I genuinely don’t understand why so many people dislike this film. Don’t get me wrong, Ao Chan isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it’s always compared to Kiss x Sis or Redo of Healer. I’m guessing I don’t get it because I’m a romance junkie. Any generic rom-com would immediately appeal to me, and I can’t get enough of them. I haven’t seen many short films, but this one is my pick. The anime has much better pacing than the manga, and it’s just a super sweet love story with some ecchi and fan service appeal.
After finishing the series, I realized that I preferred the anime to the manga. The anime has 12-minute episodes, which creates outstanding pacing, and I didn’t get tired of it at all. Ao Chan is one of the brightest girls in her class, and she just wants to graduate. She wants to move abroad and attend college because her father’s profession embarrasses her. Kijima, the grade’s “hottie,” develops feelings for Ao, and their relationship begins.
The theme of the show is a slew of misunderstandings. Because of her father, Ao believes that any circumstance and development would be sexual and lewd, while the other person (Kijima) believes otherwise.
The manga’s pacing is excruciatingly sluggish. The anime isn’t bad because it’s short, but after episode 8, when they both confess to each other, the manga devolves into stale stuttering and blushing. Nothing occurs in chapters 19 to 30. There is no plot development, just the same blushing, and stuttering in each chapter. It’s a pretty poor romance at that point, but if you watch or read 1-2 episodes or chapter per day, it’s a good slice of life.
Until I finish the story section, I’d like to thank them for their contributions near the end of the manga. The show finishes at chapter 36, and they get together around chapter 30, so it’s not too bad. We get them for a few chapters as a couple. We also get an interrupted sex scene, so if you can get through the ten slow chapters, the ending is guaranteed to be enjoyable.
The art is really fantastic. The colors are vivid, and the eye style is one-of-a-kind. It reminds me of the eyes in Classroom of the Elite, which has a gradient hue. The ecchi scenes were well-drawn, and all seemed to be up to rom-com standards.
Another thing that this display excelled at was blushing. This aspect is very important to me, particularly in romances, and it’s nice to see it so prevalent in the show.
Except for the ending and opening, the OSTs and music are fairly traditional. Not poor, but not good enough to raise my ranking in this category. The opening receives a .5 raise because it is extremely catchy and fun to listen to.
I think the characters are average, if not a little lackluster. Aside from the main couple, there is the father, Yabe, and Miyabi. I’ll get into the father, but the other two, in my opinion, didn’t appeal to me or do enough to become strong characters. It’s also a shame that, despite 12 episodes and 20 extra manga chapters, Ao chan failed to build a decent cast other than the main couple.
They are a solid pair in terms of the main couple. Ao has fascinating dialogue and is appealing, which is a plus in this form of show. Her blushing, lewd feelings and all in between make her adorably sweet and mushy. I had no issues with her, particularly during the intimate moments. Characters are always frightened or shy away from real romance, but once Ao confirmed her feelings, she was able to do sexual things with Kijima. Kijima, on the other hand, kept us waiting…
As I previously said, it was refreshing to see Kijima’s character. I seldom see the famous guy who is a virgin get close to the shy, studious kid. All, including Ao, assumed he would date new girls every other week, which contributed to Ao’s lewd thoughts. Every time they were together, Ao expected to be preyed on, but Kijima’s intentions were still pure. It was adorable, and the appeal reminded me of Tonikawa in some ways.
I didn’t include Ao’s father in my negatives because I didn’t want to repeat myself, but he soon became my biggest issue with the show. I’m just not sure what he’s going for with his character design. Why does the father resemble a baby? He’s a lot better in the manga. He’s irritating in the anime, but you can tell he really wants the best for his daughter and still brightens the mood. I wish we could have had some emotional shit with him, but I suppose this isn’t the type of show for that. With his awful voice actor and character design, he just irritated me a lot in the anime. I understand they want him to look like an “eroge” author, but he’s so satirical that I can’t take him seriously.
With its fanservice, Ao Chan distinguishes itself from any other rom-com. It has a lot of imagery and ecchi appeal because Ao thinks about the perverted stuff that might happen as a result of her father’s teachings every time she’s with Kijima. This feature appealed to me because it was not overbearing or forced; it was scattered throughout the story just enough to maximize my enjoyment.
The show often has more intimate scenes than most other romances. Yes, it takes until the manga’s final few chapters to get there, but they don’t hold back once they do. There are several kissing scenes and even a sex scene that almost occurs. The sexual tones and themes are fantastic, and it sounds like a true high school relationship — just two virgins with no experience working things out together.
The romance’s structure was the last thing I appreciated. The majority of the romances I’ve seen are harems in which the girls obsess about the boy. There aren’t many shows where the super confident guy makes the timid girl fall in love with him. I liked how real and dynamic it was, and I’m going to look for more shows like it.
The key plot point will be the romance’s weakest point. That is to say, it takes the whole series for them to get together. I’ve said it before, but I really like romance where a couple meets early on and grows together (SAO, Darling, BunnyGirl). For 12 episodes, Ao Chan follows the generic format of stuttering and blushing at each other, and it isn’t until the end of the manga that they become an official couple.
Another drawback will be the manga’s pacing. With 12-minute episodes, the anime does a fantastic job and feels engaging. When the two main characters agree not to date until college, the plot slows dramatically. The manga’s entire 30 chapters kind of repeat the same element; Ao has perverted thoughts every time she is with Kijima, and he never does anything because he is a good guy. This series occurs chapter after chapter, and it can become repetitive.
That’s not bad at all. The conversations and mushy moments were adorable, the blushing was fantastic, and it had a lot of appeals. Yes, the storyline was boring and textbook, but for what it is, this show did an outstanding job. It’s just a sweet romance with an innocent girl who has lewd thoughts.
Since reading the manga, I have to admit that the anime is much superior. It has better pacing and a more focused focus. The manga has very long chapters and basically repeats the same concept for the first 12 chapters until the last few. It also has the same mushy appeal as the anime. The character interactions are adorable, and seeing Ao get agitated is hilarious. This show has more romance than most, which is a plus, and I enjoyed reading 2-3 chapters per day.
About Ao-chan Can't Study!
Ao-chan Can’t Study! is a manga series created by Ren Kawahara. Since Kodansha serialized the series in October 2015, the manga garnered a total of 11 volumes. An anime adaptation of the series has been released in 2019, with a total of 12 episodes.