Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi Episode 0

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi

I was a little confused at the time frame of this episode, having never watched the original series (season one) or having read anything about this promo, but I'm now fairly sure that this episode takes place before the first season starts.

It seems like a sort of cheap episode, introducing Aoi but having it not really be her, and showing the other characters of the series running around. For someone like me who never saw the first season, a recap episode (or something like that) might have been better, though I suspect that it might be saved for episode one.

Either way, the animation is very pretty, and the music is suitably Christmas-like. It's kind of nice as we see hints of the various characters' personalities (i.e. Kaoru) and the overall storyline. Not much more to say, as I feel like I should wait for a real episode of the show to pass judgement, though it does make me somewhat want to hunt down the first season and check it out.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi Episode 07

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi

"Summer Resort"

To me, the most interesting thing I noticed in this episode is that Miyabi's car has the steering wheel on the left side. The layers of complexity about her character that reveals...

In classic style for this show, there's one moment between Aoi and Kaoru, where you can obviously see the door between their two faces. Of course, they try to kiss, and of course, someone (Taeko) bursts through, interrupting them. Yeah, that routine's pretty old (even before Ai Yori Aoshi was even concepted, really).

Anyways, the gang goes off on vacation, so they do all the standard anime/manga vacation stuff. Barbeque, hot springs, king game (which, amusingly, Tina is the one to know how to play).

Mooooore filler.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi Episode 08

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi

"Fish and Water"

The first half of this episode is miserable. Throw it away. Especially the last minute, where Tina goes into a fit of prepubescent breast grabbing. Let me restart this review.

"Fish and Water" (Part 2)

Hey, a training montage. Love those. Wrong music though.

So, during this episode, Tina talks about how she wished she could have gone to school in Japan. Being like everyone else, she thinks she'd have liked that better. That's an interesting bit of character development, sure, but it seems completely out of character. Tina doesn't act like everyone else, she's a total individual. Being forced into uniformity seems like it would have killed her.

So, Aoi and Kaoru combine for less than ten lines in this episode, which is really stupid.

Back to what the episode was about though, I feel like this episode was so stupid it offended by intelligence. I don't understand why they would make a show based around an adult relationship (Aoi and Kaoru) then have an entire episode around the youngest member (plus two additional young members) of the show.

Rating: D

Posted by Kei at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi Episode 1

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi

"Spring Blossom"

It's pretty rare that anime series go for a second season, but the fact that Enishi is means that we have to start out with another introductory/recap episode. This one feels a lot like a recap episode where the show's creators are trying to sell the show. There's a whole lot of fairly meaningless stuff that goes on, that didn't happen in your average episode of the first season. On the one hand, it does a good job of showing you everything you can expect in an episode of Ai Yori Aoshi, but on the other hand, it makes for a disjointed, scattered episode.

Each character gets a tiny introduction that tries to introduce you to their main roles/traits in the standard harem anime mold. Aoi and Kaoru are introduced, along with the state of their relationship. There's also a moment of gratuitous, random Aoi fanservice, which felt like the most "hey, watch this show!" part of the entire episode.

It's two years after the end of the first season of Ai Yori Aoshi, but it doesn't seem like much has changed. Of course, this episode doesn't really tell you anything, so we'll have to wait and see.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi Episode 2

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi


The second episode of the second season of Ai Yori Aoshi is the sort of pointless filler episode that was mostly absent from the first season (which also happens to be why I liked the first season).

Chika must be one of the fan favorite characters of this show if the second episode is dedicated to her (even before Kaoru and Aoi really get an episode--I consider the first episode to just be an everyone episode). We meet her two new friends: the quiet one and the tomboy (no reason to learn their names). One thing I do like about Tina (in addition to her cute character design), is her trademark laugh. She uses it way too much, but I still like it.

All the other characters in the show get a few minutes to do their thing (Taeko is clumsy but earnest, Tina grabs breasts and acts outrageous, Aoi is domestic and caring, Miyabi is businesslike and militant, Mayu is bossy and spoiled, and Kaoru is... well, he's not there).

This is a really disappointing episode for people (like me) who have already invested a good amount of time into the first season of this show. Hopefully it'll grow out of this rehash mode and pick up the Kaoru/Aoi relationship.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi Episode 3

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi


The second season of Ai Yori Aoshi continues to be a big disappointment for me, after really enjoying the second half of the first season. This is another big filler episode, where basically the personalities of the various characters are applied to a new setting--tennis, and there's some romantic stuff between Kaoru and Aoi that almost feels like the show's creators going, "Well, I guess we have to show them together."

Kaoru's character felt fairly abused in this episode, as he acts about 500% more perverted than he did in all of the first season. There also seemed to be an inordinate amount of super-deformed characters, and other stylistic departures that were much rarer in the first season.

But why should two seasons be the same, anyways? Unfortunately, even taking Enishi by itself, it's still barely better than mediocre. The production values are still great, but considering the second season is only half as long as the first, I just expected things to get to the point a little faster. Instead, we've had three episodes of lead-in filler, despite the fact most of the audience is probably reasonably familiar with what's going on.

The show's still gorgeous, but everything else is straight average.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 01:19 AM | Comments (0)

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi Episode 4

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi


Taeko and Mayu are my least favorite characters in the cast. Mayu, because she seems so superfluous to everything else that goes on, and Taeko, because I can't stand the stereotypical, clumsy anime female character.

Just my luck then that this episode is a Taeko episode. Tina thinks there's some sort of monster loose in the mansion, and the gang decides they need to investigate it, with demon hunter Taeko in the lead. Obviously there's no monster, and the whole episode is something of a metaphor for Taeko's relationship with Kaoru. Of course, it's really pointless, because Taeko (once again) refuses to do anything about her feelings for Kaoru (she gets interrupted, like every other time). But what's the point, anyways? It's not like Taeko is going to steal Kaoru away from Aoi.

There's also some very artifical stuff done to separate Kaoru and Taeko from the rest of the gang during their hunt, as the rest of the group runs away for no real reason other than to supply the two with an alone moment.

The second season of Ai Yori Aoshi has been a real disappointment.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi Episode 5

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi


Continuing the circuit of character episodes, this one is the Mayu episode. Mayu is sent a birthday present from her mother overseas, and it inspires her to ask Kaoru out on a date. Doing this freaks everyone else out, but as we wouldn't have a show unless they all agreed, Kaoru goes along with it (poor Kaoru, having to suffer these things for the sake of giving every character's fans their chance to see their favorite character alone with him).

In case you don't know, Mayu is probably one of the most annoying characters on the show. She's a rich, snobby girl who visits the mansion from time to tiem, and wants to win Kaoru's heart. So she goes on this date with Kaoru, which reaffirms her feelings for him, but of course goes no where, because Kaoru is loyal, even though he leads on all the other girls (unconsciously, maybe).

It's the standard girl + Kaoru episode, where they do some stuff, and in the end there's an opportunity for Kaoru to help the said girl see into herself and find out something about herself she didn't know before, and makes her love him even more.

The show still looks good, at least.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi Episode 6

Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi


I am so incredibly frustrated by Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi, but I think that some of this frustration is my fault. Objectively looking back at Ai Yori Aoshi's first season, there were large stretches where it was under par, but had enough good moments that made me like the show overall. I think the music and gorgeous animation also helped with my enjoyment, but Enishi's episodes have so far been a major disappointment.

The underlying subtext of conflict for Enishi is set up in that apparently the Sakuraba family is concerned about Kaoru's plans for his future. He doesn't have any, so they've probably got a point. Aoi will support him in anything, of course, because she has no life to live of her own, other than what Kaoru wants.

The other characters in the show play up to their normal stereotypes, and there's another party at the Sakuraba mansion (I wish I were keeping track of how many that makes it).

There's an agonizing lack of character or relationship development in Enishi, which only makes me hope that if they decide to do a third season, they somehow run out of filler ideas (ha!) and actually do something interesting. The potential is there to make a fantastic show, but it's completely squandered.

Rating: C-

Posted by Kei at 11:26 PM | Comments (2)