At the start, AYA was really romantic, and I liked it very much. On AnimeOnDVD, Aoi had been criticised for being so subservient to Kaoru, but others pointed out how Aoi stood up for herself against her mother and Miyabi. She may not look it, but she has a strong character, really wishing to understand and help others (and Kaoru in particular).
But then Tina and Taeko joined the gang, and we got way too many breast-jokes. Luckily, this subsided after a few episodes and then we get to see how the core group of characters (Aoi, Kaoru, Miyabi, Tina and Taeko) grow closer together. Each grows as a person because of their interaction with the others, and that was very interesting to see. We also see Aoi and Kaoru growing much closer together, but it is less romantic than at the beginning of the series -- it turns into an almost "regular" high-school romance (except that these kids are college-age).
The ending is very interesting: Aoi is going to be wed to some other guy, and of course she doesn't want to. Miyabi is caught in the middle, and she smuggles Kaoru to Aoi, leaving her in his care. There's this scene that looks as if Kaoru and Aoi are going to do the nasty -- they kiss, there's a shot from outside that shows the lights being turned off, and the scene fades to black...
When Miyabi returns the next day, she had expected them to elope, but they didn't. Instead, they go to the main house where Kaoru confronts Aoi's father.
Afterwards, Aoi talks to her father, and that really made the series for me. We never get to see him, except at the very end at the series. As such, he's a really minor figure in the series (though one with a very dramatic role), but his reasons for allowing Aoi to continue to see Kaoru was very good.
All in all, I liked the series, but I would have liked to see the wedding between Aoi and Kaoru, as the climax of their love and dedication to eachother. But perhaps this is more due to my own impending marriage...
- The super-romantic beginning
- The episode where Kaoru takes Tina to the zoo
- The speech by Aoi's father about how he only wants to see her happy
- The breast jokes
- Mayu -- what an annoying brat!
All in all, a 7.5 in my book.
We've also watched the first two episodes of Wandaba Style. Hilarious.