The Fierce War of 2008: The Dead Art of “Original Video Animation”

The OVA is almost a dead art in the fast, 100MB-per-second world of today, but even so there were a few direct-to-video titles that hit shelves this year. Of course, they were either lame eroge adaptations, lackluster fanservice romps or straight up porn. However, despite these odds, an intrepid bunch of warriors came out on top, and wowed me with rape, psychoguns, and mad editing skills.

Sadly, my friends, this list will be free of porn. I did partake of a few ero titles this year, but I’ll leave commentary on them to the professional.

C Rank

  • Koharu Biyori, C+: I watched Koharu Biyori for the design work, and as far as that went I wasn’t disappointed. Sadly, everything else is below average. The humour doesn’t really work, and the show tries to shoehorn in some drama right at the end. It’s inoffensive at three episodes long, but I wouldn’t watch it again. It’s better to just fap to its Megami pinups.
  • Yotsunoha, C-: Yotsunoha is like one of those 80s OVAs that tries to adapt a multi-volume manga in the space of two episodes. This didn’t work back then, and it doesn’t work now. The Yotsunoha OVA may be a nice complement for those who played the game, but to a guy like me it just comes off as poorly planned, and terribly written. On the plus side, the animation is very nice, and the all the girls are cute. This is another one where you’re better off just looking at the Megami pinups.

B Rank

  • Batman: Gotham Knight, B: There isn’t much to say about Gotham Knight. I don’t care much about Batman, but these shorts are kind of cool. Entertained me solidly for the full runtime.
  • Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel, B: I at most expected this two episode pachinker-machine tie-in to be a cute story about two lolis doing cute things while dressed like magical girls. Turns out it’s actually unexpectedly dark, while also being either a parody or total a ripoff on real magical girl franchises at the same time. I did like it, but wouldn’t watch it again. At two episodes it doesn’t overstay its welcome, nor does it feel too short.
  • Lupin III: Green VS Red, B+: Green VS Red doesn’t do much to shake the feeling that the newer Lupin specials just aren’t that great. The plot is muddled, and the piece generally doesn’t flow well. The thing that makes it work is the sheer amount of Lupin fanservice the writers and animators cram in. This OVA is filled with lots of nods and nudges to older Lupin works, right down to an awesome 30-second sequence animated completely in Monkey Punch’s signature style.
  • Naisho no Tsubomi, B-: Naisho no Tsubomi is, admittedly, a very creepy cartoon. Adapted from a manga written to teach young girls about growing up, the anime version decides to instead teach otaku about young girls growing up. I love it. I love Tsubomi getting flustered over her first period. It’s totally fucking hot. Too bad it all goes south in the last episode. Bit too much Sixth Sense for my tastes.
  • THE iDOLM@STER: Live For You!, B: At just one episode long, it’s difficult to really talk about this. I’ve been turned into a casual iDOLM@STER fan via Nico Video, and this OVA just made me want to play the game even more. Shame the TV show wasn’t like this, as I’d watch 52 episodes. Maybe more.

A Rank

  • Cobra The Animation: The Psychogun, A-: What kills most modern-day adaptations of old properties is usually attempts to modernize the original, older work. Thankfully, after Giant Robo, it seems that Japan has figured out how to do retro remakes, and this new Cobra OVA is no exception. Directed and storyboarded by the original manga artist Buichi Terasawa, this adaptation of Cobra feels just as good as the original TV series. The only thing that really hurts it is the terrible use of 3D CG. Crystal Boy! What have you become?!
  • Detroit Metal City, A: Detroit Metal City is like a really good Adult Swim original. You know, before they got totally gross. It has the right amount of wacky antics, and never relies on gross-out humour to elicit laughs. A good watch at twelve half-length episodes.
  • Gurren Lagann Parallel Works, A+: You really have to hand it to GAINAX. For a studio that’s known for milking its cash cows, at least Parallel Works is a wholly entertaining and creative means of doing so. The different pieces in this collection of shorts range in quality, but are all very good. I recommend any Gurren Lagann fan, or just any fan of art, to check these out. They truly are incredible. In fact, I should watch this DVD rip I have of the whole thing at some point.