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Manga / Aoi House

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Aoi House is an Original English-Language manga published by Seven Seas Entertainment. It began as a webcomic before being picked up by Seven Seas Entertainment, at which point a new artist was assigned to it. It is filled with homages to other works—mostly anime, but not exclusively.

Aoi House is the story of Alexis "Alex" Roberts and Sandy Grayson, two male college students kicked out of their dorm for having "unknown and potentially alcoholic beverages" (they weren't alcoholic) and for showing lewd anime videos in the student lounge, and because during their meeting with the dean about these infractions, Sandy's hamster Echiboo made himself comfortable in the dean's toupee. However, they seem to be in luck when they find a flyer for an anime club, "Aoi House". Just one problem: before the Y fell off of their sign, they were "Yaoi House", and the flyer neglected to mention that it's supposed to be girls and gay guys only. However, seeing as how the housing committee has been on their case to get more members, they have no choice but to let Alex and Sandy stay. Hilarity Ensues.

The original webcomic ran in 2005. It used to be hosted at the Go Manga website, but the site since went down. For a time it was rereleased online at the new Pixie Trix/Zoom Comics server 5 days a week, but those went offline as well. The entire series is available in print and e-reader formats.

This series provides examples of:

  • All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles: Tiny
  • Aloof Big Brother: "Oniisan", who plays the role of The Chessmaster. Eventually revealed to actually be Elle's older brother.
  • Cosplay Otaku Girls: The girls of Aoi House are this.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Morgan has either one or two of these most of the time.
  • Dean Bitterman: Mr. Perkins
  • Distaff Counterpart: Uri House. As their name implies, they consist of male Yuri Fans, with two female members and Luna-P.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue showcases the characters as adults. Elle is an actress, Jessica is a nurse, Sandy runs a comic shop and is married to Maria, Alex is married to Morgan, and so on.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Because the later webcomics set in the same universe are explicitly set in The Unmasqued World, Aoi House can come off as this to readers who came in from Paranormal Mystery Squad or Vampire Cheerleaders. The first arc is a (mostly) mundane Slice of Life comedy about anime-loving college students, and while the second arc dials up the weirdness some, it is also fairly grounded. There's no sign of any of the Urban Fantasy elements that define the later webcomics. Even Stephanie Kane, the lynch-pin character for the Shared Universe, only appears in the final handful of strips after the third arc is resolved (although she's the central figure for the Lost Episode).
  • Enemy Mine: Both Aoi House and Uri House challenge the USA SOS Brigade, an anime club dedicated to Haruhi Suzumiya, to a cosplay duel after they won Best Anime Display, and with it, a new PlayStation 3.
  • Fan Convention: In the second arc everyone goes to Hatsu-Con, and meets the rival Uri House.
  • Fanservice: There's a fanservice showdown between Aoi House and their rivals, Uri House at Hatsu-Con. Aoi House wins thanks in part to one of the judges being a Lolicon fetishist, which Morgan is able to exploit, and another one is a straight woman, who is vulnerable to Alex's hypnotic hair.
  • Gainax Ending/The Series Has Left Reality: Despite no prior supernatural elements other than hints of sentience in the pets and Alex's bewitching hair, the gang spend the last few chapters before the epilogue trapped in Silent Hill, tying the book to The Unmasqued World of its later sister series. A later bonus story has Steph take them back there, after analyzing Alex's hair and Sandy's apparently psychic [bad] luck.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Both of the male leads have androgynous names (in fact, their names are from the same root; "Sandy" is a form of "Alexander"), something that is pointed out at least twice.
  • Genki Girl: Morgan.
  • The Glomp: Morgan, to Alex.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Sort of happens after Alex's bishie-ness puts the girls into a trance.
  • Goth: Stephanie Kane.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Or vice versa, as it is Morgan who falls in love with Alex at first sight.
  • Homage: Too many to list here. Quite notably, however, Echiboo and Luna-P reenact the famous Spaghetti Kiss scene from Lady and the Tramp.
  • Interspecies Romance: Echiboo the hamster and Luna-P the pig. They mate, and Luna-P gives birth to a Mix-and-Match Critter.
  • Irony: For the "Yaoi 801" panel, Elle dressed as Relena Darlian, who is infamously hated by the yaoi fandom for getting in the way of the Heero/Duo pairing.
  • The Lad-ette: Nina. She's lazy, she smokes, and in the original, she was quite the drinker, too.
  • Love Triangle: After Elle becomes somewhat of a Defrosting Ice Queen, this starts to develop with Alex and Morgan.
  • Meaningful Name: Echiboo. After Sandy introduces him to the girls:
    Jessica: Sorry, tiger. I think you meant to say Ebichu? You just called your hamster a "perverted fart" in Japanese.
    Morgan: Perverted's right! Check it out!! It's a panty hamster!!
  • Must Have Caffeine: Elle
  • Nosebleed: Sandy is shown with one after he sees one of the girls naked.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Elle
  • No Sense of Direction: Never let Sandy drive.
  • Official Couple: The Distant Finale shows that Alex marries Morgan and Sandy marries Maria.
  • Otaku: ALL of the main characters are this to some extent thanks to the premise, but Sandy adheres to the achetype the most.
  • The Parody: Again, happens multiple times, but most notable in that it actually has an effect on the Distant Finale is "Echibond".
  • Pixellation: After Echiboo nibbles through Elle's panties.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Elle actually says this to Nina on one occasion, and there are other times when it's implied.
  • Pretty Boy: Alex and Mason, with Alex being a Long-Haired Pretty Boy. However, Alex's attractiveness is taken cranked up to eleven whenever he lets his hair down: every female character immediately falls for him and follows every command he gives. Just because he's THAT PRETTY.
  • Reality Show: "Aoi House" turns out to be this, with Elle's older brother as the producer.
  • Reference Overdosed: The post epilogue story, The Lost Episode, has props and quotes everywhere, many without any context.
  • Rich Bitch: Elle.
  • Rule 34: Elle references this in her "Yaoi 801" panel at Hatsu-Con.
  • Seme/Uke: Also referenced at "Yaoi 801". For the demonstration, Alex dresses up in the seme roles and Sandy in the uke.
  • Shared Universe: Stephanie Kane, who appears here, becomes the leader of Paranormal Mystery Squad, which links to Vampire Cheerleaders through her little sister's school, and to Eerie Cuties and its spinoffs through her childhood friendship with Layla Delacroix.
  • Ship Tease: Mason is able to break Elle out of her funk after she loses out to Morgan on getting Alex, but it's hinted at that he actually ends up with Jessica. This is another one of those ones that seems weird because they had little interaction during the main plot, but hints were dropped there.
  • Shout-Out: Far too many to list. Numerous anime and western media are referenced. Some are even extremely obscure such as the Gaijin song from the Adam and Joe go Tokyo British show
  • Shrinking Violet: Maria
  • Signs of Disrepair: Yaoi House and Yuri House
  • Sinister Scythe: Subverted in that the scythe is wielded by a protagonist.
  • Sweet Tooth: Morgan. Seriously. Elle seems to look for excuses to deny Morgan candy, likely because Morgan is hyper enough as it is.
  • Team Pet: Echiboo for Aoi House, Luna-P for Uri House. They get together in the end.
  • Theme Naming: Many characters' surnames (and most of the given names of the main characters' children in the Distant Finale) are references to DC Comics characters, usually Batman.
  • Those Two Guys: Kevin and Dale from Uri House; Oniisan's two assistants, Mike and Jamie.
  • Tsundere: Elle, with elements of a Himedere. She's clearly crushing on Alex, but constantly puts on a cold or Jerkass exterior to hide it. Ultimately Deconstructed, as this behavior not only drives Alex towards the much nicer Morgan, but ultimately alienates Elle from everyone except Oniisan by the beginning of the third act. She reconciles with the rest of the cast, but only after a Jerkass Realization ... and also saving them from the weirdness they found themselves in on the drive home.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Alex and Sandy's reaction when they first met Carlo.
  • Unsound Effect: "Noodle noodle noodle".
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: It's even titled as such.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Carlo...although the boys might call him a Creepy Crossdresser.
  • Yaoi Fangirls: The whole basis of the series.
  • Yuri Fans: Their rival counterpart.