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Ai Yori Aoshi Vol. 5: With All My Heart (2002)

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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Geneon
Genre: Anime
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Synopsis
When Aoi falls ill, everyone at the Sakuraba mansion falls apart trying to fill her shoes with the necessary household chores. Then, Kaoru invites Aoi to visit someone special, she finds herself being introduced to Kaoru's mother's grave as someone important in his life. As their love for each other truly blossoms, Kaoru and Aoi encounter a severe frost - Aoi's father forces Aoi to return home in an attempt to seperate her from Kaoru forever!

GreenCine Member Reviews

Blue is my favorite color by cmeddins October 23, 2003 - 3:16 PM PDT
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8 out of 8 members found this review helpful
This review covers the entire series. I'll use two voices to review Ai Yori Aoshi (Bluer than Indigo?). My voice of reason will speak to the basics and point out flaws and issues while my emotional voice will ignore all that and tell you how I really felt. This is a harem series albeit with a deeper overarching story. Kaoru Hanabishi is the seemingly unremarkable but lucky guy who ends up living in a mansion filled with three gorgeous girls his own age, an older woman - also gorgeous, and two younger girls, all of whom more or less adore him. Kaoru is a penniless college student scraping by with odd jobs. From the first episode you get the sense that he is really a nice guy and I guess he's drawn to look fairly handsome. However, as the story opens he's pretty much a loner and has never even had a girl in his apartment much less a serious relationship. Enter Aoi Sakuraba who was once engaged to Kaoru through an arrangement between their two families when they were both young children. Aoi is from a very wealthy and highly respected clan and has been trained all her life to be a traditional Japanese wife. She always wears a kimono - the Sakuraba conglomerate makes them - and is very formal and polite - sometimes to the extreme. Aoi and Kaoru are the primary characters and their personal growth and development of their relationship from the common threads of their past that ties them together is the heart of the story. Watching Aoi discover and slowly adapt to the world outside her sheltered upbringing adds some interesting texture. How Kaoru ends up in a harem situation is... well that's all in the story.

Mr. Reason: At it's best the story of Aoi and Kaoru is both fascinating and touching. At it's worst it can be almost nauseating as Aoi can be sickly sweet and waits on Kaoru (and the other tenants) hand and foot (I'd love to know what rent she charges them to live there!). She offers Kaoru an unconditional love that hardly seems to have been earned - at least at first. The silly harem stuff is pretty typical. One of the girls is Tina - a brash American raised in Japan who has a very interesting way of, er, greeting women (she never meets a breast she doesn't like). Through the course of the series she and Kaoru have some interesting encounters and you get the sense that if Aoi hadn't shown up he may have succumbed fairly quickly to her advances. The rest of the girls all have some Kaoru moments, some silly and some more serious, but they mostly are used to set the stage for Aoi and Kaoru. I'd rate the series PG13 for some brief nudity and adult situations(the opening starts with a nude of Aoi that I could have done without even though it is somewhat androgynous). There's plenty of sake consumed as well - mostly by Tina. There is some violence in the form of severe corporal punishment that might be disturbing to young children. The animation is very clean and the colors are very vibrant. It's very pretty visually. I liked the music and both the opening and closing themes. I watched most episodes in both Japanese and English dub. I liked both though I think hneline1 makes an excellent point in her review of Disc 1 on the subtlety of the Japanese language regarding how the various levels of formality are expressed. I'm not very knowledgeable in that area so I'm not sure I could fully appreciate it. However, I did get a better understanding of the Japanese use of suffixes (chan, sama, dono, etc.) by watching it in the original Japanese with subtitles (It was interesting how the English dub employed some Japanese suffixes directly - like chan and sama - but translated others into the nearest English equivalents - like Mr and Miss and Lord and Lady - If only Please Teacher! had just used senpai in their English dub!). In sum, this is a likable series with a mixture of a sweet romance with some silly slapstick harem situations on the side. Its biggest problem is a semi-degrading depiction of Aoi and her seeming complete subservience to Kaoru. Another problem is how it sets things up to have Kaoru secretly engaged to Aoi on the one hand and yet pursued right under her nose by all the other women. Well at least they didn't go for the Three's Company solution! Mr. Reason gives it a 7.

Mr. Emotion's review: Okay, I admit it. I loved it! Maybe it feeds a male fantasy or something. Let me try and defend myself some. In all fairness, Aoi's character does develop over time and she becomes more assertive - at least when it comes to protecting her love for Kaoru. I could see her character becoming more balanced in the future though honestly she still has a long way to go by the end of this season. In Kaoru's defense, he doesn't really abuse the situation and over time we see that he may indeed be worthy to have Aoi's love. Finally, in defense of the harem - well, actually I can't defend the harem. I pretty much endured the harem each episode in the hopes of seeing more development on the Aoi and Kaoru front. Some of it was funny and there were a couple of sweet moments and some secondary character development along the way. Of course sometimes too much of a good thing can ruin it. Maybe the silliness appropriately offset the more serious situations and issues with Aoi and Kaoru. Whatever! I liked the show and loved Aoichan and Kaorusama. I'm looking forward to the next series - Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~. Mr. Emotion loves blue hair and gives it an 11!




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 8.42)
170 Votes
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