AMN Entertainment : : : Anime | Tek | EInsiders | Podcasts | Forums



 

Forums
Mailbag
Reviews
Previews
Media
Contact
 





Ai Yori Aoshi Vol. #17



Ai Yori Aoshi Vol. #17

Media Manga
Genre Romantic Comedy
Publisher TOKYOPOP
MSRP $9.99
Release Date 10/09/07
Age Rating 16+
Website TOKYOPOP
Pages 208
ISBN 1-59816-839-8
Size 5” x 7 1/2”
Layout Right-to-Left

Discuss this title in the Forums

Submit your own Review


October 27, 2007

by: Adam Beck

The series finally comes to a close, but how will everything turn out?



Manga Description: All great harem stories must come to a close… Aoi has made her choice and Kaoru has arrived, but will they be able to determine their own fate? Kaoru’s younger brother swears that as head of the Hanabishi, he will take everything Kaoru has, including Aoi, no matter where they try to run. And when the former residents of the boarding house reunite, will the memories they share bring happiness… or tears?

Manga Review:

Content: (This section may contain spoilers.)

Here it is, the final volume of the popular romantic comedy graphic novel, and boy does it ever finish with a bang. I will say right away, this is a very good ending to the series; it wraps everything up nicely and pretty much finishes like everyone thought it would. There are touching moments, there are funny moments, and overall this is an excellent ending to a great series.

Continuing on from the previous volume, Kaoru has chased down Aoi and he finds himself confronted by the head of the Sakuraba family and the possible head of the Hanabishi. At this point, Kaoru's brother has pretty much taken Aoi hostage, and thus the biggest problem I had with the first chapter was that Kaoru’s brother doesn’t try too hard in stopping Aoi, he does reach out to her but other than that we find out he has a rather cry-babyish attitude. It's also revealed why the brother did what he did, which is pretty similar to what the real Kaoru has had to endure in the past. The second chapter is pretty short, mainly just the negotiation between Kaoru and the head of the Sakuraba, and the handing over of the Hanabishi name. Their problem is resolved relatively quickly but in a well done manner, as it ties into how Aoi’s father thinks emotionally, past prearranged marriages.

Traveling back to the now abandoned Sakuraba estate, Aoi and Kaoru fill their words with emotion and events from the past and how everything has led up to now. It’s kind of depressing to look at the empty spaces and reminisce upon all the good times they have had there - even I got a little bit emotionally attached. The next two chapters make the biggest impact in Aoi and Kaoru’s relationship as we finally witness the two making love. After going through plenty of embarrassing moments and making it so far from a hug to a kiss, the two finally intertwine in one of the most emotional events in the series. My only real insignificant complaint with this event is that at one point, Aoi looked a lot more masculine than Kaoru, and even if we’ve seen this in past installments, it’s still very bizarre to look at. After sharing a moment after their passionate love making, the two say goodbye to their past home and look forward to the future.

Finally involving the rest of the group – Tina, Chika, Taeko, and Mayu – the 141st chapter of the series consists of two parts. The first is the true introduction of Aoi to the group and their announcement of engagement. Everyone shares a rather emotional moment – most especially Aoi – but one thing I wish that could have occurred was Mayu speaking up. Instead of saying anything or really making a big appearance here, she just stays back and looks on. As much as I dislike time traveling, the 17th volume skips ahead a necessary six months later where Tina is about to depart back to the United States. Here the group say their goodbyes in another emotional event. What I’m very glad to see is that Natsuki and Chizuru make an appearance here as I was afraid they would have been left out. Their appearances are a bit comical but for the most part add to the emotion of Tina’s leave. Having everyone express their love for Kaoru, we are treated a rather comical event which leaves everyone off with a smile.

Now once again, a time skip occurs as the series goes further into the future to check up on each character. It is a very entertaining chapter as we find out what each character is doing and how much everyone has grown up, and then finally conclude the long romance – with some comedy – with a very emotional and well done ending.

I am a big fan of the Ai Yori Aoshi series; it contains a lot of romantic barriers and some very interesting ideas with a mix of comedy from time to time, but what makes this series what it is, are the unique characters whom express vivid emotions. The emotion each character expresses realistic enough that really anyone could relate to. Now one of the biggest concerns of the series was that the series doesn’t have a lot of dialogue. For the most part, if you’re not familiar with the series, the dialog is very limited and this also goes for the final volume. There are a lot of emotional moments that make the series what it is, but for the most part, anyone could pick each volume up and finish it within half an hour or much, much less. But that said, Ai Yori Aoshi is an excellent series with a very well deserved ending that is, while relatively predictable, something anyone can take to heart.

Art: The artwork in Ai Yori Aoshi is excellent. The beginning of the series was pretty good, but you can tell throughout each volume that the quality of the artwork improved drastically. One thing to point out is that the series is pretty much for the older teen crowd, for there are many scenes that contain nudity and sexual content. This adds to the emotional experience between each character and really makes the series a little more believable - or it's all just for fan-service. But the visuals are great in the series, with lots of details going into each page - both into the characters and environments. The series' visuals never slacks and there are various small details, such as seams on clothing, that can be seen that making it all the more easier to admire. The only time I really thought the 17th volume lacked in detail were on pages 124 and 125, where there is a final look at the Sakuraba estate. On those pages the household looked like it was just enlarged and was very out of place with a different, much stronger bolded lines. Other than that though, the artwork in Ai Yori Aoshi is excellent and is obviously a positive aspect for the series.

Translation: Now for a series that takes four months per volume to be released, one would think Tokyopop would do a stellar job in translating the last volume. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case; while the translation itself is pretty good with some well fleshed out dialog – no matter how short little of it there is – there are a number of untranslated sound effects throughout the last volume: On page 17, Kaoru’s brother turns with an untranslated sound effect; on page 23 Kaoru grips Aoi’s shoulder with an untranslated sound effect; on page 70 Aoi flinches but no translation is given; on page 109 a big sound effect beside the gasp is not translated; on page 131 Chika screams and there is an untranslated sound effect beside the twitch sound effect; and finally almost every place there is a sign, there is no translation. These won’t ruin the series, but being the translation had four months to perfect the volume, which contains few dialogue, it could have gone a little smoother. Aside from the ones I've listed, sound effects are presented in both their Original Japanese dialogue along with an English-translation nearby. And as said before, the dialogue itself is pretty good, despite the fact that series really lacks a lot of reading.

Now for extras… there are none. There is a special thanks page and one of those short strips usually between chapters, but other than that there are absolutely no extras.

The Bottom Line: The final volume of Ai Yori Aoshi finishes the series off in a way that will fill your heart with some very emotional and touching moments. While the series is not known for an intense amount of dialog, the romantic factor is at an all time high making this one of the best romantic comedy manga titles out in the North American market. It’s full of laughs and cries that should not be missed by anyone who is looking for a good romantic read. Ai Yori Aoshi is a series like no other.



Content A great ending for a great series. But my only real concern, like in previous volumes, was that there is a lack of dialogue as this can be read within a half-hour. 8.0

Art Beautiful artwork that doesn’t ever skimp on details. It’s loveable, detailed, and down right gorgeous. 8.5

Translation Tokyopop had 4 months to perfect each volume, and the last one contains far too many untranslated sound effects for such a time period, especially considering how little dialogue there is. But that said, they did capture the atmosphere perfectly with the well translated dialogue. 8.0

Verdict

Ai Yori Aoshi is one of the best harem manga titles out on the market, with some of the most touching moments you’ll ever witness. It’s sad to see such a good series come to a close, but at least they completed it perfectly. This is one series that should not be missed.


8.2
[not an average]

+ Excellent conclusion.
+ Beautiful artwork.
+ Rich, emotional scenes.
- Many untranslated sound effects.
- It had to come to a close sometime.
- No extras.

Title Media Return to Homepage Discuss this in the Forums





Top
Previous Page
Home
News
Reviews
Previews