Creator: Kou Fumizuki
Adaptation: Jamie Rich
Publisher: TokyoPop
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genres: Comedy, Romance
RRP: $9.99
Ai Yori Aoshi v1
Reviewed by Hannah King

"Just as Kaoru Hanabishi resigns himself to going through his college years alone, he runs into the childhood sweetheart he hasn't seen since leaving home. Her name is Aoi Sakuraba and she has come to be his wife."

Very basically, think Love Hina, but without the stupidity.

But that's not the whole story, Ai Yuri Aoshi is not just a more intelligent Love Hina, it's actually a damn good story in and of itself. This first book starts very well with a short and sweet first introduction to the two main characters, Kaoru and Aoi, by having Kaoru help Aoi when she is lost and alone in a train station.

From the word go, both characters are lovable. Aoi is an intelligent yet cute and thoroughly traditional girl with a couragous streak half a mile wide. Kaoru is an honorable, helpful and slightly tormented young man whom also posseses a strong couragous streak. Niether character can be faulted, as both are believable - the kinds of people you would like to befriend in real life.

Other characters are involved of course, but the most prominent of them is Miyabi Kagurazaki, Aoi's bodyguard come companion. Miyabi turns up just as Kaoru and Aoi are getting into a comfortable rutine with each other, she of course throws things askew. As a character, Miyabi is the stereotypical taciturn, scary female that turns up in manga of this sort, however she is slightly more fleshed out than most.

The story itself is well written and interesting, a comfortable love story with just the right amount of twists and turns to keep you reading: Why, after all these years, has Aoi come looking for Kaoru? Why is Kaoru, in turn, so adamant about never returning to his family? All is explained in this volume.

Art wise this book is gorgeous. All the characters are beautifully rendered with individual appearances for all - Fumizuki's curvy style is perfectly suited for this type of story telling and she has been meticulous in her attention to detail - especially when it comes to the kimono Aoi habitually wears. However, as is the wont with this kind of manga, there is a lot of needless nudity and cleavage, but it doesn't really detract from the actual story - it also helps that Kaoru also ends up accidently exposing himself.

Over all, if you liked Love Hina, but wanted something with a bit more intelligence, I suggest you buy this book. I just hope the standard it has reached continues for the rest of the series.

Comments (0)

home | reviews | news | features | about us | advertise | privacy policy | contact us
All materials © Manga Life, 2005 - Site designed and hosted by Silver Bullet Hosting