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Buried Treasure - Ai no Kusabi


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nishime



Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:01 am Reply with quote
I remember watching this way back when and being totally totally baffled by it. Eventually I settled for just listening to them and ignoring whatever plot it had. Luckily, it's got a great cast.

I read the first novel that came out, and now I've got a better grasp of the world of Ai no Kusabi, except that by now, I can't remember what was going on anymore. Sounds like it was pretty much like the novel, from what you said, though.
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Julia-the-Great



Joined: 14 May 2005
Posts: 328

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:35 am Reply with quote
Oh wow, I read this article every week (it's my favorite on the site) and I never expected there to be a title that I've actually SEEN.

I had the good fortune to read a warning beforehand that I had to do a little bit of reading up on the world it was set in before I watched it, otherwise I probably would have been a little confused. But I was able to follow it all right. Very good anime.
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Van_Helsing



Joined: 08 Sep 2005
Posts: 16
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 2:11 am Reply with quote
Yay, thanks a lot for reviewing this anime ! I saw it quite a long time ago, and even now I can't find any better yaoi...
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athlios



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 2:14 am Reply with quote
I've been putting off watching this for maybe 3 years, perhaps now is the time. Thanks for the motivation!
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domino



Joined: 25 Nov 2004
Posts: 373

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:03 am Reply with quote
I'd almost forgotten about good 'ol Ai no Kusabi. Reading this makes me want to hunt down a copy and watch it again.
The art is gorgeous and the plot is great. If only the rest of the genre learned how to be like this instead of tumbling down the road of cliche girly-man fanservice (then again, anime in general seems to be going down the mindless fetish road lately...)
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Cloe
Moderator


Joined: 18 Feb 2004
Posts: 2728
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:08 am Reply with quote
Hahaha, I'm embarrassed to admit this, but Ai no Kusabi is one of the few VHS fansub tapes I took the time to acquire in the 90s. Although I've long since grown out of my fangirl phase, this title will always be one of those nostalgic ones, and I do still appreciate the artwork and animation.
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akeleven



Joined: 28 Sep 2004
Posts: 3
Location: Anchorage, Ak

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:06 am Reply with quote
Thank you for the review of Ai no Kosabi. Hopefully it will trigger an English release. There are other yaoi anime's worth watching, that I will mention below.

But first, your lead-in was a trifle mean spirited and your generalities overstated. This fangirl is not only not young, but has also outlived the hormones. Behind the 18'ers that are celebrating their new right to own "Adult Only" is a long line of old timers who don't need to go to cons to obtain new treasures. You have over-generalized to get some digs at a stereotype that exists in your own mind for cheap laughs. Please stuff your preconceptions back into the closet. Razz

You are right that yaoi fans are accepting of bad OAV's because that is most of what we get. You might mention, however, that the bad releases are produced by people (dare I say, men) who don't understand the subtleties of variety in the genre and are operating under their own set of preconceptions of "what women want".

On the other hand there is some very good anime yaoi; there is another good OAV "Winter Cicada" and two excellent series, "Patalliro" and "Patalliro Saiyuki" - a side-splitting send-up of the classic "Journey to the West". Hopefully the fansubbers will be able to finish the subtitles. Also ,you will find several references to the genre in some of the current mainstream titles. (Potemayo, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei)

" The appeal of yaoi to hormone-drenched young women is a subject that's long fascinated me, but I have to admit that from an artistic standpoint the yaoi anime I've seen have been pretty underwhelming. Most of the stories seem to be fluffy clichés not too far removed from the plot of a porno, and in fact, some recent examples degenerate into outright porn. Often, in an effort to appeal to the fanbase, the male characters are made to look and act so overtly female that I have to wonder what the point was in even making the show yaoi. "
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sunflower



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 632

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:11 am Reply with quote
Ai no Kusabi is definitely one of the highlights of yaoi anime, and there aren't many IMO. The novels were written back in the day when some BL writers used the highly literate style known as tanbi to craft their works, as opposed to the more dumbed down style prevalent in light novels today. The society itself has a depth to it that intrigued me as a hardcore science fiction fan.

There are two other anime that I think would interest fans who want yaoi of greater depth. One is Mirage of Blaze, based on a long series of novels, about the tortured relationship between two historical Japanese figures from the Edo era who are reincarnated through the ages and destined to both love and hate each other as they act out their roles as master and servant in all their lives. It's really heavy on the history and has a large cast of historical figures that can be difficult to follow if you don't know that history, but I loved having something more to think about in a series.

Another historical anime set in the Edo period is the much more recent Winter Cicada, an offshoot of the Haru wo Daiteita manga and anime. This is a short OVA series about two men on opposing sides of the foreigner question who struggle against becoming lovers yet can't help it, and it of course leads where you'd expect it to.

There are some other yaoi OVAs that aren't bad, like Zetsui/Bronze, Earthian, and Kasho no Tsuki, which actually have interesting stories. But those three above are the highlights of yaoi anime for me.

Thanks for showcasing this one Justin! (BTW, I've been watching Cooking Master Boy and love it. Thanks for recommending that one too!)
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Dameon_Grey



Joined: 10 Jan 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:39 am Reply with quote
I almost cried when I read this. I've never heard anything about Ai no Kusabi outside of aarinfantasy.com.

This was my first ever yaoi, (winter of '05) the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, I only wish I could find the radio readings, perhaps now they'll resurface.

Unless I was simply terribly unlucky, the only download (illegal yes :sweat:) out there was a poor quality torrent that was slow to download and then when it did the video was terrible and the sound was barely audible. Luckily the story was still there, so I was able to fall in love with in no matter how horrible a quality it was.

Then just two months ago I decided since I had become more familiar with online shopping, I'd hit up Ebay to see if I could get lucky. I found a dvd somebody was selling and bought it without any hesitation. IT'S BEAUTIFUL! The sound, the video, everything is so much better. The story is still just as beautiful but now... it looks and sounds good XD

And now this, I feel like I'm not alone, none of my friends have seen Ai no Kusabi, I don't know many people online who've seen it, and now this article to shine light upon it, finally I won't be alone, I'm trying to get my local anime convention to let me show it for yaoi night, they've been showing boku no sexual harassment for the last four years ._. ..... um, if any of you have seen that..... Ai no Kusabi is waaaay better XD of course that's just an opinion of mine but i expect it to be shared by many many others XD


ps: I made (just now) an account JUST to reply to this article, of course I might be more active now that I have a nice account ^w^ but that's just how happy I was to see this, and i know i just sort of rambled more about Ai no, rather than critiqued the article, for that I am sorry. I don't know what others are replying about. I saw a few that were simply about their love for this anime, sooo I assumed this would be ok ^w^ oh goodness ._. I'm sorry I'm typing so much, I'll stop XD night night (4:30 am) @w@
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Hullut Sisarukset



Joined: 18 Mar 2005
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:46 am Reply with quote
I agree that Ai no Kusabi is one of the best-written BL stuff I've come across. I love the fact that it has a well-crafted, carefully depicted science fiction setting. Yaoi nowadays is usually packed with clichées, but Ai no Kusabi tells a melancholy story in a much more believable way, not to mention the wonderful seiyuu and Shiozawa Kaneto's pillow-smooth voice. One of the traits of yaoi I dislike is the fact that the seme is quite often very mean towards the uke (not uncommon in romantic shoujo, either...) but Iason is an artificial human being made by Jupiter and thus doesn't know how to deal with the feelings he has for Riki. Such a lovely story, and nostalgic, too.

I've also seen Mirage of Blaze, and though it's easy to get confused, it's a great BL title with well-rounded character. Another innovative BL series I'm very much into right now has never been made into an anime, but still, From Eroica With Love is definitely worth reading, no matter whether you like BL or not. It has outrageous plots set into Europe during the Cold War and great, lovely characters, and it's downright hilarious.

Buried Treasure is a fine column, thanks for writing it!
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RadicaLElly



Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 188
Location: Coral Springs, FL

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:22 am Reply with quote
I'm not sure if you were talking about the manga or OVA when you were referring to Fake, but if it was the OVA than I think Earthian pre-dates it. I don't remember when it's actual US release was, but I remember seeing ads for it as far back as 1997.
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lord-darkseid



Joined: 11 Apr 2006
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:55 am Reply with quote
Very interesting choice for the Treasure, man. As usual, your article was well written. I've not actually watched AnK, but have had a yaoi room in place for several years at a local convention, and it's often a favorite from what my staffers tell me. Being a straight male, I've found it difficult to sit and try and watch this vid (I know, not a PC remark, but there it is.) However, your remarks put things in perspective. Think I'll give it a shot. Take care.
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lord-darkseid



Joined: 11 Apr 2006
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:56 am Reply with quote
*Deleted for accidental double post*

Last edited by lord-darkseid on Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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mike.motaku



Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Posts: 132
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:48 am Reply with quote
This truly is a legendary piece of yaoi anime, for all the reasons Justin stated. Heck, even legendary for regular anime. Though unlikely to see a US release, I would be first in line for a copy.
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jsevakis
ANN Director of New Media


Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Posts: 1540
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:02 am Reply with quote
akeleven wrote:
You have over-generalized to get some digs at a stereotype that exists in your own mind for cheap laughs. Please stuff your preconceptions back into the closet. Razz


I'm sure there are exceptions, but just because you're one of them doesn't mean the rule doesn't exist. :p
I've read some of the yaoi forums and the like out there while researching this fandom, and God help us if that stuff is written by adults.

Quote:
You might mention, however, that the bad releases are produced by people (dare I say, men) who don't understand the subtleties of variety in the genre and are operating under their own set of preconceptions of "what women want".


Most of them are still created by women, even if the actual animation isn't produced by women. Since the production decisions are made based on sales of the original work, I'd say the decisions are dictated by the marketplace, even if it doesn't mesh with your more mature tastes.

RadicaLElly wrote:
I'm not sure if you were talking about the manga or OVA when you were referring to Fake, but if it was the OVA than I think Earthian pre-dates it. I don't remember when it's actual US release was, but I remember seeing ads for it as far back as 1997.


Oh, good catch. Forgot about that. Thanks.

I haven't seen a good number of the other shows people have mentioned, but I have to say... I found Zetsuai interesting, but its sequel, Bronze, was an unintentionally hilarious exercise in shirt-ripping histrionics. Do any women really find those character designs attractive?! Justin is confused...
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