Monday, July 9, 2012

hime speaks: Ai no Kusabi

Type: 2-part anime OVA (old); 4-part anime (2012)
Status: Finished Airing
Producers: AIC, KENMedia
Author: Reiko Yoshihara
Genre: Action (old), Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi, Shounen-Ai, Yaoi

On planet Amoi, a great society has developed, creating a computerized city called Tanagura, ruled by supercomputer Jupiter. The populace is almost entirely male and is based on hair color; silver and/or blonds are the elitist, ending with dark/black haired as the bottom of society, often known as "mongrels". Blondies keep "pets", young boys kept for a few years, especially made for performing sexual actions for the Blondie's voyeurism entertainment. Blondies aren't suppose to keep pets for long or interact sexually with pets, but one blondie named Iason Mink has kept a pet named Riki, for years and is rumored to sleep with him. Iason refuses to let go of Riki, even with Jupiter's disapproval. Riki fights with his emotions and society problems, unable to decide what to do about his old friend/lover Gai (Guy) and their gang. Iason is obsessed with keeping Riki, and Riki doesn't know what to do; fight against him or surrender to him. (old) -MAL

My Take:
With the wide fanbase this yaoi anime has, there's no denying how good the story is. I've watched the old version of this anime years ago, and since I recently got a copy of the 2012 remake, I had to re-watch the old version after watching the new one.

Story-wise, the plot development is a bit slow but it catches up along the way. I think that the pacing of the story is quite important as for a 2-part/4-par anime, it's kinda short to have character development that's really appropriate for the characters as the story progresses on. The mood and feel of the anime is enough to get drawn in to it's plot.

Also, this is one yaoi anime that's more than meets the eye. As I usually tend to review on anime media, I quite understand the frustration when the plot of a very short series (OVAs and whatnot) is a real clusterfuck. Most yaoi authors concentrate on the eye-candy (and sex scenes) that they can provide to their audience but Ai no Kusabi does not limit itself to that. I commend the makers for providing an intense plot that their target audience can immerse themselves in.

Speaking of sex scenes, Ai no Kusabi's are hot. They don't just slap you with images in every scene but on specific parts where the yaoi scene is appropriate. Another thing that I can appreciate with this yaoi anime is that there isn't any inappropriate body part shown on the screen. Sure, their outfits might be risque for the viewer, as well as occasional naked men, but no male sex organ was ever shown. Kind of makes you think that the author wanted to leave that into your imagination, especially when Iason did his business with Riki. This anime does not need the private parts to deliver and still makes itself hot for the audience.

Comparing the two versions, I'd say that the old one is a lot better than the remake. I can give credit to the beautiful art of the new version, but I found the length of their torso a bit awkward and found their limbs elongated than normal. Those factors made me find the old art style a lot more appealing, even if the drawings clearly spelled O-L-D.

Another thing is that Iason is a lot more loving in the old version. If you compare the two, the new version's ending really leaves you hanging; it does not explain what happens to Kirie as the anime ends with Riki doing an emo walk in the rain. The timeline is a little bit confusing as a lot of Riki's past came flashing back at the fourth part of the anime, thus it gave an open ending (at least to me).

Whereas in the old version, the plot and storyline was really thought of and, just like what I mentioned with the sex scenes, the flashbacks were in the right moment of the story progression. It's a little bit frustrating to see that Iason Mink seems to only toy with Riki in the new version since I was exposed to how his feelings become erratic when it comes to Riki's welfare after their separation; the new Iason seems to be stuck on the teasing phase. 

It's a shame how Guy/Gai's and Iason's climatic scene was left out in the new anime version  as well. The final scene between Iason and Riki after that would have been very touching and heart-wrenching to see. Obviously, my preference over the two is the old one, however, the new version is a pleasant back story on the main plot.

If you have the time to appreciate the beauty of Ai no Kusabi, then I highly encourage that you watch both versions. It might be hard to stomach the old art style of the old version, but hopefully you can look past that and appreciate the plot of the story more. I know the younger generation of BL fans might appreciate the new version more, but the story feels incomplete with the missing scenes found only on the old version.

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