Now, I was not drawn to this anime by the cover of the first manga, which is rather provocative, but by a line I saw when they were advertising it: “Do you remember your first love? She remembers you!” “Ai Yori Aoshi” (“Bluer than Indigo”) tells the story of Kaoru Hanabishi (can you find him up there. I’ll wait a moment.)
He appears to be an average university student, but in reality, he’s the eldest son of Yūji Hanabishi, the head of the Hanabishi Zaibatsu, and was set to take over the zaibatsu (family-controlled business conglomerates) after his father retired. His mother, Kumi Honjō, and his father never married, making life difficult for both him and his mother. Kaoru’s father died when he was five years old. Since then, Yūji’s grandfather, Gen’ichiro Hanabishi, took Kaoru under his wing and began educating him for the eventual succession. Yet Kaoru never felt at home in the Hanabishi family and left to live alone in self-imposed exile after his mother died. Day by day he felt alone, thinking that he was living life with no reason pushing him on.
One day, he espies a young maiden in the Ikebukuro subway station (and, funny, we do not bump into any of the Durarara!! characters). She is very out of place, dressed in a kimono when there is no celebration afoot (and I am sure you can track HER down easily). She has broken the strap on her zori and Kaoru repairs it. She has come to Tokyo, looking for a long-lost love and he agrees to help her find him. Quel dommage, the address she has is a vacant lot and it starts to rain. Feeling for her, he takes her to his crappy student apartment and learns that she is Aoi Sakuraba. Not only does he know her, they were betrothed to be married, until he walked away from it all.
Sadly, Aoi’s handler shows up the next day, Kagurazaki Miyabi (the one with the big…..cup of tea). She is to take Aoi back; Aoi refuses, willing to sacrifice all to remain with Kaoru. Since the Hanabishis do not want a level of scandal as with Kaoru’s family, they are willing to ‘donate’ a grand house in the area for them to live…..PROVIDED Kaoru stays in the guest house and not breathe a word about their relationship.
The show revolves around issues of trust and growth. Aoi has led such a sheltered life that she really does not understand the outside world and is ALWAYS worried that Kaoru doesn’t love her and will leave her. Kaoru is uncertain how to handle the other ladies that enter his life and not to offend or hurt Aoi. And, boy, do those ladies enter and intrude.
We have Tina Foster up there, an American in Tokyo (blonde hair, blue eyes, big jimmies). She is part of the Photo Club that Kaoru belongs to and has come back from touring the world. She greets all females the same way…she comes up behind them and grasps their breasts, commenting on their size.
We have Taeko Minazuki, that fleshy maid type. She is the worst maid ever, as she is clumsy and cooks everything with chocolate. She has a big heart…necessary to supply blood to those big breasts of her. She has feelings for Kaoru and is oblivious to the relationship between Kaoru and Aoi.
We have Mayu Miyuki, with Uzume the ferret. She is a prodigy and attends this college by accident. She met Kaoru at her 12th birthday party and he cheered her up and now, she has designs on him. Being rich has advantages, but she can’t make Kaoru fall for her.
We have Chika Minazuki, cousin to our fleshy maid. She is the very tan one, as she spends her time at the beach. She sees Kaoru as a big brother, but tries to help connect him up with Taeko (with the predictable romantic comedy harem results).
There is a second season that takes place about two or three years after the end of this one, but that awaits another time and review. Suffice to say that Aoi is really plagued that one day, Kaoru will find another and go skipping into the sunset with them, leaving Aoi bereft (and with Uzume to dry her tears. It’s so sad, *sob*). I did enjoy the gentle nature of their romance and the accidental erotic interludes, but there is nothing to get embarrassed about.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (A good art design)
Plot 6 (Rather standard)
Pacing 8 (Keeps a balance well)
Effectiveness 6 (The lack of real headway can frustrate)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 3 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 8 (A lot of that ‘sameness’ feel)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Out of the mansion by 10 pm!