Ai Yori Aoshi - 21: Discipline

Title:Ai Yori Aoshi
Episode:21: Discipline
Kaoru has fallen asleep while learning and is going to be late for attending university classes. But why hasn't he been called for breakfast as usually? Simple - because Aoi has overslept as well, and is falling to the ground when she leaves her room [image1]! Aoi has a fever but tells the students to go to university; Miyabi promises to take care of everything.
At university, Mayu invites Kaoru for a "gorgeous dinner". But everyone else is worried about Aoi. So they return home early, only to find Aoi asleep now.
Aoi being sidelined, this is the time to find out what an active Aoi means to the household. While Miyabi performs the medical care of her patient, Kaoru has to clean the mansion, Tina is doing the laundry, and Taeko is making dinner. But both Tina (putting shoes into the washing machine) [image2] and Taeko (serving fish with chocolate sauce) fail miserably, and at the end of a long day the mansion is still at a mess. Aoi is worried that she can be of no help to Kaoru, but Miyabi tells her that getting her healthy is all that matters now. And Kaoru happens to listen from outside the door...
On the next morning, Miyabi is surprised to find a fresh flower arrangement in the living room! Kaoru has off at university today; he is already cleaning the mansion, he teaches Tina to properly separate the laundry, he helps Taeko remove the leaves from the grass in the garden [image3], he sends the girls to buy groceries... miraculously everything starts to work now - in small steps though, but nevertheless. Finally, even Aoi's fever is going down...
Besides all this housework, Kaoru still manages to study and asks Miyabi to borrow him a book as source for his economic report. When Miyabi is being called for dinner she is surprised to find a lot of meals - everyone decided to cook a simple meal where they're good at, instead of trying to compete with Aoi.
But Aoi in her current state of weakness is supposed to have rice porridge. Kaoru is reading the economics book while cooking the rice... [image4] Miyabi tells him which ingredients to use - and in the end she sends him to serve the porridge to the bed of his beloved girl [image5], and to stay for the night with her.
(2004-03-09, Devil Doll:)
Aoi, the eternal worrier, is having a fever - but all she can think of is feeling ashamed that she might hinder Kaoru's studies! This is so like her.
Everyone of the 'big family' has to work together when Aoi is not available for housework. It's a cute scene when Uzume contributes her part in helping Kaoru to stay awake during learning, and for the first time ever even Mayu understands other preferences than her own - she doesn't complain when Kaoru rejects her dinner invitation.
"I just thought of what Aoi would do" is the central text line of this episode. Kaoru shows that he understands Aoi very well and that he can manage a large household if necessary. Miyabi is impressed (and asks if he is alright, bearing that double workload); Kaoru has fully earned his reward at the end of the day.
Watching Miyabi is just amazing - you cannot guess her next line from the tone she is speaking. When Kaoru is cooking the rice Miyabi sounds very strict, but we can see her smile when Kaoru does not look at her face... she selects a more appropriate book as source for Kaoru's report, and "No, thank you" she whispers after Kaoru has left the room. More and more Miyabi has become not only Aoi's but Kaoru's guardian as well - as we will see clearly very soon, because the first cliffhanger [image6] after a number of separate episodes has already started the dramatic closing sequence of this series. The time for fun is over now...

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