Written by Adam Arnold with Art by Shiei
Published by Seven Seas
Slugline: Harem girls who know that they are in harem, and know enough to mock the whole situation.
The second volume of the OEL Aoi House, I feel, suffers from its legacy of being a webcomic and being printed by Newtype USA. Sure, everyone and their cousin has either been exposed to it (heh, sorry, feeling the sophomoric humor, exposed to it, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more) via the reprints or the webcomics, but the fact that it has to be continually up, always funny, always grabbing people's attention, means that it never has a lull in the action. When you read it as a graphic novel, you need those lulls for character bits, so that the characters hit more than one note. While a couple of the harem girls did so, I think the majority of characters were more obviously one-note than they were in the first volume. I am not sure whether that is just me, the side effect of writing for graphic novel or webcomic, but it was just not as surprising as the first one.
What did take me almost completely out of the story was the Final Fantasy riff in the middle of the volume. Apparently, I am the only anime/manga fan whose knowledge of Final Fantasy is gleaned solely from AMVs I have watched over the years. So I recognized a couple of the outfits, but the whole joke just went right over my head. Not necessarily its fault.
I still like the central conceit of a couple of hetero fanboys trapped in a harem of yaoi-crazed fangirls. There was some movement toward an overriding story arc, but this volume just didn't get to me the same way the first one did.