Ai yori Aoshi Vol. #08 -

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: 192
  • ISBN: 1595323716
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Ai yori Aoshi Vol. #08

By Mike Dungan     June 10, 2005
Release Date: March 08, 2005

Ai yori Aoshi Vol.#08

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kou Fumizuki
Translated by:Alethea Nibley, Athena Nibley
Adapted by:

What They Say
Does size really matter to Kaoru? Aoi thinks so and is willing to try anything to boost her bust size! When the two finally get some alone time together, Kaoru takes Aoi to a very special place that is near and dear to his heart. However, one more person has entered the competition for Kaoru's affection, and her name is Chika-chan. Things start to spice up when Chika decides to slide into Kaoru's bed... while he's sleeping!

The Review
On the front cover, a smiling Aoi is seen lying on her stomach, feet kicked up behind her, her kimono sliding off her shoulders, displaying some impressive cleavage. The image is set over a photograph of pink flowers. The original Japanese logo is in the upper left corner with the English translation next to it. The back cover incorporates a Polaroid image of the entire gang smiling for the camera, again set over a photograph of pink flowers. The Japanese edition came with a dust jacket that included a couple of chibi images on the inside flaps. Those images are reproduced on the inside covers of this English edition. The inside back cover shows Chika and Taeko in maid uniforms, and Aoi in her kimono and an apron, all three ready to do some housework. The inside front cover has a great image of a blissful Aoi sneaking into Kaoru's futon as he sleeps. Three more chapters of the one page gags strips AiAo theater are included, this time centering on Aoi's fascination with Kaoru's futon, as well as Kaoru's dream gone very wrong. The art reproduction is good, displaying very little of the moiring that comes from scanning the art.

Kou Fumizuki draws lusciously endowed women in a unique and enjoyable manner. The figures are deliciously rounded, and the faces are highly expressive. He displays an excellent sense of comic timing. His heavy use of sharply contrasting white and black, especially in hair, sets his characters apart from most other artists in the same genre. It's all very pleasing and inviting. I'm also growing increasingly fond of his title page images. You'd think that there are only so many ways he can show off Aoi in her kimono, but he continues to find new and interesting poses. There is also a very playful image of Mayu in the splash page of a chapter titled "Piano" that will have the nekomimi fans drooling.

The English adaptation continues to read well. Nothing jumps out as being obviously inserted or excessively Americanized, nor does it have any of the stiltedness of a too literal script. The sound effects are not translated, a continuing disappointment in Tokyopop books. Some, though not all signs are translated, with the art edited to replace the Japanese text with English.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This volume starts with a short chapter that has Aoi worried she's not well-enough endowed for her Kaoru-sama. The next chapter opens with Kaoru having a very pleasant dream about Aoi. When he wakes, he finds everyone leaving the house on various errands that will leave him and Aoi alone for the whole day. Aoi makes the most of this gift, making demand after demand of the things she wants to do with Kaoru. He indulges them all, enjoying getting to see a side of Aoi that she never lets anyone else but him see. The next weekend, he takes her to visit his mother's gravesite, while confiding in Aoi everything he remembers about her.
Mayu's mother, a fashion designer, sends her a beautiful kimono, her first in many years. With Aoi's help, she puts it on, and not surprisingly, it's gorgeous. It puts her in a mood to try some very traditional pastimes, such as flower arranging and playing the koto, but she's not really suited to any of it. At Kaoru's insistence, Mayu displays a skill she was never very comfortable with. It's a great chapter for highlighting Mayu's beauty as well.
Chika travels to Tokyo to attend a Christmas party at Aoi's mansion, but things don't go well for her until Kaoru shows up. Afterwards, Kaoru has an important graduate test coming up. Everyone wants to help him pass, but it's really more of a chance to be the person whose help he will be most grateful for. When their "help" turns out to be a hindrance, Aoi is forced to show her scary side. With the test out of the way, it's time to party at a local bar. The group takes a private room and proceeds to get totally wasted. Mayu puts some impressive moves on Kaoru and Miyabi even lets her guard down. In the end, it’s some quiet time between Aoi and Kaoru that salvages the night.
With the new school year starting, Chika is now in high school, and has transferred to a school in Tokyo. This means she will be a new tenant at the mansion, working as a maid alongside Taeko to earn her keep. She takes full advantage of the situation, sliding into Kaoru's bed without a second thought. At the breakfast table, she innocently asks who likes Kaoru, which creates an uproar and launches an ocean of crimson faces. She doesn't give up, though, and keeps hounding everyone for an answer. The answers she gets superbly illustrate the various characters affection for Kaoru.

The combination of heartfelt romance and comedy is as impressive as ever. The fanservice may draw the reader in, but it's the tender moments that keep the reader coming back for more. Chika moves front and center into the story, finally moving into the mansion. She's also the supplier of the majority of nudity in this volume, with Taeko and Mayu chipping in to a smaller extent. Her cheerful attitude and abundant energy are a good addition to the cast, blending in well with the already excellent chemistry between characters. Kaoru and Aoi's relationship gets a good push forward with the trip to visit the grave of Kaoru's mother. Mayu gets an excellent chapter devoted to her as well. Ai Yori Aoshi is a special story, one I always look forward to. Strongly recommended.


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