My “first date” with a new series, straight from Japan-- everything you need to know to decide whether it's something you'll want to see.
Ratings (of 5)
OP/ED Themes: ♥♥½
Asu no Yoichi is the tale of a samurai-in-training in modern Japan, Yoichi, who has learned everything he could training with his dad (and a bear and a fox, apparently) in the mountains. His dad sends him down to gain more life experience living in the city, where Yoichi has never been, apparently. So Yoichi heads down to move in with the Ikagura family, which has opened a dojo in the same style that Yoichi's been learning.
Of course, Yoichi's first day goes predictably: he has run-ins with punks, thieves, and lost children, as well as accidentally wreaking a lot of havoc. And of course, a lot of that havoc involves members of the Ikagura family...he lands in the dressing room where one of the four sisters is changing, lands face-first in the lap of another sister, etc.
For all its predictability, the series manages to be decently charming, if not as funny as it would like...probably in large part because none of the characters are too grating. Yoichi, for example, is sort of an idiot-savant, as opposed to just some pervy dope like the leads of Love Hina or Zero no Tsukaima.
The eldest sister (who appears to be the primary love interest thus far, although as the obvious choice I find her rather dull), Ibuki, is a classic responsible type, although she manages to rule her sisters with an iron fist and reference has been made to her martial arts skills. The next sister is Ayame, who will probably be the tsundere...but the thing that makes me not hate her too bad is a) she didn't go insanely over-the-top when she was walked in on and then groped by Yoichi, relatively speaking, and b) her seiyuu isn't high-pitched. Seriously, just going a bit lower and huskier makes a huge difference.
The remaining two sisters are the calm, passive manga fanatic Chihaya, and the tiny, cute, ten-year-old Kagome, with whom nothing perverse has
happened yet, which is also kind of nice for once. (I was worried when Yoichi started bumping into all the sisters, since we knew Kagome was supposed to be in the bathroom...)
No, my only real complaint is that the four sisters have increasingly unlikely hairstyles. Ibuki wears an immense white bow that feels completely unnecessary, and is, since it's physically impossible for it to actually be holding any significant amount of hair. Ayame has this weird lock of hair that sort of sticks out around her face and goes up into her bun that is always visible no matter what angle you're looking at, which makes no sense.
Chihaya's hair is the least bizarre of the three, I suppose...she has two little antennae, long side locks, and short hair in the back. It may also be two colors, or else it's just very badly shaded. Kagome's hair features a giant gold bobble that also probably couldn't be doing anything, but is made to look like it's holding a teeny tiny pigtail, which is longer than the rest of her hair. Seriously, I found this kind of distracting, and I'm not usually one for being picky aobut these things in an anime.
Other than that, though? The show has solid, nice animation, good voice acting (and no voices that grate, period), is fun and a bit goofy without being completely over-the-top. Good for fans of harems, especially ones that involve martial arts-- Ranma ½ fans would probably enjoy this, and devoted watchers of moe harems in general. The only downside, other than impractical hair, is mild predictability.