- Alternative Character Interpretation: Aoi. Extreme Doormat? Purity Sue? Both? Neither? Debate rages.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Tina. So much so that she becomes the main character for the Ennishi anime and her situation drives most of the conflicts since Kaoru and Aoi's have basically all been resolved already.
- Idiot Plot: A mild example — perhaps more of a None-Too-Clever Plot. But it really should be obvious to anyone paying attention that something odd is going on between Aoi and Kaoru; even the way they address each other — Aoi calling the ostensibly lower-caste Kaoru "Kaoru-sama" while Kaoru calls the ostensibly higher-caste Aoi "Aoi-chan" — should make people suspicious. Even more egregiously, while Aoi and Kaoru may have reason to keep their engagement low profile to avoid antagonizing Aoi's family, there's no good reason for Kaoru to pretend he's romantically "available," except that it keeps the "hilarity" going.
- Averted in the manga, where, in spite of being sidelined or downplayed for comedic purposes most of the time, it is made fairly clear that Aoi's family is putting extreme pressure on Aoi and Kaoru to avoid giving any sign of being in a relationship. They even go so far as to actively attempt to break them up by trying to get Aoi to marry another man. This persists all the way up to the final volume where Aoi is practically kidnapped in an attempt to get her to marry the other Kaoru who is supposed to be the new heir to Hanabishi clan. It's made clear that Aoi's father has been opposed to her relationship with Kaoru up to the very end. This troper is a little surprised that her father didn't put out a hit on the guy (you know, aside from the fact that that would have comprised the author taking the genre and structure of his story and breaking them over his knee).
- Subverted with Tina, who later admits that she did notice the attraction Kaoru and Aoi had for each other, but had doubts and (unaware of both their upper-class statuses and the enforced Cannot Spit It Out) couldn't begin to guess why they were hiding it.
- Les Yay: Tina likes groping other women's (and girls') breasts. But she's really in love with Kaoru. Also, there's her threat to go kiss Aoi and Miyabi if Kaoru won't kiss her.
- Miyabi's life revolves around Aoi, and she admits feeling jealousy toward Kaoru, as well as a belief that he is unworthy of all the effort Aoi has been putting in to prepare for being his wife.
- Played with when Tina discovers Aoi's habit of hugging people or objects in her sleep. She tells Aoi the next morning, "I thought I was going to have to switch teams just to survive," and there's an Imagine Spot of a wide-awake, seductively smiling Aoi fondling her. Meanwhile, the real Aoi is going into spasms of embarrassment, complete with Luminescent Blush and Big "NO!".
- Moe: Wouldn't really be an Unwanted Harem show without tons of it, right?
- Tastes Like Diabetes: Some feel this way about the romance between Kaoru and Aoi, especially as the series goes on and on and on.
- Values Dissonance: Aoi's submissiveness; Tina's ongoing sexual harassment of the other characters.
- Possibly the main reason for much of the Alternative Character Interpretation, due to the difference between Japanese and western cultures.
- The Woobie: Several. Kaoru's backstory makes him the most straightforward example, particularly that his mother had to leave him with his abusive grandfather, and the cost of him leaving the Hanabishis to escape such abuse was his Perfectly Arranged Marriage with Aoi.
YMMV / Ai Yori Aoshi