Ai Yori Aoshi is a tale of childhood love, and how it can endure even through time and circumstance. A seinen manga written by Kou Fumizuki, it was serialized in the publication Young Animal from 1999-2005. We received it here in the states from 2004-2007 thanks to Tokyopop.
The Gist: Main character Kaoru Hanabishi is a bastard son of Yūji Hanabishi, the head of the Hanabishi Zaibatsu, who dies when Kaoru is only five years old. Due to harsh circumstances Kaoru leaves his wealthy family at a young age and lives on his own. One day he is returning home from his college courses, when he sees a young lady in a kimono that looks lost at the station. It turns out she is his childhood fiance, Aoi Sakuraba, whose family owns the Sakuraba Department Store franchise. Although their engagement became void when Kaoru left the Hanabishi, Aoi has always loved and cherished his memory since childhood and has sought him out now that they are both of a marriageable age. When her family discovers that she has found Kaoru, they demand her return home. Aoi declares that she wants to stay by Kaoru’s side, so her parents send her to live on a western style estate with a guardian. Kaoru is to live on the estate too, but as a tenant in a separate building, and Aoi is to appear as his land lady. Kaoru’s college friends intrude upon the estate, and eventually the story becomes a harem with several girls living on the estate all falling for Kaoru. He and Aoi are forced to keep up appearances, denying to others their feelings for one another. Eventually the Hanabishi come for Aoi and she is forced to make a choice that changes her life forever.
I highly recommend this series as long as you don’t mind the fan service. The relationship between Aoi and Kaoru is so very sweet.