Ai yori Aoshi Vol. #04 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1591826489
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Ai yori Aoshi Vol. #04

By Mike Dungan     November 04, 2004
Release Date: July 01, 2004

Ai yori Aoshi Vol.#04

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kou Fumizuki
Translated by:Translator: Alethea Nibley, Athena Nibley / English Adaptation: Jamie Rich
Adapted by:

What They Say
When Kaoru runs into his childhood friend Mayu, who is home after her stay in jolly old England, she greets him with a big, wet European-style kiss! The longtime companions share an intense, intimate history together, which causes an upset Aoi to wonder if her fiancee's brains are getting caught in his zipper. Filled with feelings of guilt, Kaoru sets out to do the right thing... but where does his heart lie?

The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Volume 4 introduces a new character to the mini-harem that surrounds Kaoru: Mayu Miyuki. She's only 16, but she's already in college. She's just returned from 4 years of studying in England, and as soon as she sees Karou, she jumps on him and plants a big wet one on his lips in sight of the entire student body. She remembers him from when he was still living with the Hanabishi's. She drags him around with her, having him give her a private tour of the school. She then drags him home with her for dinner. She desperately tries to get him to stay the night when he tries to go home. We finally get to see what it is that makes her so mad about him. When she was younger, he befriended her at her birthday party. Her life was cold, empty and lonely, with distant parents who never had time for her. His simple act of kindness made a deep impression on her, and she has been in love with him ever since. It doesn't take time for Aoi to learn about how Mayu kissed Kaoru, and it affects her deeply.

The second half of the book is a trip to the mountains during Golden Week. Aoi suggests Kaoru, Tina, Taeko and Miyabi all head up to one of the Sakuraba houses at a mountain hot spring. Of course, this is a chance for some great fanservice, as everyone gets naked and of course, Tina can't help grabbing breasts, especially Taeko's overgrown endowments. The real reason for the trip is for Aoi to take Kaoru to a special place from their past. The ferret uncovered an ornate key that was used by Kaoru to inscribe their names on a tree on the estate may years ago when they were children. Aoi's return of the key to Kaoru brings back a flood of memories and creates a beautiful moment between the two of them.

Kou Fumizuki's seinen romance is a masterful blend of fanservice and romance, ecchiness and emotion, breasts and heart. The introduction of Mayu gives Aoi someone to worry about, since she has no problem with letting anyone and everyone know how much she loves Kaoru. Mayu and Tina become instant rivals, getting on each other's nerves right from the start. She could easily be very annoying, but Fumizuki gives her a backstory that makes her very sympathetic. The trip to the mountain gives the reader plenty of fanservice to ogle, but it's the moments between Aoi and Kaoru that gives the book it's heart and makes it something special. Fumizuki's art is unique. The characters have a roundness to them that makes them appear slightly cartoonish. The character expressions are excellent, with a lot of emotion visible. The women are all beautiful, but each in their own way. In the ongoing "Who gets naked and shows off the goods in this issue" sweepstakes, Tina and, finally, Taeko give it up for us. Tina has a new turbo-matic fondling technique she shows off on a rather cutely embarrassed Taeko.

The cover is an image of Aoi in her dark blue kimono, holding a light piece of cloth over her head like a bride. The back cover has an instant photo of Mayu in her school uniform wearing a rather excessively oversized hat. The light blue and pink is as attractive as ever. The inside front and back covers have small chibi-sized images of some of the characters, taken from the inside dust-covers from the Japanese release. The front of the book has a two-page "story so far" feature that also introduces several of the characters. The back of the book has three pages of notes about Golden Week, the Japanese school year, and what several of the sound effects are. There are two more chapters of the hilairous Ai-Ao Theater, concerning Tina's love of all things occult. Art reproduction is good, with well reproduced screentones and good detail. The English adaptation is excellent as well, with each character speaking in their own unique voice and a minimum of silly pop-culture references to date it. All honorifics are retained, which works well for this story. A few, though not nearly enough sound effects have a translation next to it, something Tokyopop really should do more of. This is one of Tokyopop's best titles, both in terms of how the property is being treated and the actual story and art. If you want a story with beautiful women and a romance that rings true, then this is the title for you.


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