Ai yori Aoshi, “Bluer than Indigo”
• Kou Fumizuki • Tokyopop (2004–2007)
• Hakusensha (Young Animal, 1998–2005)
• Seinen, Romantic Comedy
• 16+ (mild violence, nudity, sexual situations)
College student Kaoru’s life is turned upside down by the sudden appearance of his childhood fiancée, Aoi, a kimono-wearing, ultratraditional Japanese girl who has lived the last eighteen years wanting only to be with him. Unfortunately, if he wants to marry her, he must reconcile with his abusive, ultrawealthy family. Apart from the weepy abuse story line, Ai Yori Aoshi is a stereotypically sexist wife fantasy stripped down almost to the point of having only two characters and no plot whatsoever. Aoi, who wants only to cook and clean and be a bride and mother, is described as “the epitome of Yamato Nadesico, the model of a Japanese woman.” From volume 2 onward a few competing female characters are introduced, but the attempt at a harem manga is halfhearted at best; the characters quickly fall into subordinate roles of housekeepers and maids in Aoi and Kaoru’s platonic household. The manga reads easily, partly due to the fact that almost nothing happens except for breast shots and the periodic reaffirmation of the female characters’ (and by extension, the male reader’s) neediness. The soft, anime-style, heart-shaped faces resemble the art of Kosuke Fujishima (Oh My Goddess!).