|Title:||Ai Yori Aoshi|
|Aoi is a young woman garbed in traditional Japanese clothing and has just arrived in Tokyo for the first time. She's looking for her fiance (whom she hasn't seen since their childhood) to find out why their marriage arranged 18 years ago has been called off. Her sandal [image1] breaks and Kaoru, a nice young man, repairs the damage. Since they are going in the same direction, he agrees to be her escort [image2]. Unfortunately, the address Aoi has for her fiance is a vacant lot [image3]. Upon inviting her up to his appartment so she can rest, she shows him a picture of the her and her fiance [image4] the last time they saw each other - as very young kids. Kaoru is stunned to see the boy in the picture is in fact himself!
Thinking this is just a ploy of his family to get him to return to his clan, he throws Aoi out only to see her standing alone under a street light and being bothered by a couple of thugs. He rescues her [image5] and agrees to allow her to stay overnight [image6].
OK, first let me say that Aoi screamed to me of an adult Shinobu from Love Hina. That's OK though because Shinobu is so sweet and wholesome and I like that. Aoi is just the same.
Kaoru is not the typical male lead in these romantic-comedy harem tales. Yeah, he's a dateless terminal nice guy, but there's something that's refreshingly different about him.
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(2004-02-26, Devil Doll:)
This first episode is a super cute fairy tale. The two lead characters being led together by a fate like this, even repeating a memorable event from their childhood, makes them form a strong bond. Yet, their expectations are very different, and both have little experience in life - things will turn out much more complicated than they know now...
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Well the opening of the show starts out a girl with blue hair saying "I am not that perfect but I hope you will learn to accept me." Then it goes into the opening intro theme. Which I might add is a great song and Yoko Ishida really does well singing this.
After the opening theme we see a boy leaving his apartment late for college as he walks he stops to look at a cherry blossom tree as if remembering something that happened a long time ago.
Then it goes into a girl riding on a train to Tokyo looking at a picture of her and a boy of when they were young. The girl finally arrives at the subway station but being very unaware of the big city and seeming a bit naive drops her ticket that takes her to her next destination. She bends down to try and pick it up only to have people step on it and not even bother to help her. But just then as fate or 'enishi' I should say would have it a boy picks it up for her and the girl says "Thank You" and is very proper. Then her sandal strap breaks and the boy asks her to lean on his shoulder so he can fix it. Aoi again says "Thank You" and bows. (Note this scene is important and will play again later in the series.)
Since the boy is going to the same destination as her he agrees to escort her. While on the subway though she falls asleep on his shoulder and he tries to wake her up but the train pulls away. He doesn't know whether she's just clueless about the world or what but adds that she is cute. Finally she wakes up and asks "are we there already?" not knowing they went all the way around once.
The girl explains to him that she's come to find her childhood friend, so that's why she has come to Tokyo. The boy admires that she has such strong feelings for this person and hopes she can find him. But when they get to the address that supposedly he is staying at they only find a vacant lot.
Disappointed and helpless the boy invites her to his apartment to calm down and gives her some tea. He asks he if she has any other clues and she gives him a picture but when the boy sees the picture he suddenly recognizes that it's none other than him and says "Isn't this a picture of me and Aoi-chan?" Then the girl suddenly looks up and says "Are you Hanabishi Kaoru?" He nods and the girl flings herself around him overjoyed and says she's never felt the string of destiny any stronger. The boy it just overwhelmed and surprised by all this and asks what's going on. The girl bows and says her name is Sakuraba Aoi and she has come to be his wife.
This of course freaks Kaoru out. He doesn?t even have a girlfriend and all of a sudden he has a wife! Aoi than tells him to please come back to the Hanabishi house so they can be together but Kaoru (thinking that it's his family's scheme to get him to return) says that he'll never return to Hanabishi - he's sorry but tells her to leave.
Aoi is surprised that Kaoru has kicked her out and thinks that he did leave because he didn't like her. Kaoru watching from the window of his apartment thinks "What a dirty trick trying to use someone to get me to return." Just then a pair of thugs comes up to Aoi and Kaoru thinks they're the people coming to get her only to see that their not from Hanabishi!
Kaoru runs outside and defends Aoi telling the thugs she's his girl and they leave saying never leave a girl alone at night like that. Aoi just starts crying and says she's so happy even if it was just to get them out of trouble she's thrilled that he would say she's his girl anyway. Kaoru apologizes for jumping to conclusions and invites Aoi back up to his apartment. Aoi tells him the situation (that she's come to find her child hood friend who she was suppose marry but suddenly the engagement was called off and she never knew why) and asks if Kaoru remembers anything about them being engaged. Kaoru says he remembers hearing something like that but nothing concrete. Aoi says "so you didn't leave because you hated me?" Kaoru says of course not - there were a lot of things that happened back than. Aoi is thrilled to hear that Kaoru didn't leave because he hated her. There he invites her to wash up and stay the night. Than it ends and we get to hear a wonderful ending song sung by The Indigo.
I think episode one was played out very well. You can just see already in the first episode how these 2 have some kind of special bond. I didn't add in the synopsis but you get to see a flash back of Kaoru and Aoi when they were children and Aoi breaks her sandal and falls and Kaoru fixes it the same way he did when he meets Aoi for the first time at the station. I have the first book of the manga and there isn't much too different yet. Like I wrote in the series review the character designs from the anime are much better than in the manga. Kaoru in the manga looks kind of fat and Aoi has a more childlike feature about her then in the anime. You will find out Kaoru's reasoning for leaving the Hanabishi in the next episode.