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Being a Brief Discussion of Anime Dubs: Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi, Volume Two
By Way Jeng
September 14, 2004
Hello, once again, to another installment of "Being a Brief Discussion..." Today I'd like to take a look at the second volume of Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi, released by Geneon Entertainment and dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment. This is a fun show, and an equally fun dub to listen to.
Taking the female lead for the show is Michelle Ruff, playing the part of Aoi. Overall, this is a solid performance. Ms. Ruff's performance is undeniably sweet and soft, sometimes to a fault. There are a few scenes in episode six where Aoi is called upon to put some steel in her voice, and the stern characterization simply isn't present. Aoi sounds far too nice to make the most of these scenes. Fortunately, these scenes are only present in episode six, so viewers watching the show can look forward to Ms. Ruff's otherwise solid work.
Dave Lelyveld plays Kaoru, the male lead for the show. This performance may be the strongest of the entire cast. Mr. Lelyveld does an excellent job of capturing his character's emotion, especially during times when Kaoru is flustered. His nervous laughter is outstanding, and through the volume there are no major points of weakness to speak of.
Kirsty Pape performs well as Mayu, one of many girls vying for Kaoru's attention. This character is possessed of an almost overwhelming haughty air, which matches her personality well. The childish whining Mayu exhibits is especially entertaining, being sincere without being too annoying. The performance is prominently featured in episode five, and Ms. Pape's fans will undoubtedly want to pay close attention to that episode.
Wendee Lee, playing the character of Tina, has the strongest performance in the female cast. The performance is most notable for its almost limitless energy and vitality. At any given time Tina puts everything she has into her endeavors, and Ms. Lee's delivery matches that enthusiasm. The most enjoyable facet of this performance is the fact that it manages to capture the character's energy without going so far as to be too over-the-top.
Ms. Miyabi, voiced by Lia Sargent, is as stern a character as anybody could ask for. This performance had no weak spots to speak of, and handled the softer and slower moments relatively well. Ms. Sargent had an occasional tendency to slip out of voice during these scenes in previous volumes of Ai Yori Aoshi, but her voicing in this volume shows great improvement in that regard.
Kay Jensen provides the voice for Chika. Though a solid performance in its own right, fans who watch this volume should take a moment to compare Ms. Jensen's performance with Wendee Lee's work as Tina. Both are playing characters with a lot of energy, yet the voices are distinctly different. Besides an obvious difference in pitch, Ms. Jensen's voicing highlights the innocence and simplicity of her character's personality.
Last among the core cast members is Sue Beth Arden, playing Taeko. Though a relatively minor role in this volume, Ms. Arden's voice remains consistent with the work she's done with the character in earlier volumes. Her straightforward honesty brings out Taeko's aggressive naiveté, and this can be seen in the flashback sequences of episode seven.
Turning to look at some of the minor characters in this show, Julie Ann Taylor and Midge Mayes give good performances as Natsuki and Chizuru, respectively. Both can be heard in volume eight, and while neither has any moments of brilliance they equally lack flawed scenes worth mentioning.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi, volume two, lacks the slow pace and deliberate atmosphere that characterized the beginning and ending of the first season of the show, but it makes up for any deficiency by adding in more comedy. In a sense that reinforces the cohesion of the show because the series isn't trying to fuse comedic elements with contemplative ones. The show is also successful with the comedy, as Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi is shaping up to be one of the funnier shows currently being produced. Tina and Taeko, for example, are the source of almost limitless laughs. On the other hand, it's unfortunate to see a show take a more conservative approach after aspiring to lofty goals in the past. But for all that this is still an entertaining show, and certainly one that a lot of viewers will enjoy.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2004 Way Jeng