. While Chika & Natsuki have no problems swimming, though, their friend Chizuru just about drowns everytime she gets in the pool. With a competition coming up & Chizuru somehow managing to get selected (this is what happens when the people who pick the team never bother to attend practice), some expert tuition is needed. Sadly, the only person available is Tina...

Team listExtra training

Four episodes, and barely any Aoi to be seen - apart from the occasional short scene just to let you know the she and Kaoru are still together, it's the other girls that get the airtime here, primarily Chika and Mayu. It's a big failing of ~Enishi~ that it seems to forget about its biggest asset, focussing instead on the rest of the harem. It makes no sense to me to ignore the star of the show in favour of the supporting archetypes, but then I'm not an anime producer - what do I know.

Mayu's one of those characters who manage to be both annoying and adorable, in pretty much equal measures. This disc has her more in adorable mode, which is welcome to see - being with Kaoru tends to bring out the best in her, and she's far easier to watch here than she is when she's in jealous / posessive mode. Likewise, I'm a confirmed Chika fan, so having one episode devoted to her & her friends works for me.

Less fun are the two middle episodes, which are more 'ensemble' style and see poor Kaoru being put upon by the massed ranks of women around him. This is AYA at its weakest, really, going for the easy laughs - it gets them, and I can't deny smiling, but it's not what I started watching the series for.

Not that I'm saying these episodes are bad - just that, more than ever, AYA seems to have lost sight of where it began and what the main story should be. Most of these episodes are quite enjoyable in their own right, but I do wish there was more of Kaoru & Aoi together. It's kind of ironic, really - during the first season I was complaining that the show really didn't seem to know if it was a touching romance or a harem comedy - now, the writers seem to have decided which path to stick to, and I have to say I think they've made the wrong choice. Overall, this disc provides a good dose of comedy, but could be so much more.

Rating - ***

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