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Ai Yori Aoshi 3 Hugs and Kisses

(return to disc)

Content rating: 8
Posted 2003-12-09 by StupendousMan
Endorsed by kurt on 2003-12-23 13:39:00

The new challenge to Kaoru and Aoi's relationship is a voice from Kaoru's past, a young girl named Miyu. She's a Poor Little Rich Girl, abandoned for months at a time by her high-powered parents. The first two episodes on this disc reveal via flashback how she met Kaoru: he recognized her at once as another child with no real family, no one to love. He took pity on her, and she, in turn, gave herself a fantasy future in which the two of them marry and live happily ever after. Like every story in Ai Yori Aoshi, it's sweet, and it shows how Love Is All You Need (The Beatles had that right).

Miyu has now grown up, and she still holds onto her dream. Her sudden appearance in Kaoru's university and life throws both Kaoru and Aoi off their stride. The first couple of episodes make use of a plot device I don't really enjoy -- a tiny little secret which grows and grows until it threatens to tear a relationship apart, when all could be cleared up with a simple little conversation. Sigh. Still, I have to admit that, cliche though it is, this situation does occur frequently enough in real life that I can't fault the writers for using it.

Miyu reminds me a lot of Tsubasa from Kareshi Kanojo no Jijyou: a little girl from our hero's past who worships him like a god and uses her powers of (seeming) innocence to come between the hero and his true love. That's not so good. What is good that is that now there's someone in the cast to stand up to Tina. The sparks fly when these two square off to fight for Kaoru's affections (though we know that Tina is really fighting for Kaoru and Aoi), and a little catfight now and then does liven things up. I also like the view we see of Kaoru in the flashbacks with Miyu: his warmth and empathy make him a worthy object of any little girl's attentions. I don't blame Miyu for falling for him, just for the way she acts on her feelings.

Kaoru really does love Miyu, but not the way she hopes; she's the little sister he never had. When he gives her even a gentle reprimand, she accepts it meekly and tries (though her memory isn't long) to follow his advice and instruction. I think that the more time she spends at the Sakaruba mansion, the more willing she'll be to accept his fraternal affection for what it is.

On a slight sociological note, does the "First Kiss" really have to mean so much? Does it really have the great significance in real life that we are shown in this TV show? Maybe I'm growing crusty in my old age, but it doesn't strike me as all that big a deal. Hmph. Perhaps it's because I have a Y chromosome. I guess if girls watch enough programs or read enough manga like Ai Yori Aoshi, they might come to place so much importance on that first kiss just because they've been told to do so. On the other hand, in a later episode on this disc, we hear Kaoru say for the first time those magic words to Aoi (dai suki desu = "I love you"); and when he said it, it struck me as hard as it struck Aoi. Now that's a big step, I agree. I remember the first time I told my girlfriend that I loved her. Just like Aoi, she had confessed her feelings to me long before I felt confident about them to say them in return. And when I did say them -- on a bridge under the moonlight, rather than in my old apartment -- she teared up, just like Aoi. Ah, memories.

Taeko continues to get some of the best lines: "chocolate-covered tomato tempura"!? *shudder*

Miyabi, I think, steals the entire disc in a small scene: after a very long, stressful day, she sets up Aoi and Kaoru together, realizing more than they do that what they really need is a little time together and a chance to talk. As they lie together in each other's arms (no, not like THAT!), gently murmuring to each other their dreams of married life, she sits on the other side of the door, smiling gently as she monitors the conversation. She's acting as Aoi's parent -- making sure that boy doesn't try to go too far -- but, at the same time, she's experiencing through Aoi something she may never have herself: a deep loving relationship with a man, with its promise of children. It's bittersweet, a sad moment that I'll remember for a long time.

The extras are modest: creditless endings with the original ending theme, plus the new theme which appears for the first time in episode 15, Taeko and Miyu pencil art galleries, a decent reversible cover, an insert with foldout art of Aoi -- nice -- plus a short explanation of the Japanese festival of Tanabata -- nicer! The previews include a promo for the live-action movie Onmyoji (The Yin-Yang Master), a costume epic set in Heian Kyoto. I saw it at Otakon this past year and recommend it highly. Readers of the "Mermaid Scar" manga will recognize a bit of old folklore ...

Equipment used when writing this review:
Sony DVD player, JVC 27-inch TV, stereo speakers

Content: 8 Video: 6 Sound: 7 Packaging: 8 Menu: 8

Buy this disc from AnimeNation
Other reviews of this disc:
Ai Yori Aoshi 3 Hugs and Kisses by Tim_the_minstrel (Rating: 6.80)

This DVD contains episodes 11 through 15. The affection between Kaoru and Aoi deepens as it overcomes some minor obstacles.

Episode 11 introduces a new character, Mayu Miyuki, a kikokushijo returning from four years in...(continues)

Content: 7 Video: 8 Sound: 7 Packaging: 7 Menu: 5

Ai Yori Aoshi 3 Hugs and Kisses by jonahlee (Rating: 7.80)
Disc 3 of Ai Yori Aoshi "Hugs and Kisses" is once again about complicating the love of Aoi and Kaoru, and this time it actually seemed to be getting more annoying. Episodes 11, 12 and 14 are about Mayu Mizuki who has been...(continues)
Content: 6 Video: 9 Sound: 8 Packaging: 8 Menu: 8

Ai Yori Aoshi 3 Hugs and Kisses by Pirogoeth (Rating: 7.20)

Episode 11 adds the next girl seen in the opening credits: Mayu. She became infatuated with Kaoru after he was nice to he at a party when she was twelve. She meets up with him again at school and immediately engages the wrath of Tina...(continues)

Content: 6 Video: 8 Sound: 8 Packaging: 7 Menu: 7

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