Miyabi, Tina, and now Taeko. These are the girls living in the Sakuraba Mansion with Kaoru and Aoi that are not Kaoru?s girlfriends! While Kaoru succeeds in remaining faithful, the misunderstandings and challenges from t... more »hese girls and the crazy situations they experience may still lead to bodily injury for our hero. Between ferrets and wild bathhouse parties, clumsy housekeepers and romantic evenings alone with women you are trying not to date, Kaoru can?t stay out of trouble! Then again, his pain is our entertainment?« less
Courtland J. Carpenter | Fort Wayne, Indiana United States | 05/13/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This Series which had an excellent first few episodes degrades quickly to traditional lite anime plot devices. The pet, the clumsy person, the letchers, the ghost stories, etc. There are still occasional moments of a growing love relationship between the two principal characters, and that makes it fair. Unfortunately the original promise of the series does not reappear until near the of its 26 episode run. Fans of the romantic genre should wait for upcoming release of Maison Ikkoku.
If you have to buy everything romantic thats out there ok, but remember this is simply light fan fair for most of the remaining episodes. You get the obligatory crushes, beach episodes, and road trips. If you skip to the last DVD in the series after buying the first and just get those two you really won't miss much in between."
GAIL BRANDT | Baton Rouge,LA United States | 04/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At first many people who look at it may say it looks like another Love Hina,which I also collect,but let me tell you it isn't really.The characters are great.The stories are more original.In some ways it is much better than Love Hina.I fully recommend this series to any anime fans who love romance animes.Believe me you won't be sorry."
One of my favorites
khryoleoz | 05/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am too familiar with and well aware of the areas in which Ai Yori Aoshi may be criticized. And on an intellectual level I would agree. There is absolutely no purpose to Tina's overtly perverse and rude behavior, which was for all intent a grossly distorted crack at American conduct. Taeko may have been more amiable had the character not been a stereotypical clumsy but well-meaning goof of a beauty who is the most endowed among the cast. And Aoi is so subservient, deferring her own wishes, ambitions and aspirations to a weakling that had abandoned her in the first place that it defies reality and suspends disbelief. And its most significant failing may be said to be its dishonesty. To begin with exposition of a profound romantic premise that after four episodes takes not just a detour, but a full 180-degree turn to become something less and driven by slapstick and fanservice is just deceitful and misleading. As a romantic drama, the title is guilty of all its shortcomings.
But what if the original intent had not been to create a romantic drama, but to sell a product that is highly popular among male demographics? And what if success in this business venture was to be found in illustrated literature that falls under a genre in which a harem was not only common, but fundamental? Moreover, what if author and artist Fumizuki Kou was a skilled and gifted writer able to conceive strong situations that test his characters and thus move his readers? And, that despite his need to eat and pay rent or the mortgage, his respect for his own artistry forbids him from producing entirely unsubstantial material, that he devises a plan to bring about warmth, richness, and dimension to the product. And that he does so by setting its foundation on the love of two childhood friends bethrothed to one another but separated by bitter familial politics. But he would decisively and canonically establish an exciting destiny for these two no matter who was thrown in the mix. And to highten and strengthen the dramatic impact, he would develop the two in the most engrossing fashion by sparsely placing throughout the series the tender, touching, inspiring, and captivating moments of intimacy shared between them. And as the two of them engage one another, we are exposed to their thoughts and emotions, raw in the pursuit of the other's well being but founded on a compelling desire to be the source of nourishment to the other. Finally, their interaction would be pure, honest, mutually exclusive, and courageously untainted by any form of wanton and gratuitous sexual provacation (Tina's antics notwithstanding) as is common in today's smut being passed off as romance. What if the powerful romantic elements of Ai Yori Aoshi was merely a component used to enrich the product belonging to a genre from which there certainly was no shortage?
This is how I view Ai Yori Aoshi. It is an enjoyable harem anime based on a fine manga. As a harem anime, it would then be expected for one male to end up in situations where he is living with many women. Yet, the title sets itself apart in execution, as it profoundly explores and develops that romantic component that was sorely neglected in Love Hina and diverted away from in Tenchi. It is also ludicrous to judge the character of Aoi Sakuraba in light of western upbringing and not consider the cultural context from which she was conceived. Whatever it is that one may say about her only demonstrates one's position about the culture, and not fallacies about her conception. The Aoi and Kaoru moments were few indeed, but they were moving and utterly delightful, and their rareness made them all the more special when they did occur. I have nothing but the deepest affection and fondness for Ai Yori Aoshi. I've not seen anything as breadthly emotional in a romance, not the books I've read by jaded authors nor any film or video to which their efforts I ascribe superficial. This title is one that I continue to watch over and over again. If the elitist viewer can get over him or herself, there is much to enjoy in this fine production."
A growing cast adds panty-shots and not much more
Thomas Lent | Hayward, CA United States | 04/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This portion of the series offers enough character development and endearing scenes between the main couple to remain enjoyable. The comedy offers nothing new. Yes, it's funny, but we all know what panties look like by now.Taeko is one of the most enjoyable character aside from her clumsiness. Her drive to be "good enough" is such a strong aspect of her character, it seems that everybody could learn from her will alone. And, typically the only reason to bury a girl's face in those huge glasses is to make her a beauty in disguise. Once those frames come off, she may become irresistable to the male characters... If her.. ahem.. "assets" aren't impressive enough.Tina's character also grows as certain events give clue to a possible inferiority complex. One could only hope here character is given more depth as the series continues.All-in-all this is still an enjoyable series which has greatly lightened up after the first disk. The story still shines best when Kaoru and Aoi spend time together or express their desire to do so. Episode 10 makes for the nicest misty-eyed experience."
Together for the first time?
Michael Valdivielso | Alexandria, VA | 03/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not really. While Kaoru and Aoi ARE living on the Sakuraba Mansion grounds, most of the time they can't even see each other. And when they are together, there is also Miyabi, Tina and Taeko, who also get in the way. Add wild parties, ghosts, ferrets and an evening alone with the WRONG woman and you have one of the funniest series around. Yet don't let the humor throw you, sometimes it can be VERY serious.
FIVE episodes plus tons of extras, makes this DVD, and all the DVDs in the series, great buys!"