Author: Adam Arnold
Publisher: Seven Seas
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: June 2008
Synopsis: “When the rest of her club-maters end up missing in Silent Hill, it’s up Elle Mathers and the members of rival anime club Uri House to come to the rescue… and that’s only the beginning! Secrets will be revealed, first kisses will be had, and sharks will be jumped in this final side-splitting, fan service romp!”
Aoi House in Love!, volume two, is the second and final book in this sequel series to Aoi House. Picking up where volume one left readers, the members of the Aoi clubhouse find themselves lost on their way home from a recent convention. After a flat-tire and meteor rock hit their car, they’re now stuck in… Silent Hill? And the rival members of Uri House are sent to find and rescue them.
What happened to this series, I do not know. I was completely in love with volume one when I read it, but I’m so disappointed with this second volume, I’m not sure what to really think. While much of the amusing pop-culture references to anime, movies and video games are here, the plot and pacing are ridiculous. Events hop from one another with no rhyme or reason in such a chunky way that I can’t help but wonder if the pages were entirely out of order. With the exception of the first couple of pages and a bonus James Bond spoof story at the end about the mascot animal Boo, no other parts of this felt very together. What ever it was the creators of this were going for, I must not get it because even as a tossed salad of random events to fill up a second volume symbolizing the rest of their college life, it still felt uneven and choppy.
On the upside, Shiei’s art continues to impress here. I love how solid her style is, very anime-styled without being obnoxious. Action scenes and lively characters seem to be no problem for the artist, which only served to depress me further that I couldn’t enjoy it under better circumstances. Several pages of 4-panel, full-colour comics make up the back of this book as they were seen in issues of Newtype USA.
So everything combined, this was a pretty disappointing read. As polished as the art is, everything else was a mix-matched mess that had me crawling my way through to the end with the hopes it would at some point start making sense. I still recommend the first volume of Aoi House in Love! whole-heartedly, but I’d say avoid this second book because it’s unfortunately not worth the time it took me to drag myself through it.