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Manga / Ai Yori Aoshi

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Aoi Sakuraba and Kaoru Hanabishi. Also pictured: true love.

"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 on into forever."
—Aoi Sakuraba

Kaoru Hanabishi, an ordinary college student, runs into a beautiful young woman dressed in an old-fashioned kimono, lost and flustered in the complicated Tokyo subway system. After taking great pains to escort the woman to her destination, he discovers that she is really his childhood friend, Aoi Sakuraba, whom he had promised to marry almost two decades earlier...

Except that the engagement was annulled by the Sakuraba clan when Kaoru left the Hanabishi clan, after years of abuse from his grandfather. Aoi — who had loved him since childhood and dreamed of marrying him — is unable to accept the annulment and tracks down Kaoru to find out why he doesn’t want to marry her. After they meet up again as adults, and he properly falls in love with her, they decide to reaffirm the engagement but are forced into an unusual situation: in order not to shame the Sakuraba family, they must keep their relationship a secret even as they move into a Sakuraba mansion with the help of Aoi's guardian, Miyabi Kagurazaki.


Sure enough, almost immediately a group of college girls move into the mansion, one by one -- and those who aren't already in love with Kaoru all quickly fall for him. Hilarity Ensues, as Kaoru and Aoi (who pose as a tenant and landlady, respectively) try to keep their relationship a secret.

Ai Yori Aoshi ("Bluer than Indigo") ran from 1998 to 2005, with an anime adaptation in 2002 (and a follow-up, Enishi, in 2003). A Visual Novel with an original story taking place in the anime's continuity was released for PlayStation 2 in Japan in 2003, and a special English-language version was released for PC in North America by Hirameki International Group Inc..

See also Umi no Misaki, the creator's subsequent series, also a harem-based romantic comedy but with very different relationship dynamics.


Ai Yori Aoshi provides examples of:

  • 12-Episode Anime: The sequel, "Enishi".
  • Accidental Pervert: What's Kaoru to do, with all these clumsy, often-half-dressed girls chasing after him every which way? Something of an inversion in that it's nearly always the fault of the girl in question. Also arguably subverted, in that everyone knows and admits that it's not Kaoru's fault.
    • A couple of them, Chika and Tina, even attempt to use the situation to their advantage in their pursuit of Kaoru. One fairly innocently, the other... considerably less so.
  • Achey Scars: Kaoru's, courtesy of his old mean grandpa.
  • Adaptation Distillation: At least as far as the anime covers, it resequences certain events, yet maintains a coherent story flow.
  • All Just a Dream: Subverted on two occasions in the Christmas Episode. The second subversion (and indeed the entire episode) may also be an example of Or Was It a Dream??
  • All-Loving Hero: Aoi loves everyone, and everyone loves Aoi. Pretty much every female member of the cast aspires to be like Aoi. Ironically, however, Aoi seems a bit oblivious to the depths of devotion of her own mentor, Miyabi.
  • Almost Kiss: Several instances of interruption by others when Kaoru and Aoi are about to kiss.
  • Apologises a Lot: Excuse me, but it should be mentioned that there are lots of apologises from everyone to everyone in this Anime.
  • Artificial Riverbank: Tina's favorite place.
  • Art Shift: Frequent in Imagine Spots. Also when any character is embarrassed or, sometimes, just witnessing someone else being embarrassed.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: In the manga partially averted - there's not much to see down below, but the girls' nipples are always visible when they are topless (and sometimes visible through their blouses / swimsuits).
    • In the anime version, everyone has Barbie Doll Anatomy. Except Tina (very briefly) in the episode where she and Kaoru get stuck in town and have to spend a night together at a love hotel.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Tina, as often as not. Has to live up to her job as Ms. Fanservice.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Kaoru wakes up more than once to find someone else sleeping next to him. See also: Dudette, He's Like, In a Coma!, below.
  • Big Fancy House: Lots of them.
  • Biting the Handkerchief: Tina does this in Mayu's Imagine Spot when Mayu envisions making a perfect lunch for Kaoru.
  • Bittersweet Ending: For all versions.
    • In the manga Aoi and Kaoru are together like they wanted. But they have both been expelled from their families. On the one hand, Aoi says she and Kaoru are happy. She also says that she doesn't get to see him as much as she might like because he works long hours to support them. There is also the big fact that the True Companions have been split up, although Aoi says they do get to see each other sometimes. Maybe call it a Happy Ending with bittersweet caveats.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Mayu. Not always the youngest, but always the brattiest.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Tina.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: With the notable exceptions of Mayu and Chika, pretty much all the girls, in their feelings toward Kaoru. Especially Tina, who's loved Kaoru for years.
    • Also, for a different reason, Kaoru and Aoi are unable to reveal their relationship to the other characters. Hilarity Ensues, especially for Tina.
    • In "Moonlight" and the preceding episode(s), Tina's inability to admit she's leaving Japan to return to her family home in America — or even, when the time comes, to say goodbye.
      • This is in character for Tina according to the various bits of backstory revealed earlier in the series; most notably when it's revealed that Tina's abrupt disappearance on her year-long around-the-world backpacking trip was the result of her inability to deal with her feelings for Kaoru. She also claims later to have seen something between Aoi and Kaoru right away as a major reason why she still couldn't spit out her feelings to Kaoru even after coming back.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Aoi, who is near-unconscious after 3 beers. Kaoru as well, unless that Gargle Blaster Tina brought back was a unique case. Taeko, on the other hand, tosses it back with no trouble.
  • Cat Girl: Aoi, in Kaoru's Imagine Spot. Mostly due to her Hyperspace Ears.
  • Cat Smile: Tina.
  • Cheerful Child: Chika may be slightly old for this, but she's within the extended parameters of the trope.
  • Cherry Blossoms: A recurring theme, visually almost omnipresent but also occasionally referenced in the dialogue. See also Meaningful Name.
  • The Chew Toy: Taeko. Which is not to say Taeko is never The Woobie; sometimes she is, especially in regard to her hopeless love for Kaoru. But as a combination of The Ditz and the Cute Clumsy Girl, Taeko brings a lot of "hilarity" down upon her own head (often literally), and this is nearly always played for laughs.
  • Chick Magnet: Kaoru, although he never seems to pick up on it.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Kaoru Hanabishi and Aoi Sakuraba. Not only does the First Girl Win, she was the only one with a shot of winning, even from the first episode.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: The key plot point: they want to keep it.
  • Children Are Innocent: Chika acts (and looks) more like a nine-year-old than like a junior high student (or, in Enishi, a high school student).
  • Christmas Cake: Miyabi, seemingly. Given her devotion to Aoi and to the Sakuraba family business, it's not clear when she'd ever have time to date. On the other hand, given the intensity of her devotion to Aoi, it's not entirely clear she'd even want to.
  • Christmas Episode:
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Mayu Miyuki. Tina shows this a bit too when Mayu gets a little too friendly with Kaoru.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Taeko is capable of producing decent meals, but she has a tendency to mix her normal meals with chocolate.
  • Covert Pervert: Most of the cast (besides Tina).
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Miyabi gets a whole flock of them around her during a montage of Taeko's clumsiness.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Fairly tame example, but Taeko, of all people, is the one to lead the charge to take down the Obake haunting the mansion. Although it turns out to be just Tina's ferret Uzume.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl:
    • Combined with her role as The Ditz, this can lead Taeko into The Chew Toy territory.
    • Chika's friend Chizuru is also a Cute Clumsy Girl, but seemingly a milder example than Taeko. She certainly swims like a klutz, especially for someone on the school swim team. If you can even call what she does swimming.
  • Cute Little Fangs:
    • Tina.
    • Miyabi, in a worried Aoi's Imagine Spot in an Enishi episode.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Miyabi.
  • "Dinner, Bath, or Sex" Offer: Aoi says this during an Imagine Spot by Kaoru. Inside it, it didn't matter which choice he picked, because he gets her no matter what.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kaoru's died when he was five.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Kaoru with "Santaoi" in the special episode "Miyuki".
  • The Ditz: Oh, Taeko. (Especially in the early episodes, when she's the model in the photography club — a case of reverse flanderization.) This, along with her role as the Cute Clumsy Girl, can result in her being The Chew Toy.
  • Dogged Nice Girl: Tina gives it her best. Except, you know, actually admitting anything. Until "Moonlight." Arguably Taeko, who, one episodes suggests, may have been a Dogged Nice Girl toward Kaoru for several generations.
    • Aoi, before the series begins, when she learns that her engagement to Kaoru has been broken. Played straight in the sense that Aoi gets her man. Mild subversion in that it wasn't Kaoru but rather her family who broke the engagement, so in a way she was pursuing a love interest she had already won.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Taeko treats driving an actual car like doing it in an arcade. The maneuvers we are shown are actually quite skillful, but scare the bejesus out of her passengers.
  • Dudette, He's Like, In a Coma!: Tina and Kaoru are forced to spend a night in a love hotel (chaste, since they're only friends), on account of rain and having missed the homebound trains. While Kaoru is asleep, Tina silently debates with herself about kissing him. Judging from her thoughts the next day, she went through with it several times — and seemed alternately happy and regretful about taking advantage of him. Kaoru didn't notice.
  • Eagleland (type 2): Kinda. Tina, the only major character from America, is rather brazen, especially by Japanese standards.
    • Although technically Japanese, Mayu has spent a considerable portion of her life in Britain and the U.S. Naturally she's the brattiest character in the series.
  • Ecchi: Skyrockets to this level in a chapter of the manga, when Kaoru and Aoi have sex.
  • Everyman: Kaoru.
  • Extreme Doormat: Taeko. Later, Chizuru.
    • Saionji might be an even more extreme example — he doesn't even seem to have opinions of his own — but it's difficult to know for certain, since he's Mayu's butler / chauffeur and we never see him off duty. He seems not to resent it at all when she says, "Have I ever told you why I hate Japanese men? They're rude, filthy, and simple-minded." Shortly afterward, he asks Kaoru to "please be a friend to Mayu-sama."
  • Fanservice: In many episodes of the anime, and much of the manga.
  • First Girl Wins: See also Childhood Friend Romance.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: There's a broken Childhood Marriage Promise but she wants to find him. When she does he doesn't remember her at first. There are flashbacks, not to the first time they met but while the were friends as kids together.
  • Freudian Excuse: Kaoru's abusive grandfather turned him into a recluse. Mayu's workaholic parents never paid her attention except when she accomplished something, so she's constantly craving attention, especially from Kaoru. (Does that make Kaoru her father-substitute?)
  • Friend Zone: Tina. Except she probably didn't meet Kaoru until they were about seventeen, so more literally an Unlucky Teenhood Friend. Other than that, fits the trope perfectly.
  • Gag Boobs: Taeko's. They don't look all that different from, say, Tina's, at least to the audience. But nearly everyone within the show comments on them. Repeatedly.
  • Gainaxing: Taeko has that extra "bounce". But just a little. Really.
  • Gargle Blaster: Tina's mysterious purple liquor of doom KOs Kaoru and Miyabi in one shot. In the anime, it's multicolored and glows in the dark.
  • Genki Girl: Tina Foster and Chika. Later, Natsuki.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Chika's normal style.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: There are lots of stuffed animals which where given to her by her father in Mayu's bedroom. Ussa, her favourite, reminds her of her first meeting with Kaoru.
  • The Glomp: Mayu, Tina, and Chika. Each of them, toward Kaoru.
    • The one with which Tina introduces herself was particularly spectacular, with a flying leap from a bench.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Kaoru has "good" ones, after all he went through thanks to his grandpa.
  • Gorgeous Gaijin: Tina, the blonde American who's already Ms. Fanservice in a Fanservice-heavy show.
  • Gratuitous English: Tina and Mayu have both spent a lot of time in English-speaking countries, yet neither speak it very well. Mild Lampshade Hanging when people keep asking Tina if she is really American.
    • Lampshaded more obviously when Tina and Mayu first meet; and Tina momentarily forgets how to speak English.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Mayu Miyuki. The other members of the Unwanted Harem evoke jealousy, envy, and resentment in her heart, and she inspires similar feelings in some of them — especially Tina. Of course, Mayu's all-around nastiness toward Tina doesn't help matters.
    • Miyabi resents Kaoru for hogging Aoi's attention all these years, and she flat-out tells him so. She also feels jealousy on Aoi's behalf whenever she sees him with the other girls.
    • Aoi feels jealousy much more readily over time in the manga, especially once the harem reaches critical mass with the addition of Chika. She doesn't show it as much given the pronounced pressure from her family to keep a lid on the relationship. She finally admits it to Kaoru later on, and the pressure of having to keep the relationship a secret while watching other women be so openly affectionate puts a great strain on her.
  • Gruesome Grandparent: Kaoru's grandfather forbade him from every seeing his mother after he adopted him as the Hanabishi heir, burned nearly all of Kaoru's possessions relating to his mother, and savagely beat him with his cane when he tried to stop it. This ultimately led to Kaoru leaving the Hanabishis for good.
  • Hadaka Apron: Aoi, but only in Kaoru's Imagine Spots.
  • Happily Adopted: Miyabi. Officially in the ending of the manga.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Tina, and to a lesser extent Taeko. Not much lesser, though.
  • Harem Nanny: Miyabi.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Aoi draws all sorts of unwanted attention whenever she shows up on campus, not in spite of her extremely conservative attire but rather because of it.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend:
    • Inverted by Chika. At first she encourages her Those Two Girls, friends Natsuki and Chizuru, to leap to the wrong conclusions about the nature of her relationship with Kaoru. Later, when they call him her boyfriend, she corrects them and says he isn't — but wistfully. She'd love to be able to tell them he is.
    • Aoi also has an atypical relationship with this trope: whenever any member of The Unwanted Harem inquires about her feelings for Kaoru, she gets flustered and denies them. The initial reason is to keep their betrothal secret so as not to create scandal for the Sakurabas, but as the series progresses it feels more and more like an outright Idiot Plot.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Any girl who isn't Aoi.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Multiple instances.
  • Identical Grandfather: An old photograph reveals that some presumed ancestor of Taeko, who looks identical to our Taeko even down to the glasses and maid outfit, had an unrequited crush on some presumed ancestor of Kaoru, who looks identical to our Kaoru.
  • Innocent Innuendo: When Kaoru is spending the night at Mayu's Big Fancy House they have some very suggestive dialogue which turns out to be about a card game.
    • And in chapter 41 of the manga, when Kaoru and Tina are forced by heavy rain to spend the night in a love hotel, there is suggestive dialogue which turns out to be about a video game they are playing.
  • Intimate Healing: By Aoi to Kaoru, both when he gets a fever and her general impact on his psyche.
  • Jerkass: Of the main characters, Mayu Miyuki comes closest.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mayu Miyuki.
  • Joshikousei: Chika and her classmates.
  • Just Friends: Sure you are, Tina. Keep telling yourself that.
  • Lethal Chef: Taeko (at first), and Mayu.
    • Taeko may be more of a Cordon Bleugh Chef, or perhaps a combination of the tropes. (I don't recall which Mayu is.)
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Mayu's Freudian Excuse is her extreme case of Parental Abandonment.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Tina, considering she's groped every female in the cast except Mayu, as well as practically assaulting Kaoru on a couple of occasions.
  • Love Hotels: Tina and Kaoru have to stay in one overnight when they get stuck in the city.
  • Love You and Everybody: In one episode, Chika inverts this trope by cornering each of the girls and badgering them to find out if they "love" Kaoru, only to end the episode with the gleeful proclamation that everyone loves Kaoru. Since Children Are Innocent, to her that counts as a happy resolution to the issue.
  • Luminescent Blush: Lots of 'em.
  • Magical Girlfriend: Aoi sometimes borders on this. Except in the Christmas Episode, in which she really is this - to be exact, a Santa Claus who loses her magic necklace (the key to her homeworld), and grants Kaoru a wish after he finds it. He wishes to spend Christmas with her, and names her Aoi. The rest of the episode focuses on "Aoi" and Kaoru's special Christmas encounter.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Averted. Although definitely a dream girl, and arguably pixie-ish, Aoi is decidedly not manic, or overtly quirky, or even all that chipper except when basking in her love for Kaoru. And if Manic Pixie Dream Girl-wannabee Tina ever had any chance at a beyond-platonic relationship with Kaoru, her abrupt disappearance for a year — ironically, in part to try to get her act together for Kaoru — completely sabotaged it.
  • Marshmallow Hell:
    • Kaoru is sandwiched between Tina's and Taeko's considerable chests in chapter 36 of the manga.
    • He also gets a dose from Aoi, thanks to her more-prodigious-than-advertised assets and her tendency to grab things in her sleep.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Aoi's surname (桜庭 Sakuraba) means "cherry-blossom garden" — she informs Kaoru that her family is named after a grove of cherry trees they've owned for centuries — and the name Aoi can mean "hollyhock flower" (which is the kanji she uses to spell her name, 葵) as well as "blue."
      • Aoi can also mean "pale," "green," "unripe," or "inexperienced."
    • Mayu's family name is Miyuki, which means something like "beautiful snow." Fitting, given her haughty personality.
    • And to round out the flower-themed naming, (花菱 Hanabishi) is a flower shaped family crest and Kaoru spells his name with the kanji for "fragrant," 薫
    • The title "Bluer Than Indigo" comes from the saying about indigo dye being bluer than the leaves it comes from, as a metaphor for the student surpassing their teacher. This is what Kaoru and Aoi do in the end when they separate from the families that brought them up and elope together, having learned what true love and family really mean to them.
    • And then, of course, there's the fact that the 藍 (ai, indigo) in the title is a perfect homonym for 愛 — that is, love, in the romantic sense that is usually reserved only for people truly dedicated to one another.
  • Meet Cute: So very, very cute. Both in the first episode (when Kaoru and Aoi meet as adults) and in the flashbacks (when they first meet as toddlers).
  • Meganekko: Taeko.
  • Meido: Taeko. Chika and Mayu get into the act, too.
  • Ms. Fanservice: At first, Taeko, as the fetish model for the photography club. Later, when that arc gets dropped, Tina.
    • Or, you know, pretty much the entire female cast.
  • Missing Mom: The Hanabishi clan took Kaoru from her, at age five, when his father died. A few years later, she too died. Not just that, but his grandfather destroyed all her photographs and belongings. All of them, that is, except a jewelry box key young Kaoru gave young Aoi as a Very Special Present.
  • Mood Whiplash: The show bounces bizarrely between lighthearted (if not outright filler) fanservice and poignant romance. In the first season and much of the second, most of the poignancy comes from the backstory of Aoi and Kaoru. During the sequel Enishi — by which point most of the reasons for Aoi and Kaoru to worry for their future, and to keep their romance a secret, have been resolved — the poignancy tips increasingly toward Tina.
  • Nice Guy: Kaoru, once he comes out of his shell. From a certain perspective, his tolerance of The Unwanted Harem is cruel both to Aoi and to the duped girls in question, but it's mostly his own kindness that keeps him from driving them off. That, and also they eventually become True Companions.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Taeko likes the idea of ghosts and poltergeists. Everyone else wants nothing to do with it.
  • Nipple and Dimed: To an extent. You can see nipples in close up, especially in the bathing scenes (good god there's a lot of them) but at other times, they're non-existent.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Mayu.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted once in the manga. Chizuru, trying to calm herself down and get over her fear of swimming, is shown sitting on a toilet with her swimsuit actually pulled down, implying that if she's not pooping, she's at least peeing.
  • No Ending: The anime adaptation was Cut Short before the Kaoru/Aoi storyline is resolved. You'll have to read the last few issues of the manga to get a ''real'' ending.
    • It also does nothing with Tina's learning about Kaoru and Aoi's Official Couple status, though one could say that the conversation Tina and Aoi have on the roof implies to the viewer that Tina's cool with it.
  • Not This One, That One: Kaoru initially thinks he'll get to live in the mansion, but in fact, he gets relegated to a much smaller house.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Subverted, as Kaoru gets into improper situations, but the girls actually listen to his explanations and realize it's not his fault. Sometimes even realize that it's not his fault even without explanations. And Aoi always gives him the benefit of the doubt.
    • Miyabi's first appearance didn't even give Kaoru time to explain before she gave him a beatdown.
  • Obake: One haunts the mansion, terrorizing the girls (especially Tina) while they try to sleep. Well, except that it turns out to be just Tina's ferret Uzume.
  • Puni Plush: Only on occasion. Usually it's when a character has been humiliated in some way. Often accompanied by a Face Fault or similar slapstick.
  • Puppy Love: When Kaoru and Aoi meet and fall in love as toddlers. In this case, after many a setback, the ship did eventually set sail.
  • The Rashomon: Tina exaggerates this trope in chapter 13. Just a little.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Aoi's mother, when she first comes to Kaoru's apartment, is prepared to take Aoi back home. She eventually relents and arranges the whole landlord situation for them to have a Secret Relationship. A major reason is that, during that meeting, she realized that fighting to stay with Kaoru is the first time Aoi ever actively disobeyed the family, taking it as a sign of just how determined Aoi was on the matter.
  • Rebel Prince: Justified by Kaoru who went from reluctant to rebellious. He was the eldest son of the head of the Hanabishi Zaibatsu and was set to take over the zaibatsu after his father retired. Yet Kaoru never felt at home in the Hanabishi family and left to live alone in self-imposed exile after his mother died. Not to mention, there's the physical and mental abuse that his tyrannical grandfather subjected him to...
  • Red String of Fate: Shown in second season OP, and mentioned a few times.
  • Running Gag: Subtle, but Suzuki sure likes trains.
  • Say My Name: "Aoi-chan" and "Kaoru-sama".
  • Scars Are Forever: Kaoru has many scars on his back because he was mistreated in his childhood by his grandfather.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Taeko gets them in ep 4 of Enishi.
  • Screaming Warrior: Miyabi in "Phantoms" (Enishi ep 4) definitely evokes this when she attacks Mayu by mistake. She might be a woman, but Screaming Woman was not being used here (that was earlier).
  • Secret Relationship: Kaoru and Aoi have an Arranged Marriage from way back when and are very much in love, but Aoi's family, in order to avoid a scandal (the marriage had been called off when Kaoru left the Hanabishis due to the abuse from his grandfather), force them to keep it a secret.
  • Selective Obliviousness: See Oblivious to Love, above.
    • Conversely: it really should have been obvious to everyone that there was more going on between "Kaoru-sama" and "Aoi-chan" than just a tenant-landlady relationship. Leaving aside her odd deference toward him and his odd familiarity toward her ... how many words can Aoi go without mentioning Kaoru?
      • A possible Retcon, but late in the manga Tina reveals she had known from the instant she first saw Kaoru and Aoi together that something was up between them, which contributed heavily to her most recent bout of Cannot Spit It Out with regards to Kaoru.
  • Sempai/Kohai: Whenever addressing her elders, Taeko uses "sempai" either as a designation or as an honorific suffix. That includes Kaoru, even though in her Tragic Dream the two of them are destined to fall in love. It even includes Aoi, who, according to back-of-the-envelope calculations, ought to be younger than Taeko. But Aoi is of much higher caste than Taeko, and is also both her landlady and her boss, so in this case, "sempai" may nothing more than a sign of respect and esteem. See also The Nick Namer.
  • Sexy Santa Dress: Not all that skimpy, but Aoi-Santa (Santaoi?) wears one in the Christmas Episode.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shrinking Violet: Several characters — especially Tina and Kaoru — are implied to have been this until soon before the series begins. One explanation of Tina's bizarre Lovable Sex Maniac antics is that she's still trying too hard to overcome her inner Shrinking Violet.
  • Significant Birth Date: Aoi was born on the day of Tanabata, which celebrates the once-a-year meeting of Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair) across the Milky Way. It's the Japanese equivalent to Valentine's Day.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Nearly every female in the cast, toward Kaoru — at least three of them (Aoi, Tina, Mayu) from years before the opening of the series.
  • Skinship Grope: Tina is very fond of doing this to the other girls. It's most certainly not relegated solely to the furo house.
    Suzuki: Oh, don't mind. That's just Tina's socially awkward way of saying hello.
    Tina: [groping Taeko] Man, you got some serious melons!
  • Smug Snake: Kaoru's half-brother, who outright abducts Aoi and manages to arrange for the manor to be closed down in an effort to make her marry him in place of Kaoru, so he can inherit.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Kaoru's grandfather was apparently in the habit of beating the hell out of him with his cane while goons held him down and burning his deceased mother's last worldly possessions, just to show his tyrannical disapproval of her marriage to Kaoru's father. Kaoru should be nominated for sainthood for just running away without first snapping and murdering his grandpa, like any normal person would have done when pushed that far.
  • Spoiled Brat: Mayu Miyuki.
  • Sprouting Ears: Aoi. Tina also did this in ep5 (see Cat Girl above).
  • Squee!: Tina in manga chapter 39, "Azure".
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Miyabi.
  • Supporting Harem: Made clear by the fact that the lead girl has already won within the first few episodes. (Just the rest of the Harem doesn't know, and for various reasons they feel they need to keep it a secret).
  • Tsundere: Miyabi, especially at the beginning.
  • Unlucky Everydude: Kaoru. Mostly in the past by the time the series begins. But he had a really tough childhood.
  • Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: As shown in the Distant Finale, despite Kaoru's marriage to Aoi, Mayu still hasn't given up on him and visits their house at least once a month, often getting on Aoi's nerves in the process.
  • Unwanted Harem: Kaoru has Aoi, Tina, Taeko, Mayu and Chika in love with him. Out of all of them, the only one he wants is Aoi, but circumstances prevent him from letting anyone else know that he and Aoi are the Official Couple.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: In the manga, Chika's assessment of the relationship between Mayu and Tina. Mayu loudly expresses outrage: "Just so we are clear, she will state it outright: Mayu absolutely hates Tina-san!" But then...
  • Weasel Mascot: Tina's ferret Uzume.
  • What Happened To The Ferret: Team Pet Uzume doesn't show up after volume 9.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Miyabi is physically capable of throwing Kaoru across a room — but the sight of Uzume bringing her a large dead bug makes her climb onto his back and wail, "NOO!" And Uzume, like a cat, brings her lots of bugs as a token of love.
    • Tina has a phobia of thunderstorms.
  • Witch Species: "Sataoi" from Miyuki is just one of many "Santas" that bring the gift of pleasent dreams on Christmas.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Kaoru's grandfather showed no discomfort about beating him with a cane after his mother's death.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko:
    • Aoi wanted to be Kaoru's since childhood. She's got the skill set and general attitude of a Yamato Nadeshiko, but her whole situation with Kaoru would be entirely different if she weren't assertive enough to defy her family's authority. She makes it abundantly clear that her ultimate devotion is to love, not a particularly traditionalist viewpoint.
    • Taeko expresses her desire to be a Yamato Nadeshiko, in part to be "worthy" of Kaoru's love. But she's really more of an Extreme Doormat crossed with a Cute Clumsy Girl. Adorable but rather hopeless.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Aoi, Miyabi, and Mayu each have different shades of purplish hair.
  • Your Favorite: The first meal that Aoi cooks for Kaoru at his apartment consists of all of his favorite foods. When he expresses surprise at this, she mentions that she'd remembered them since their childhood meeting.
  • Zigzag Paper Tassel: Done with the crew investigating the Big Fancy House's attic. Boy, do they look cute in the miko getups.


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