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Heartwarming / Ai Yori Aoshi

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When this series isn't being gut-bustingly funny, it's busy being this trope... which is almost all the time, as it seems...

  • In the opening chapters, when Aoi's mother catches up to her at Kaoru's appartment, she demands to know what her daughter is thinking by running away from home. Aoi summons her bravery and explains that she is still in love with Kaoru and will do anything to stay with him, even cutting herself off from her family. There's a moment of uncertainty about what her mother is going to say...and she hugs Aoi, telling her that she has truly grown up.
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  • Tina brings home a pet ferret, and Miyabi is not pleased, calling it a pest. For the whole chapter she is freaked out over the ferret's antics and the situation gets to the point where she demands that Tina take her back to the store. Then something awful happens—the poor ferret has trapped herself behind a heavy piece of furniture and is getting the life squeezed out of her. Everybody is in despair, when Miyabi unexpectedly steps forward with a crowbar and puts all her strength into freeing the little critter. The grateful ferret is licking Miyabi's face, and she says "This is why I hate animals" while smiling with joy and relief. From then on, Miyabi and Uzume are the best of pals. We all knew she was a big softie after all!
  • Aoi and Kaoru happen to visit his old apartment where they first met. As the memories come flooding back, Aoi confesses that she has nightmares where Kaoru doesn't say anything to her, and that loving one person as much as she loves him is terrifying because she doesn't know what she'd do if he hated her. Kaoru stops her before she can go any further, explaining that he's bad at expressing his feelings because for a long time he despaired of ever being happy or being loved, and that he's grown to love her more than anything in life. There's quite a bit of sobbing as they both unload their emotional baggage, but all that's left over afterwards is joy and a new sense of togetherness. Lastly, just as the sun is setting, Karou gives Aoi their first kiss. Awww!
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  • Aoi's mother visits Miyabi, and after reminiscing about how she took Miyabi in after Miyabi's parents died, asks Miyabi about Kaoru. She then hears Miyabi out and says that while her husband may still not approve of Kaoru, she herself will certainly listen to what her daughters have to say.
  • Tina and Mayu reconcile after their big fight, with Tina thanking Mayu for telling her to face her feelings, and Mayu finally softening up a little.
  • The climax of the manga:
    • During the engagement gift ceremony, after sincerely thanking her parents for raising her, Aoi courageously declares that she will not marry anyone but her Kaoru and renounces her Sakuraba name. At that moment, Kaoru arrives shouting her name, and the faithful lovers fly into each other's arms. Kaoru the younger swears he'll take everything from his older brother, only for Aoi's mother to make him realize that he's already lost, and he sinks into a Villainous Breakdown cursing his older brother and regretting that he let his mother down. What happens next is an extraordinary display of forgiveness. Aoi approaches the younger Kaoru and hugs him out of sympathy for the hardships that he endured, even though he just kidnapped her and tried to force her to marry him. Then, older Kaoru comes forward. Upon confirming that his younger brother's mother is still alive, and saying how much his own mother meant to him, he voluntarily gives up his due inheritance as Hanabishi heir to his brother. He forgives the man who just tried to rob him of his true love, and simultaneously gives up the only thing with which he could convince Aoi's parents to accept their relationship. Thus, both Kaoru and Aoi have proved in the most meaningful way that their engagement is based on pure, unconditional love, unaffected by any ulterior motives or doubts. Although scornful of their decision, Aoi's father doesn't stop them as they turn their backs on their controlling families once and for all, walking hand-in-hand together towards their own future.
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    • Fresh from the harrowing experience that almost tore them apart forever, Aoi and Kaoru go back to the mansion that they shared with Miyabi and their friends for so long, now bare of both furniture and people. In Aoi's room, where everything else has been taken away, they find the picture of them as children which miraculously reunited them after eighteen years sitting on the floor. There, in the empty house, they make love to each other for the first time. Both of them are self-conscious and there's some embarrassed fumbling with their clothes, but in the end they become one, and as they fall asleep Aoi is holding him close to her heart, saying "I'm so, so happy."
    • The morning after Their First Time, Aoi and Kaoru wake up together on the floor. There's some sweet blushing and embarrassment, but as they get up to leave Aoi says something deeply meaningful:
    "This kimono is actually a hand-me-down from mother, you know. Indigo-dyed kimono are very dark at first. But if you keep wearing them, as the time passes, the color blends, and the indigo becomes more blue and vivid. Aoi wants to cultivate our love over time, too. Just like this kimono, it will continue to grow more intense—from now and on into forever."
    • Naturally, that statement is followed by them drawing close for a tender kiss.
  • At the very end of the manga, it's revealed that Miyabi has officially been adopted by the Sakurabas, and has started calling her former employers "Mother" and "Father."
  • In the anime, during a private moment between the two, Kaoru takes off his shirt and reveals to Aoi that his Achey Scars have finally begun to fade and that he believes that it's Aoi's love that's doing it. Considering all the pain, loneliness and anguish those scars represent, seeing them begin to heal and fade away says more about the depth of their love than any words can.

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