Ai Yori Aoshi (translated as True Blue Love or Blue deeper than Indigo, by various reviewers), is a romantic drama/comedy of the sort that is very familiar to anime fans. What sets Ai Yori Aoshi apart is the strong lead characters and the powerful backstory. The excellent art and music also lifts this series above its competition.
Ai Yori Aoshi presents us with Karou Hanabishi, a poor but golden-hearted college student in Tokyo, and Aoi Sakuraba, an innocent and lovely girl who has lived a sheltered life. Destiny brought them together 18 years earlier when they were promised to each other by their parents but they have not seen or spoken since. Now, with the recent dissolution of the arranged engagement, Aoi has travelled to Tokyo to find out why the love of her life, Karou, is gone.
Ai Yori Aoshi's story contains many of the traditional hallmarks of a romantic love comedy - two people destined for each other, a seemingly insurmountable problem that threatens their love, and a cast of crazy supporting characters that turn the path of true love into an obstacle course. Unfortunately, it is that last element, the crazy folk, that threatens to spoil this series. Their introduction feels forced and their personalities are so out of sync with the tone of the story it feels like someone playing a screeching electric guitar solo in the middle of delicate piano piece. But the opening is so strong and the insurmountable challenge great enough that they are enough to have this reviewer eagerly awaiting more.
Volume 1: "Faithfully Yours" Plot Summary:
In this first volume of Ai Yori Aoshi, we are introduce to Karou Hanabishi, the poor college student in Tokyo with a heart of gold, and Aoi Sakuraba, the gentle, innocent girl from a sheltered life. They meet accidently in a busy Tokyo train station after Aoi stumbles. Karou agrees to help Aoi find the address she is headed to and ends up iniviting her into his home when the address turns out to be a dead end.
After memories are triggered by an old photograph, Aoi and Karou discover that they already know each other thanks to an arranged engagement their parents had placed them into 18 years earlier, but they haven't seen each other since. Having recently learned that the engagement had been dissolved, Aoi left her sheltered world and came to Tokyo to learn why the marriage had so unexpectedly disappeared.
Soon enough, the two find themselves falling in love with each other. Star-crossed by family and friends, Karou and Aoi face a path to love that is not smooth but more like an obstacle course, but the love between them is strong and ride has just begun.
Languages: English & Japanese with subtitles
Video: 4:3 NTSC Standard Aspect Ratio
Audio: 2.0 Dolby Digital
American Release Status: Unavailable
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Creator: Kou Fumizuki
Director: Masami Shimoda
Character Designer: Kazunori Iwakura
Music: Toshiro Masuda
Animation Director: Yumi Nakayama
Animation Studio: J.C. Staff
American Producers: Geneon/Pioneer
Volume 1 Information
Title: Faithfully Yours
Running Time: 120
Number of Episodes On This Volume: 5
4: Living Together
5: Old Friend
Sorry, a synopsis of this volume is currently unavailable.