Ai Yori Aoshi
So I recently found out that a series that I used to enjoy back in my youth (well youthier, I’m only 23 at the time of this post) was completed in manga form, Ai Yori Aoshi. I found it be delightful and fun series back then, so I decided to find out how it really ended. And Oh Dear God this series was a piece of crap.
The series is a basic harem. The main girl is a childhood friend and in love with the main guy. Blah, you don’t need to know the rest, it’s typical. They live in a big house and a bunch of girls fall in love with the guy though he has no redeemable qualities or abilities except for being a “nice guy”.
And honestly, I would have just thrown the series out as trash but I do remember that I really enjoyed it for some reason, so I continued reading. After skipping a lot of the loli service of one of the girls (Chika). I figured out what it was!
The excellent side character of Tina, the girl who was in love with the main character before he met the main girl, Aoi. Unlike the other characters love for the main character (Aoi and Maya fell in love with him at childhood, the others just kinda gradually fell for him because of his kindness), her love seemed a bit more realistic.
She never really explained WHY she fell for him, she just kinda noticed him one day and thought to make him a bit happier and cheer him up. Slowly she got to know him and she fell in love with him, but due to past traumas of acceptance, she was deathly afraid of being rejected. Unfortunately, she shows up after the main character has fallen for the main girl, and spends the rest of the manga in a state of wanting to be with the main character, being scared to tell him, and jealous of the main girl.
The anime actually focused on her most of the time and I think this is why I enjoyed the series back then, because all the focus was on her during the anime.
Now of course, Tina is also an archetype. She is a typical set character who appears in many stories but that doesn’t make her less charming or less amusing to watch and grow. That’s what makes an interesting story, not a new plot or a new character. Everyone follows patterns and you can easily characterize stories as other stories quite easily. Lion King draws from Hamlet, Avatar draws from Dances with Wolves, etc.
I think another point that for once, the copied source is better than the original. 99% of the time, the original source material is better and in the case of anime, that is usually the manga. There are exceptions: Bebop, FLCL, and Samurai Champloo were all animes and their manga equivalents might not be as good. I’ve only read FLCL manga and I thought the anime was better. (Correction: I reread this, I meant that Bebop/ FLCL/ and Samurai Champloo are exceptions to the norm of the original source being the manga, not the exception to the copied source being better than the original)
But I think in this case, Ai Yori Aoshi anime was probably better, I would have to rewatch it, but looking through the episode summaries it seems to basically go over all the chapters where Tina was the focus with a few episodes dedicated to Aoi and the other girls. And I certainly remember a lot of the manga scenes as copied directly into the anime.