Ai yori Aoshi Vol. #05 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1591826497
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Ai yori Aoshi Vol. #05

By Mike Dungan     November 05, 2004
Release Date: October 01, 2004

Ai yori Aoshi Vol.#05

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

What They Say
As Kaoru and Tina go ape over the animals at the zoo, poor little Aoi worries that the couple will have an animal attraction toward each other. But while Aoi is going bananas over their wild life, Kaoru and Tina are put on display in a park exhibition. There, the couple must decide whether they are friends, more than friends, or the love of each other's life!

The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Tina wants to go see the monkeys! There are monkeys at the zoo and Tina wants to see them! She immediately calls an emergency photoclub trip to the zoo, but everyone finds something else to do except her and Kaoru. A day out with just her and Kaoru isn't what she intended, but it makes her very happy. Part of the trip is a detour to a theme park with some very odd rules, and a huge surprise for both Tina and Kaoru. A storm comes in, stranding the two of them far from home. They take refuge in the only place they can find to spend the night: a love hotel. Amidst the karaoke, beer and sexual tension, Tina manages to come to an important decision about Kaoru and how she feels about him.

There is a special chapter about cleaning all the rooms in the house which leads to the ferret finally earning a name. Next, Aoi falls ill and the entire household has to chip in to get the chores done, causing Kaoru to gain an even greater appreciation for all the work Aoi does. The next two chapters move the clock back to a time after Kaoru moved out of the Hanabishi household, and before he was reunited with Aoi. In what can only be considered a story outside of the real story timeline, Kaoru meets Santa Claus, who turns out to be exactly like Aoi. She gives him a memorable gift, and he gives her a gift she never considered before. Finally, the last two chapters finds Mayu in full maid outfit at the Sakuraba house, learning to cook and clean from Aoi herself in order to be a better bride for her Hanabishi-sama.

After the large story arcs of the previous volume, this volume steps back for a bit of fun, and even a little bit of fantasy. Tina has always been a favorite character of mine, and the trip to the zoo and the night together in the love hotel makes her even more sympathetic. She shows there is a lot more to her than a hard-drinking party girl. The short chapter about cleaning the house is little more than a nice diversion, but at least it gives Fumizuki a chance to throw in a short little Mahoromatic parody. The chapter of Aoi getting a cold may be an old plot device, but it's the moments between her and Kaoru that makes it worthwhile. The Christmas chapter may seem a little odd, but Aoi in a Santa suit is more than worth it. Fumizuki's art is as solid as ever, with cute and very uniquely drawn character designs. There is a softness and voluptiousness to the way he draws women that makes them seem more realistic than the waif-thin characters a lot of other artists seem to prefer. In the ongoing "Who gets naked and shows off the goods in this issue" sweepstakes, Tina comes through for us.

The cover is Aoi in a light blue kimono with a floral pattern on it, holding a branch from a cherry tree, with the cherry blossoms in bloom. It's only ruined by the blakc and white, jagged-edged Parental Advisory printed on the cover. It really should have been either a sticker or printed on the back cover. The back cover is a snapshot of Aoi playing a koto in a in a gentle cloud of sakura. Like in previous volumes, the inside front and back covers feature the chibi characters from the dust jacket of the Japanese release. The front of the book has a two-page "story so far" feature that introduces several key characters. The back has two pages of cultural notes explaining Love Hotels, the koto, bento lunches and the derivation of the ferret's new name. There are two more chapters of the great Ai-Ao Theater; this time Miyabi tries to decide which Aoi is the real Aoi. The art reproduction is very good with well reproduced screen tones and sharp details. The English adaptation is excellent as ever. A few, but not nearly enough, sound effects are translated. This is the one area where Tokyopop falls behind the competition. When a panel is simply a headshot with Japanese writing in the background, we want to know what it's saying. A reader should not have to be able to read hiragana and katakana to be able to read a book that's ostensibly translated into English. In all other respects, however, this is one of the best handled books in Tokyopop's lineup, no doubt thanks to Editor Jake Forbes' tireless efforts. This is a beautiful, believable romance with a healthy dose of gorgeous and occasionally naked women thrown in for good measure. I highly recommend it.


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