Anime Meta-Review


Love's Wedge


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Ai no Kusaba
  • seen: 1-2 of 2
  • type: OAV
  • grade: flawed
  • genre: erotica
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

Thanks to Sarcasm-Hime for pointing out that not only had I got the name of this title wrong (now corrected) but that the translation is a bit more complex. Apparently Ai, while commonly meaning love or affection, can also be read as `interval of space'. Thus this title could also be read something like `wedge of interval' or the `space between' in a more literal translation.

This review is not aimed at the specialist yaoi fan, but is based on the experience of an anime generalist (me) seeing if this most exotic of genre's has anything to offer. For those who don't know yaoi includes homoerotic content and sexual scenes. In Japan it is a genre generally produced and consumed by females, and I have no intention of attempting to analyse anything from that. For this tape at least the sexual content is very minor compared to the opportunity to tell a slightly soppy, but mildly twisted story of forbidden love.

The story is set in some near future, placed in a city ruthlessly divided between rich and poor. The poor are called mongrels, while the rich (seemingly genetically modified) are called blondies from their golden hair color. In such a city a blondie (out for a stroll?) intervenes in a street fight and is suprised by the vigor with which the `mongrel' wishes to pay him back (offering sexual favors). Three years later `Riki' is back on the streets, with his old gang. But has he been changed by the three years? and has the connection between the two been broken? Unsurprisingly the story is not over yet, and the events that unfold explore this relationship forbidden by both sides of the social divide (although the methods of expressing this are quite different).

While the sexual content is present, much more so in the second OAV than the first, there was less than I expected (and it is not that explicit). This leaves space for a lot of `meaningful' dialogue, brooding scenes and twisted romanticism. There are some indications of power (the keeping and training of pets), corruption and perversion but these are largely environmental, rather than being central to the story. Still rather unpleasant however, and certainly an important element in the relationship between riki's old and new relationships. Indeed he is fairly passive, generally being pushed into things by other characters, perhaps indicating a life without much direction or meaning. In fact there is no strong central story, with the events being largely disconnected save as how they paint a picture of the developing affair. Indeed events happen, and then are largely forgotten or downplayed when no longer needed. The conclusion is the expected combination of realisation of love combined with tragedy. I must admit that any normal anime fan not turned off by the homoeroticism (and that's probably a very small number) is probably going to find the anime having some impressive scenes but largely without much direction or momentum and ultimately pointless...but then perhaps that is the point.

Even more suprising was that the technical design on some portions was suprisingly complex, although heavy on style. In addition the atmosphere of a complex and dangerous social and political environment was well done. The character designs were fairly much as expected, although the look and ambiance of the (bishounen) blondies seems almost superhuman. The animation was reasonably impressive, but then not that much is asked of it. There actually are a couple of action scenes, but they're fairly short although featuring a decent amount of quite explicit violence. The voices seemed fitting, but were heavily characterised again, with the blondies having a whispered, inhumanly calm tone against the almost over-emotional `mongrels'. I didn't particularly notice the music, but I did notice lots of brooding silences.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:14 WST 2009