Type: TV (12 episodes)
Reviews @ Archen's Anime Page
Previous in series:
Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi
Two years have passed since Aoi and Kauru first met. While the two must continue to hide their secret, every day in a house full of friends is a fun adventure. While Tina is always full of energy, she seems very intent on making good memories. Is she hiding something?
It been a long while since watched Ai Yori Aoshi. When I came across Enishi, I wondered what happened with the story of Ai Yori Aoshi. Within two minutes, I remembered all the things I didn't like about the series. I didn't give up on it, but I realized this anime would never reach the point I wanted it to.
Ai Yori Aoshi is frustrating because it takes a good idea, then gets mired in overused anime formula crap, turning into a generic mess. Most of the characters in this series are unnecessary. The biggest problem is that Aoi and Kaoru who are weak characters. Kauru is the typical harem anime male who is completely generic, and lacks any personality save being a "nice guy". Aoi might seem charming at first, until you realize she has no faults. She's not a person, she's an ideal. Without the regular array of quirks and problems that most people have, the romance between these two is left wanting.
For the sake of interest I poked into the manga for a better understanding of this series, and I started to see where it went wrong. The anime follows the manga fairly well, but drops all the little edgy things which made it worth reading. Steamy situations were toned down to simplistic fan service. Characters had more depth and a much wider range of emotion. I'm guessing there are reasons this couldn't be transposed to TV, censorship comes to mind; but I think it this series was doomed from the start when they decided not to fully flesh everything out. Ai Yori Aoshi isn't the deepest, nor best written story, and the anime makes no move to correct this, or even live up to its paper counterpart.
In the first season, the setup went a long way. Aoi showing up at Kaoru's doorstep led to plenty of interesting material, but taken away from that crutch fell flat. By contrast Enishi starts weak, but the story improves. The first few episodes are typical fluff, then it moves to drama revolving around Tina - who came out a much stronger character than expected. The character hijinks that pushed too far, get toned down, but this anime is still plagued by stupidity.
Music was a major failing which felt forced. The dub is well acted, but I think the script was a bit off. The voices sound natural, but the actors obviously weren't comfortable pronouncing Japanese words.
Overall I have mixed feelings about Enishi. While I don't expect Aoi and Kauru to ravish each other every 30 seconds, their relationship lacks the vitality needed for a gripping story. I think people who love this series, do so because they WANT to love it, while projecting things into it which don't exist. Don't get me wrong, I want to like it too, but I'm realistic about what it is. Enishi has all the things needed for a good love story / drama, but none of it pushes far enough. It's a decent romance that's watchable, but skippable too.
Taeko: Try your best.
Chizuru: If I do the best I can, will my breasts get as big as yours?
Taeko: uh, well I guess that's possible...
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