Ai Yori Aoshi
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Episodes: 24, plus a Christmas special, plus 12 episodes of Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi
Notes: Title means Bluer than Indigo. Enishi means destiny
Sakuraba Aoi is the heiress to the Sakura department store that specializes in kimonos. As a child she was engaged to Hanabashi Kaoru, heir of the Hanabashi family. Since then she has lived her entire life training to become his perfect wife. But the engagement is broken when Kaoru leaves his family. She sets out to find him on her own. Will she be able to win back his heart?
Animation is quite good, clean and bright. Character designs are nice in a typical anime style, but nothing special, except for Aoi's kimonos. Opening and ending themes and score are passable. Voices of some of the characters are annoying but probably meant to be.
Series is mostly episodic with a continuing storyline of Aoi's and Kaoru's developing feelings and relationship. The second season does not do much to advance their relationship and is unnecessary.
This starts off as a sweet love story but takes a wrong turn in the 5th episode and degenerates into a typical harem anime. Aoi and Kaoru start to live together, sort of, in her family's unused mansion. They are still engaged but not allowed to tell anyone. Then Kaoru's classmates move in. Aoi and Kaoru are likeable characters but the others are fairly typical and annoying. First annoyance is the introduction of "American" (possible lesbian) Tina Foster, Kaoru's college classmate. She has a breast fetish. Humor mostly centers around Tina grabbing the boobs of the other women, and Kaoru/the girls tripping and falling onto each other. (It's as if NO ONE can walk straight. They ALL need new shoes!)
This would have been a better series if they explored the roles of a traditional wife to a modern one and added more genuine conflict among the characters. Instead we have Aoi, who completely devotes herself to Kaoru without question, without thinking of herself, and Kaoru the perfect guy, sensitive and kind. Of course all the girls love him but he only cares about the one who doesn't beat him up, Aoi. Tina is the loud abrasive pushy drunk, Tae the goodhearted klutz, Mayu the spoiled rich brat, Chika the enthusiastic kid, and Miyabi the cool levelheaded manager. They are all lonely souls who find solace and friendship while living under the same roof (except for Mayu who has her own mansion but she hangs out a lot). The series is at its best with just Aoi and Kaoru discussing their feelings, but even then the pure sappiness gets annoying and you have to think "Aoi, get your own life!"
Be warned, there is no real ending. They continue to live together and that's it.
Rated PG-13 for ecchi humor. Recommended for couples.