Aoi House Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Release Date: Monday, May 01, 2006
Writer/Artist:Writer: Adam Arnold / Artist: Shiei
What They Say
Alex and Sandy were two normal guys just trying to get through college. That is, until their troublemaking hamster, Echiboo, gets them thrown out of their dorm rooms. With nowhere else to turn, the boys move into an anime clubhouse with five crazed yaoi fangirls calling all the shots!
Elle's obsessively high-strung, Nina's too laid back for her own good, Jessica's a total tease, Maria's a shy and reserved bookworm, and Morgan's just plain bonkers! Toss 'em all together and you've got a harem comedy that's truly like none other!
A fanboy's dream house, well maybe.
The color front cover depicts all seven main characters (eight if you include the hamster) with a white background. The book's title is nicely done with 'Aoi' written in greek letters and 'House' written in a somewhat girly pink script. The back cover has a book synopsis and a picture of the 'panty hamster' lovin' on a pair of red panties. The printing is good for the most part but there are some pages that look a little faded. There are extensive extras in the 'Aoi Notes' section at the back. 'Aoi Notes' has statistics for each character, discussions of character names and how the writer came up with various ideas.
The artwork is okay, but I did really enjoy the character design for this title. The women are really cute and most of the different body/personality types are present and accounted for. But the artist doesn't use a lot of detail and the backgrounds are pretty sparse. The artist also uses SD a little too much for my taste.
Contents: (Oh yes, there may be spoilers)
Alex and Sandy are a couple of college guys living on campus. They're both into anime and video games with Sandy being an average looking, average collecting guy that thinks he's a lot cooler than he really is. Sandy on the other hand is overweight and proudly otaku in his collecting habits. Unfortunately their fun-loving college lifestyle hits a real roadblock when they get thrown out of their dorm room. While trying to figure out where they're going to be able to live with a troublesome pet hamster they come across an advertisement looking for roommates. An anime club apartment called 'Aoi House', with cool roommates, free internet, and small pets accepted. Sounds great.
Alex and Sandy decide to check out the 'Aoi House' and discover it's full of hot women, and even better they are totally into anime. It's a dream come true right? Of course it is, what red-blooded American college student wouldn't want to live in an anime house with hot women? Well unfortunately, after they sign up and move in they discover the 'Aoi House' sign was originally the 'Yaoi House' but the 'Y' fell off and no one fixed it. Well the whole misunderstanding really gets out of control when the girls of the house force Alex and Sandy to watch hour after hour of hardcore yaoi videos.
But luckily for these female appreciating guys, they're able to cancel out some of the yaoi stuff with panty shots and walking in on their female roommates when changing and bathing. It also helps that Alex and Sandy's pet hamster, Echiboo, has a serious affinity for panties. Plus the young and very hyper housemate Morgan helps the boys out by attaching a camera to Echiboo's head so they can video the other girls in changing rooms and other such situations.
There are seriously an amazing amount of spoofs in this book. Then there is also a mysterious entity in the background living behind a door with a sign reading '01 SOUND ONLY'. Who is this person and what is their connection to Aoi House? Is Morgan the only person that knows or talks to the person behind the door? Can Alex and Sandy maintain their sanity living in a house with yaoi anime playing on the TV at a regular basis? Will they hook up with any of their roommates or will Alex and Sandy learn the finer details of dating from their roommates?
Some of the domestic creations (or OEL, or whatever they are being called these days) I have checked out have been real train wrecks in the art department. The artwork in Aoi House isn't bad, but where it really shines is in the writing, which is an otaku love fest. Now since I have access to a relatively small amount anime and manga here in the US compared to the vast amount created in Japan every year, when I do watch anime or read manga I often don't catch many of the spoof jokes. But since this book is written by an American author I recognized just about every anime/manga spoof in this volume and I laughed out loud through this entire book.
I enjoyed the humorous situations the house set up can create with two straight guys living with hot girls who only watch yaoi anime. The fact the house isn't an all girls dorm, bathhouse, or males living with hot relatives is a refreshing idea. Now there isn't anything very new about most of the situations, but that is why it's so funny. Plus the panty-craving hamster is just a crack up and a funny addition to the cast of characters. My one complaint was the lack of nipples when this title has a 16+ rating. If the book is going to use cheesy steam covering only two or three small spots on naked females, then I think the 16+ rating may be a little high. But with that complaint aside, I strongly recommend this title to any fans of co-ed living comedies or anime/manga spoofs.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Seven Seas Entertainment
Orientation: Right to Left