If you've seen the anime series, you'll love the manga, as it's simply more. More innuendo, more comedy, more culture clash, and more half-naked babes.
It plays like Romeo and Juliet, except that Romeo has left his rich family to become a normal salary-man, adopted a more casual mode of dress and uses colloquial, layman English (or Japanese). Juliet meanwhile, continues to dress only in formal Kimono, speaks Iambic pentameter and the two initially can hardly understand one another even though they are speaking the same language!
Eh, enough of the analogy, and never mind the actual plot. Enjoy the comedy from two complete mannerism opposites coming together, as well as plenty of sexual tension, and especially enjoy Fumizuki's fabulous art, since many of the more overt jokes revolve around Aoi's generous bosom.
In fact, we'll go as far as to say that this manga can be enjoyed on two levels, adolescent, where we giggle at the nudity and bustline references, and mature, where we appreciate the dysfunction of the formality of old-money Japan contrasted with the informality of its modern culture.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, February 2009
Ai Yori Aoshi - Faithfully Yours
Anime DVD Review
East meets West in a culture clash comedy! An excellent romantic-comedy that explores the clash between Japan's modern and traditional values. An arranged marriage gone wrong, as the groom-to-be doesn't want to return to the clan that caused him emotional and physical pain, yet his bride-to-be is completely devoted to him.
The series is so skillfully directed and executed that at the end of each episode, we found ourselves scanning through the closing and opening credits so we could see what happens next! Even the dialog is handled appropriately — she speaks in complete, ultra-polite sentences, he uses contractions and slang. When she moves in with him, despite his objections, can he remain a gentleman?
If you remember our review of this series, you'll know we're nuts about this show. It's the smartest, sweetest, most satisfying romantic comedy since Love Hina. In this soundtrack cd (BGM), the juxtaposition of modern, bouncy j-pop tunes are set against more traditional sounding Japanese music that complements and highlights the culture-clash that is the focal point of the series.
Ai Yori Aoshi explores something most anime have dared not touch — that while Japan screams headlong into embracing Western values, it continues to stubbornly hold on to it's traditional culture, to preserve what makes Japan so 'Japanese'. We were impressed that the music alone could communicate that.