Aishiteruze Baby is a testament to how truly strong character development can take an anime with a relatively simple plot and turn it into something fantastic. The storyline would have been dull, even tedious, with less stellar characters, but as is the show is amazingly entertaining for the entire running time.
Looking back, the characters of this show could oh-so-easily have been the same one-dimensional archetypes that are seen over and over in anime, but Aishiteruze Baby gracefully dodges this pitfall. Instead, each one of the main characters carries a surprising amount of depth while at the same time being almost instantly likeable. Rather than seeming premade and ready to order, Kippei, Yuzuyu and Kokoro feel like actual human beings, fully fleshed out by their own unique thought processes and emotions.
Because of these amazing characters, the creators are able to draw a remarkable amount of power from relatively simple plot lines. Though the anime carries fairly typical shoujo themes (loneliness, social acceptance, the importance of friendship, love, etc.), it covers them better than just about any anime from recent memory. Rather than preaching its messages via some outspoken generic shoujo heroine (Fruits Basket, Full Moon wo Sagashite, and Pretear are all at least somewhat guilty of this), Aishiteruze Baby simply shows them. Oftentimes, what could have been taken a lesser anime minutes to explain is beautifully illustrated in a scene with almost no dialogue whatsoever.
When it comes right down to it, the series is one of the rare animes out there that actually made my jaded, misanthropic self feel warm and fuzzy; for that, it’s a truly remarkable work. Who needs parachute colors or chicken soup for the soul when this series is available?
Appealing character designs more than make up for a relatively low budget. Backgrounds are generic but serviceable, and the somewhat awkwardly animated movements of the characters don't usually end up hurting the overall package too much.
Overall, I was more than satisfied. Aishiteruze Baby has one of the better opening themes I’ve heard recently, decent background music and excellent voice acting. Of particular note is Kokoro's decidedly deep voice, which is a welcome change from the ditzy, tinny, and altogether ear-piercing voices that seem to currently be in vogue.
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