Ai Shite Night (愛してナイト, Aishite Naito, lit. "Love Night" or "Night for Loving") is a shōjo manga by Kaoru Tada (better known as the creator of Itazura Na Kiss) which was serialized in Bessatsu Margaret from 1982 to 1984. An anime version of the story in 42 episodes was also produced in 1983-84 by Toei Animation, and features episodes supervised by Shingo Araki, the deceased character designer who worked on many other Toei series, such as Cutey Honey, Majokko Meg-chan and Saint Seiya.The anime adaptation proved so successful in Italy that the Italia 1 channel produced a live action sequel named Love Me Licia, consisting of no less than four seasons (for a total of 145 episodes), between 1986 and 1988.
"Ai Shite Night" is set in Osaka, and tells the story of Yaeko "Yakko" Mitamura, an 18 year old Girl Next Door who divides her time in between her father Shige's Okonomiyaki restaurant and her evening college classes. One day Yakko casually meets a little boy, Hideki aka "Hashizo", and his odd cat Juliano. Hashizo lost both of his parents when he was still a baby and has been brought up by his elder brother Go Kato, who is the lead singer of the emerging rock band "Bee Hive". When Yakko meets Go and his friend and "Bee Hive" member Satomi Okawa, an unexpected series of events and a tangled romance unfolds.
Whereas the main narrative of Ai Shite Night is essentially based on a love story, interesting and innovative elements were introduced by Kaoru Tada, most notably the portrayal of the Japanese music scene in the early '80s. In creating characters such as Go, Satomi and their band "Bee Hive", Tada was inspired by successful bands of the time such as "The Stalin", "Novela", "Primadonna" and "44 Magnum". Tada also plays with sexual provocation and ambiguity, mainly embodied by the character of "Kiss Relish" vocalist Kazuma "Sheila" Kataoka, although these elements were considerably toned down in the anime version of the story.
This series contains examples of:
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Yakko is blonde in the manga, but has brown hair in the anime except for the OP.
- Anime Hair: Justified, as this is a manga of The '80s. Particularly noticeable are Go's blond and red hair as well as Satomi's lilac long hair.
- Big Eater: Juliano, who has accumulated a lot of weight for a cat.
- Bowdlerize: As mentioned, the anime toned down the sexual themes. It's not just about Sheila; the anime rendition of Satomi's first scene cuts out the allusions to him apparently working in a gay bar. (It's not necessarily the case, but Yakko seems to believe it quite firmly at first.)
- Cats Are Mean: Juliano, but only towards ladies.
- Crash-Into Hello: How Yakko and Go meet in the anime.
- Curtains Match the Windows: Hashizo
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Yakko's father doesn't like Go because he's a rock musician.
- Dub Name Change: In Western releases; it was The '80s after all.
- Fangirl: Meiko and Isuzu.
- First Guy Wins: Toyed with in the anime. Storyline-wise Yakko has known Satomi from before Go comes into the picture, but doesn't end up with him. OTOH, the first guy that we viewers get to see is actually Go, since the second scene of the TV series has him and Hashizo getting ready for their daily routine and Satomi doesn't appear until a little later. In the manga, however, it's averted. Satomi appears first, Go shows up in the next scene
- From the Mouths of Babes
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Go does this to Hashizo in episode 5 after the latter complained that he had money, which is lying.
- Girl Next Door: Yakko is a cute, friendly, and approachable girl who takes care of her Love Interest's younger brother while working at her father's restaurant.
- Gratuitous English: Part of the title and some of Go's lyrics in English.
- Heroic Bastard: Hashizo's mom was Mr. Katou's mistress. (Go's mom, Yoko, still lives but they're very distanced.) Go still took him in and they live together in a tiny apartment.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Juliano.. the cat. Played for Laughs, of course.
- Inter Generational Friendship: Hashizo (no older than 6) and Yakko (18). Also Hashizo and Yakko's dad (in his 40's), in quite the contrast with Shige's more skittish treatment of Go.
- Irony: Go is voiced by popular singer Isao Sasaki yet his songs are sung by the late Ai Takano who was known for singing Juspion's opening theme.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shige is a narrow-minded man who can't stand musicians but he clearly loves his daughter and wants the best for her. He also really cares about Hashizo.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Hashizo is a kindhearted kid whose best friend is his cat Juliano.
- Ladykiller in Love: Go has The Casanova fame, but when he falls for Yakko... he falls HARD.
- Lethal Chef: Yakko lives in an okonomiyaki restaurant, and yet she can barely handle making them.
- Long-Distance Relationship: By the end of the anime, this trope is discussed when Go has to leave to the USA for a 6-month-long tour with Bee Hive. They agree on it, and Go promises to marry Yakko as soon as he returns for her and Hashizo.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Satomi, with his curly and very long purple hair, is a very good-looking Pretty Boy who has in-universe fangirls.
- Puppy Love: The love triangle between Hashizo, Kaoru and Gonta.
- Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Go is middle class, Satomi is rich. They both love Yakko. Yakko picks Go.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Calm, introverted student Satomi and cocky playboy Go.
- Shipper on Deck: Hashizo adores Yakko and ships her with his older brother Go since the beginning.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Kazuma aka Sheila. Also Camp Straight, since he's Happily Married to Relish's manager Marino and they have a daughter together.