Ai Yori Aoshi Vol. #2: My Dearest (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, May 02, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, April 22, 2003
The growing love of Kaoru and Aoi continues, although a bit slowly now, as
we get into Volume 2 of Ai Yori Aoshi
I listened only to the English track for this review.The dialogue is clear
and never is distorted in any way. Sound is the same level in both the menus and the actual episodes. The music is great as it never really dies
down. It stays the same throughout the disc. The only complaints I really had was that for some reason, they decided to put a reggae type of background music for a couple of scenes, while it had a great sound, it just didn't fit in with the rest of the music. My last complaint would be for Tina to never sing karaoke again.
2003 is the year of the great transfers. The colors are bright, clear
and so vibrant. No real problems here as the transfer looks gorgeous. Some examples of the bright colors would have to be Ms. Miyabi's hair, and Aoi-Chan's kimono. The colors just shine throughout this transfer.
The 2nd volume in the series continues the clear case and it also continues the reversible cover. The front cover provides a group shot of the girls of the show with Taeko and Tina getting the Up close shot with Miyabi and Aoi in the back. It's a great front cover as we get to see all the girls in Kaoru's life in one cover shot. The volume number and the title of the volume as well as the title in Japanese and in English are also on the front cover. The back cover has the volume number with the episode titles and their corresponding numbers. It also has a summary for this volume and it has a plentiful choice of screen shots. Finally it has the extra listings and the credits for the volume. The front part of the insert has a background picture of Tina embedded into the background, while next to it is some screen shots with the Episode listings that correspond to them. It also has the series name in Japanese and English, the volume number and name as well as a box that has the!
listings of the extras. The back p
The menus are done as photographs. The main menu has the music playing
and it has some a nice effect of falling pedals. Each of the backgrounds
for the menu and sub menus has a picture of a different part of a Japanese home. Each of the sub menus have several photographs, and moving to the submenus is fast and when moving to them, a nice water effect occurs.
For this volume we get not one, but two versions of the opening theme.
One is the textless version of the English version while we get the
Original Japanese dialogue theme also. It was nice getting both of these in this volume, but I wish that you could have two separate options to pick them, instead of just one so that if you wanted to, you could just pick the one you choose to see. We also get a unofficial trailer. I have a problem with this trailer a little bit. It has a different kind of dialogue for this trailer such as Aoi saying " Lord Kaoru" instead of "Kaoru-sama". It is a great trailer but it got on my nerves that it had some different dialogue. We get the standard trailers including a special trailer for L/R(Licensed by Royalty) that must be seen if you have been waiting for it. The final extra is a great gallery of Tina and Ms. Miyabi. It's a great gallery as we get to see many of the outfits that both of them will wear during the series. I just wish it would have all been in color, but it is still otherwise a pleasant extra to watch.
Content:(this review may contain spoilers)
Volume Two continues where volume one left off. With the last two episodes
of volume one, we were introduced to two more characters which were Tina
and Miyabi. With the introduction of them both, we are given a huge step
back in the growing of the love between Aoi and Kaoru. While it was a big
blow to the love story, it is one that has purpose as we can really truly
see if they are meant to be together. With that said, volume two kicks off
with another girl moving into the mansion. This time, it's the youngest
member of the Photo Club who moves in, her name is Taeko Minasuki, and with her, well let's just say that she is not even safe from herself. We
find out that she got fired from her job as a live-in maid, and as she is a live-in maid, thus has nowhere to live now. So she goes to the mansion to go talk to Tina, as before Tina said if you ever needed advice to come talk to her. So as the episode continues, we find out that Miyabi needs some help, so she decides to hire her on a trial basis. That trial basis doesn't go too smooth, as we soon see that Taeko can't handle even the basic chores, so Miyabi gets mad and I mean really gets mad at her for not doing so good of a job, so through that we find out later why she chose to be a maid, and it's because of her mother. Her mother was a single parent, so that is the basis for her trying to be a maid. The reason is because her mom did everything for her even though it was only her, and by doing that, it inspired Taeko to do something by herself so that she could make her mom proud. We learn that even Taeko may be a klutz, she tries her hardest and really never gives up. By !
her trying hard, she gets to be the
The next episode is the group take a field trip to the hot springs episode. This episode really is a fun episode as we see what kind of power Aoi's family really has, we also see Tina's scary karaoke singing, and we also see the love of Kaoru and Aoi grow just a bit more. We also see that Taeko is one really strange person as she has to go through a ritual that every photo club member has to do. This ritual which would scare mostly every person, actually has Taeko not scared at all and therefore is excited and is up to the task. It's a nice way of trying to establish the character and her thoughts.
The next two episodes deal with Tina mostly, as we are introduced to a
pet ferret that Tina gets and decides to raise it in the house. Of course, the ferret messes up the whole house, and it doesn't sit too well with Miyabi. At first Miyabi doesn't let her heart open up as she says that she hates the ferret, but as the rest of the gang winds up liking the ferret, we find out that the ferret actually likes Miyabi the most. Through a incident with the ferret, Miyabi in the end decides to open her heart to the ferret and sheaccepts it as part of the house now. With now a pet in the house, we see that Miyabi has a good heart, it's just hidden way beneath her.
The second to the last episode deals with Tina again, but this time we
see a different side of her. Through various events that conspire, Her and Kaoru are the only ones left in the house. That of course makes Kaoru instantly get some naughty thoughts about Tina, but nothing happens, that is until the house loses power, and we find out that Tina hates the dark. At the end of the night, Tina and Kaoru wind up in the same futon and he tries to control himself. Of course he successfully does control himself, but it was funny to see him control himself. Later on he and Tina take a trip to a shrine and this is when we see a different side of Tina. We see her as a child through flashbacks, and we also find out that she was the one that introduced Kaoru to the photo club. This episode is a really great character growth episode for Tina, as we see some of her childhood and we get to see a softer side of Tina.
Finally the last episode deals with Kaoru and Aoi. It all starts with us
seeing the University side of Kaoru, through some photos that were taken
there. This is a side in which Aoi has never seen of him. This side of
Kaoru really intrigues Aoi, and of course with her, she of course wants
to know more about this unknown side of him. So before he gets kicked out
by Miyabi we find out about a cuisine called Taiyaki. It so happens that
it is served in a stand that is said to be mythical because no one ever knows where it will show up. We find out that Tina is the only one that has ever tasted this cuisine, of course that means the others would like to taste it as well. As the episode progresses, we see that the stand has popped up next to the mansion, and so Aoi decides to get some, so that she and Kaoru can taste it for themselves. This all sets up the real purpose and that is for Aoi to visit Kaoru's university. We learn some very interesting things about Aoi. We learned that she really hasn't been in the outside world a lot, as she gets afraid when some guys go up and talk to her about her being a movie star. So she gets all worried and runs away by doing that she gets lost. Tina and Taeko find out she is on campus and so they find Kaoru. So he finds her, and in the end, she finds out about Kaoru's university life, and they even take a photo. In the end, we find out that she has fell even more in love !
This volume is a good continuation off the last one. It's good because
even though they do tone down the love story, they do continue it at a more slow pace, and by them doing that we can savor the moments they have
together even more. By the introduction of more girls in the series, we will truly find out if Kaoru and Aoi are really meant to be. In the end, this volume is really more about the girls and less of Kaoru, but even though that is the case, we still see some flashes of the love that will continue to brew between Kaoru and Aoi. A great volume and a must for any one who has seen the first. I just can't wait to see more of this series.
Sony 32 inch Trintron TV, Sony DD Receiver, Lasonic All Region DVD Player, MTX Speakers
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: A+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ai Yori Aoshi