They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Idol Fight Suchie-Pai 2, Chivas 1-2-3, Ichigeki Sacchuu!! Hoihoi-san, and more!
10: Idol Fight Suchie-Pai 2
English: Idol Fighter Su-Chi-Pai
Japanese: アイドルファイト スーチーパイ２
MAL Score: 4.31
Once every century, the legendary mahjong dials called the “Legendary Pai” show themselves to the world, and if you collect them all it will grant you any wish. They show up in the form of evil monsters and you must defeat all 10 to obtain this chance. So, a Bunny Alien, A Maid-Dominatrix, A Cyborg, A girl form the world of magic and a transforming super hero all must fight these monsters along with themselves to grant the wish that they want to come true.
Idol Fighter was one of these strip mahjong games featuring original character designs from Kenichi Sonoda of Gunsmith Cats fame! If you won a round of Mahjong, you got to see an 8 bit scan of a nude Sonoda drawing. Hooray! In the year 1996, a full 10 years later, this bare bones strip game was made into a single episode OVA. This OVA was then brought over to the United States, recieved an official dub, and was available to purchase on VHS and early DVD!
I want people to think about that for a second. The United States is the country where in 2019 we STILL have never recieved a dub of Bakemonogatari. It’s one of the most popular anime in the world and yet every US dub studio turned up their noses at it. They all said “Meh, all this Japanese wordplay won’t translate and nobody actually wants to see this shit!” America never recieved a dub or physical release of Ashita no Joe, Galactic Heroes, Tatami Galaxy, Heidi of the Alps, Anne of Green Gables, or half the series MAL worships. If you live in the US and want to see any of those series, the only thing you can do is pirate them online. Yet SOMEHOW, we recieved a dub and physical release of a strip mahjong game adaptation from 1986!
This anime doesn’t really have a story. It has a bunch of disjointed scenes where girls fight each other and transform into bunny girls and cat girls. This anime was storyboarded and had pieces loosely pasted together, but I don’t think it would be accurate to say this anime was “written”. Of course the plot of the original game was just Mahjong. What’s the plot of Chess? Go? Shogi? There is no plot.
Do you want to know what the worst part of all is? There isn’t any nudity in this anime! The characters act like they’re going to stip, but it never happens! People paid real, actual money for this DVD and it doesn’t even serve as the most basic of jerkoff material. I remember going over to a friend’s house in 1997 and he was SO proud of this naughty anime picture he found online! It was a shitty Jpeg transfer of a screenshot of the nude bathing scene from MSG: The 8th Mobile Suit Team. It probably took him 30 minutes to download and it looked like pixelated garbage, but you could sort of make out breasts. Even THAT is better than this anime! Fuck this anime and Fuck America!
The story of of Suchie Pai is about these random female beings with superpowers that must defeat a cat lady that is making chaos everywhere but they hide their identities in the society they are. You can find your magical girl, a bunny alien, a cyborg, an innocent maid that becomes a devil girl, a girl that has telekinesis.
The story is simple but again it is one of those short stories that go to the point, you have action, you have some comedy and nice looking visuals. Yeah they don’t explain completely why are they fighting for or the reason for how the world is having these mystical manifestations but again it isn’t stupid with what they are showing us.
The characters are tropes, you have your easy going girl, your tomboyish girl, your cute and I like everything cute girl and more anime girl cliche characteristics that you can imagine but they do the job. They don’t shovel to the face their unidimenstional traits every single time until you get it.
With the art sorry to be bias but damn the 90s animation and characters designs are the best for me. They are wonderful to look at, that combination of dark palettes with the bright colors works perfectly. The backgrounds are so well made. This art style is simply great and the animation is smooth and clear in every shot.
Sound is okayish in most parts. The tracks used are good but not memorable, they work as they intended but the melodies won’t get stuck in your head and the ending song is nice, but again is your cute ending song.
My conclusion on Idol Fighter Suchi Pai, it is one of those OVAs of the 90s if you want to see how was the animation back in those days. The story doesn’t have any massive plot and makes you say that is outstanding but it is a fun ride that doesn’t drag with the themes and ideas they want to share and also I hope that this is NOT one of those cases where the show is bad because of the English Dub.
Thanks for taking time in reading this review, Sorry for any english errors I don’t speak english as my main language. Take care in whatever you do and see you around.
The plot is thin, but it basically involves the collecting of nine different Mahjong tiles. However, you won’t know this until the very end. The storyline throughout the episode itself is slapdash and likes to jump around to different scenes without any real transition or explanation why. It spends most of it’s time introducing each new character.
The characters weren’t terrible, but weren’t anything too original, either. The acting for them was done well, and they were fun to watch on screen, but they’re all such typical characters that it’s hard to find any of them interesting or memorable.
Overall, I wouldn’t call this good at all, but it had it’s moments. The animation was acceptable and on-par with other productions at the time of it’s release… and while the characters are stereotypical, they still manage to be written decently enough to have a laugh or two.
I give it a 4 out of 10.
9: Chivas 1-2-3
English: Sorcerer on the Rocks
MAL Score: 5.99
Ruthless sorcerer Chivas Scotch is hired by a count named Cuttlefish to destroy an evil monster attacking a nearby village. But things go awry when Chivas fails to destroy the monster and he’s forced to transfer his spirit in the body of his beautiful servant Gin Fizz.
Despite that this oldskool was made in the good ol 90´s when magic-fantasy was quite populair in anime serie´s, ovas, movies or specials,sorcerer on the rocks was notable, but not that special.
But all that does not take away the elements of drama, positive cruelty and comedy context,but still its not for ALL ages.
The storyline itself starts quite ´light´ but evolves itself over time to a point that a unexpected twist reveals it self near the end, wich kept me happy atleast ( no spoilers).
Artwise it looked typical 90´s ( if u were there u are already used to it) with the fullblown colours and all, at parts a bit childish but no animation drops in the background or on the charachters itself wich is something good.
There was more operalike music used than i tought, maybe it has to do with the influences of other more wellknown fantasy anime to let it more fit in.
About the charachters maybe in total of 4 i liked, definetly cruel master chivas and his lovable minions, and maybe a villian or 2 and thats because the behavior was back then still stereotypical , something u had to bear a lot in those days . I enjoyed it more on the focus on the little accident master chivas had with his minion and the twist that duped even the villian with some comedy moments in between, its def.worth a watch for fantasy fans that likes alt. settings on other serie´s, and worth a rewatch.
For those that detest chains or abuse do not be turned off by the introduction of this story. Granted, for despite the brutality illustrated the ending provides a profound message that would be hard to be true if it wasn’t for that personality. Put another way, i was able to learn from a genre that i despised that hope is still possible in rainy storms.
I would go in further detail about explaining this anime but i can’t get that “Christmas tree oh…” song out of my head! No, it was not mentioned in the showing it is just the Christmas season.
That in mind i wish you all A Merry Christmas or happy holidays. What every you prefer.
Somehow, a copy of one of these DVD’s made it onto MY shelf. That’s only because I explicitly sought it out. I’m a fan of the “Sorcerer Hunters” anime series and discovered that this OVA existed as a spin-off of that “universe”. And I also like me some good trashy 90’s OVA, so I knew I had to have this.
Indeed, this is a spin-off of “Sorcerer Hunters”. It’s almost like you could say “Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Spooner continent…” in the middle of “Sorcerer Hunters” and skip off into this story. While there are no references to the sorcerer hunters as an organization or characters like “Big Momma”, it sports many of the same story elements. For example a corrupt town run by an aristocratic sorcerer which has some monster running amok. If you’ve seen “Sorcerer Hunters” this feels exactly like one of the “sorcerer of the week episode” plots from that series.
Likewise, if you’re familiar with Akahori’s manga, or the “Sorcerer Hunters” anime, you’ll recall that he’s got this weird penchant for using of food, beverages or other proper nouns from other languages to name various characters. Such as it goes here, with multiple examples like “Gin Fizz” or “Count Cuttlefish”, again just like in “Sorcerer Hunters”. The main character here warrants special note as he is a sorcerer literally named “Chivas Scotch” after the famous blended Scotch whisky brand Chivas Regal.
The whisky brand again provides the name of the manga “Chivas 1-2-3”. Ergo, this anime is also known as “Chivas 1-2-3” in Japan, identical to the manga title. However, the US retail DVD title is “Sorcerer on the Rocks”. One assumes ADV, the original and so far only US licensor, changed both the title and the character name (in subtitles and credits) to “Shivas Scotch” to avoid legal issues with the Chivas Brothers corporation. Well and also it’s a translation technicality. The word “Chivas” is really a surname and is pronounced more like “sheh-vis”, even by the Scots themselves, as is evident in the word’s rendering in Japanese Katakana as “シーバス” which when transliterated into romaji is “shiibasu”. Additionally, using “Sorcerer” in the retail DVD title also kind of ties it into the “Sorcerer Hunters” brand for marketing purposes, I suppose (Note: ADV originally licensed the “Sorcerer Hunters” TV and OVA in the US as well).
Aside from Chivas himself, the rest of the primary cast includes Chivas’ three companions/servants. These are; a chaste raven-haired cleric-maiden named “Gin Fizz” (usually referred to as “Fizz”), a spunky green-haired sylvan animagus girl named “Kiss the Wolf” (usually referred to as “Kiss”) and a red-haired male swordsman named Gemini. This motley crew is ostensibly a team of bounty hunters, but Chivas will do pretty much anything if the money is good and he’s interested in the work.
Right at the outset in the anime it’s made clear that our titular MC Chivas is a massive cocksure bastard. Highlighted in a particularly puerile opening conversation between he and Fizz. Not too much further in, we’re also shown that he’s an unabashed hedonist. He loves to live up the nightlife on the seedy backstreets, drinking, gambling and womanizing in dive bars, brothels and casinos. He’s also a bit of a deadbeat, currently in debt to a female loan shark named “Million Dollar”.
In general, Chivas’ characterization is consistent with the established premises from “Sorcerer Hunters”; that all sorcerers are in general bastards or are otherwise irredeemable. Apparently Akahori writes them as exemplars for the the epithet that “all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. In “Sorcerer Hunters” we saw this repeated time and again with the “sorcerer of the week” episodic stories showing corrupt self-centered aristocratic sorcerers abusing their power for their selfish or hedonistic desires. Indeed some were characterized as grotesquely degenerate. Even the sorcerers portrayed as having the best of intentions were revealed as ultimately corrupted by the use of their power. Certainly, Chivas further exemplifies these general characteristics.
With that back premise, it’s not completely surprising then that Chivas’ morals are shown to be even more questionable when it appears that Fizz and Kiss are somehow enslaved to him. They both wear what look like collars with a few chain links attached to represent this fact (though Kiss’s may also represent a “dog collar” considering her wolf form). Additionally they refer to Chivas as “master” and he literally commands them to do things to which they seem unable or unwilling to disobey. A salient example is, after Chivas gambles and looses all their money he forces Kiss and Fizz to work as lewd dancers (wearing bunny costumes, of course) in a bar to pay for their lodgings and other daily expenses. This situation being much to Fizz’s chagrin; obviously not something she would choose to do of her own volition.
While the ever perky Kiss seems completely happy being Chivas’ slave/servant (again playing up the dog/wolf angle), it’s strongly implied that Fizz is only associated to Chivas because he must have somehow enslaved her against her will. Mainly because their intrinsic natures are diametrically opposed. As previously mentioned, Chivas gets off on things like gambling, drinking and prostitution, all of which are anathema to Fizz.
Chivas is also a very powerful sorcerer and is a stereotype model of the “over-powered main character” trope. He can cast a spell called “chaser” which turns him into a giant winged sentinel clad in gold armor. In this form he can summon a mighty sword and wields devastating magic. However, in this state his real body becomes a vulnerable crystalline shell. Nevertheless, Chivas’ prowess is legendary and this feeds into his already egotistical personality.
The primary plot unfolds with Chivas and crew down and out on the outskirts of the town of Gesoura; a known seedy burg filled with all sorts of characters of ill repute. After a few expository events, they make their way into town, whereupon Chivas promptly heads to the bars to get his drinking and womanizing game on. Not long after a massive monster appears and starts attacking the town, which prompts a perturbed Chivas to intervene. This, of course, gives us in the audience the opportunity to see Chivas’ unrestrained power in fully-animated glory.
The next day Chivas visits the town’s aristocratic sorcerer, Count Cuttlefish, to take him up on his bounty request to address this issue with the monster. For a massive cash reward, of course. However, the next encounter with the monster doesn’t go to plan as Gemini, Fizz and Kiss attempt to handle it on their own. This premise provides an opportunity to mainly show a sequence with Gemini and Kiss fighting, including Kiss’s transformation into her wolf form (girls turning into animals was a thing in the 90’s). Eventually though, Chivas’ has to suspend his debauchery at the bars and intervene. On arrival he eventually casts “chaser” but in the battle his crystalline body shell is damaged.
Apparently his physical body being damaged has happened multiple times previously, and when it does, Chivas’ spirit takes up residence in Fizz’s body until his real body can manifest physically again. This leads to the classic anime trope of a body swap or “shared body”, and we now see a split personality version of Fizz; the normal Fizz and when Chivas takes over as himself in Fizz’s body. Ultimately this plays out to the end of the second episode when his physical body is restored again.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that underneath all that massive ego Chivas has a heart of gold. Maybe he does in the manga, but in the anime he’s little more than an unrepentant hedonist ass. Mainly in how he treats his crew. First, Chivas seems rather dismissive of Gemini. Mostly because Gemini comes across as gay for Chivas which Chivas absolutely rebukes. Though it does not appear Gemini is a slave like the girls, meaning Gemini is hanging around just because he’s got the hots for Chivas. We don’t get any hint that Chivas cares whether he’s around or not. Chivas does otherwise treat the slave girls with a modicum of deference, but that’s because to him they are his property. This is exemplified by a late scene where, in Fizz’s body, Chivas receives a minor cut on her cheek, to which his response is (in the ADV subtitles) “how dare he scratch something of mine”. Regardless of how they relate to him, Chivas still clearly believes he literally owns Fizz at least. Thus, in the very end, when Fizz seems to profess her devotion to Chivas, it sounds more like Stockholm syndrome taking hold than a genuine admission of affection.
As a final word on content, these kinds of OVA were never really meant to be broadcast on television, and almost always contain graphic prurient content. This one is no exception. Kiss is usually pretty scantily clad so she’s around mostly for fan-service. We see both Kiss and Fizz in the bath at times, with various amounts of frontal nudity on display. Towards the end, a situation arises where Chivas, in Fizz’s body has to awaken and save her, which leaves her (well Chivas as her) standing around basically buck naked for quite a bit of runtime. So, yes, this thing should be considered R18 or TV-MA.
Overall, this show can be a fun chaser to a re-watch of “Sorcerer Hunters”, but on it’s own isn’t great. I mean, it’s not bad for a classic 90’s trash OVA. Production values are decent, above average for a two part OVA and the plot is mildly cohesive. Even the ADV dub is serviceable if you don’t care to read the subs on this. I personally like it well enough for what it is. However, if you’re into digging up nuggets like this, you probably should try to find it online somewhere streaming for free and just experience it once. That is unless you’re a “Sorcerer Hunters” fan (like me) or are somehow an actual fan of the “Chivas 1-2-3” manga, then your best bet is to hunt for the ADV DVD on Ebay, or maybe a lucky strike at a used/trade-in video store if one exists in your town.
Really if anything about this sounds like your glass of Scotch, there are plenty other things out there now that are like it and much better. Primarily Yukiya Murasaki’s “How Not To Summon A Demon Lord” light novel series. The TV anime adaptation of same is basically this same premise only different, or maybe “more 21st century”. Instead of body-swap it uses the isekai trope to put an otaku into a fantasy world as an over-powered demon sorcerer. Said sorcerer has two slave girls, one’s an elf not to dissimilar in style from Kiss but fills more of Fizz’s role, and the other is a cat-girl mage who looks more like Fizz but provides the “furry factor” as an alternative to Kiss’s role. That and it’s got the same or more ecchi factor to it. Though the only drawback is some lolicon elements, which I personally find to be a disturbing 21st century anime trend (it’s always been around but seems to have gotten worse). The one positive thing about these old 90’s anime is, thankfully, lolicons weren’t as much of a thing.
If you liked this (or maybe can’t find it or don’t care to) or it otherwise sounds interesting and would like something similar, Paladin recommends the following:
– “Sorcerer Hunters”, obviously
– “How Not To Summon A Demon Lord”, for reasons stated above
– “The Rising of the Shield Hero”, similar themes including slave girls and bastard aristocrats
– “Sorcerous Stabber Orphen”, over-powered MC who’s a sorcerer and kind of a bastard
– “Bastard!!”, another OP MC sorcerer who is literally a bastard, and also another classic (early) 90’s OVA series
– “Overlord”, yet another OP MC sorcerer with a literal army of sycophantic OP servants
– “Gestalt”, over-powered sorcerers featured prominently, as are slavery themes; it’s also another classic 90’s OVA
8: Ichigeki Sacchuu!! Hoihoi-san
MAL Score: 6.05
The time is the near future. Cockroaches and other household pests have become immune to all forms of insecticides. In response to this crisis, a Japanese company has created small, doll-like, insect exterminating robots called Hoi Hoi-san. A competing company has also released their own version, Combat-san. Because of their adorable appearance, these little robots have become somewhat of a phenomenon and have gained many fans. Late at night, in the home of one such fan, Hoi Hoi-san and Combat-san search for insects to exterminate… but Combat-san is not above trying to exterminate Hoi Hoi-san while she’s at it.
The Story evolves a popular pest control doll called Hoihoi-san. Whose sole purpose in life is to destroy household pests like cockroaches. The problem with Hoihoi-san, is that she’s so cute people just buy her not knowing what she really does. As for the case of the main character…
The art compared to Domu’s later works are of slightly lower quality but you can tell its done by the same people who made Ichigo Mashimaro and the likes.
The sound is standard cute girl loli fare. I especially love how they gave Robo-voice to hoihoi-san and everytime she takes a step you’ll go "OMFG thats sooo cute" no matter how straight or masculine you are.
The characters are very limited to a few lines but they all have a unique personality from each other and for the most part play their role very well in the story.
Overall, Domu fans are obligated to watch this 1-shot OVA. But people who are oblivious to how great Domu really is, this is a perfect start for that certain someone. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a comedy. Besides, one 20 minute episode won’t kill you. I have seen this 8 times, and I’m not dead yet ^_^
7: Koharu Biyori
English: Indian Summer
MAL Score: 6.61
Set in a near future, a time where robots are common workers for their owners. Takaya Murase has just purchased a maid robot from a robotic doll distributor, MaidWorks. Ready to live a normal cleaning, cooking, and serving life to her owner, Yui is purchased, by Takaya but he has other plans for her…like dressing her up in dress-costumes of his fantasies and more.
There isn’t a really overall plot to Koharu as its three episodes basically break down to a series of shorts within each episode. Takaya is your standard anime otaku who in this near future world goes to a shop called Maid Works where one can find various types of slave robots. He ends up settling for a maid robot he names Yui. Yui just wants to be a normal maid but Takaya wants to constantly dress her up in various outfits he has made. From here we get introduced to the rest of our harem, consisting of some real girls and loli’s and other maid robots. Most of the first half of the OVA is dominated by the constant exposure of massive breasts and other echiiness. Some genuine comedy is present and I couldn’t help myself from laughing from most of it.
Yui and Takaya are fairly interesting despite their lack of any real substance. Despite both being extremely stereotypical of the otaku guy and super moe maid. Like the mains the supporting characters lack depth but were still fun. The show probably would have been better off without a few of them as the cast got a little large towards the end for a series of this length.
The characters are all very cute as would be expected. The breast sizes are a bit silly as was the played lets dress a huge boobed girl in skimpy clothes and hang a cowbell around her neck. Yes we get it, her boobs are big.. milk. Seriously is that all you guys think about? Acting is pretty solid however the show suffers from one the absolutely worst opening songs I have heard. Off key much?
If you are a lover of echii humor and boobs then this is a series you should check out. Those who don’t like these themes will probably want to stay away. I thought it was kind of cute and funny despite all the silliness and clichés.
it must be broken. why doesn’t he take her back and get a refund. a total failure at a maid: that doesn’t abide by her master’s wishes. plus, for a android they programed the emotion chip far to much to mimic humans.
despite my irritation with the character, i managed to force myself to watch all three episodes.
I decided to watch this because I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to watch something like chobits (I very very very rarely rewatch a show)… basically I was hoping this was a more lighthearted comedy or slice of life version of chobits, so if that is what you are after look elsewhere.
It’s pretty easy to forget Yui is not human, there is only a couple of times where they make it ridiculously obvious in an attempt to be funny but me craving sci-fi was more like a slap to the face.
I would be lying if I said I would have never watched this show if I knew it was going to be like this, but I would have watched an episode (or portion of it) here and there when I was extremely bored to pass time.
6: Hanaukyou Maid-tai OVA
MAL Score: 6.68
In this three-episode OVA, Taro learns more about Cynthia`s life as herself and her alter-ego Grace. He also undergoes training with his bodyguard Konoe. And finally, Ikuyo dupes Taro in spending a whole day disguised as a maid.
Looks just like the main series. Lots of ecchi, somewhat cheap animation, and did I mention the ecchi?
The OP is the same as the main series, but they added a new ED, which is barely more enticing to listen to than the original ED. Same BGM and same VA cast.
So you can pretty much tell what each ep is from the title. You get one episode explaining the Cynthia/Grace split personality, one episode giving more background to Konoe (with lots of ecchi), and one episode with Tarou being forced to cross-dress as a maid by Ikuyo. These are a nice addition to give a bit of additional background/humor, but don’t really contribute anything meaningful as there was never any plot to begin with.
As mentioned above, you get some new background information and additional interactions showing Tarou in his most pitiful state yet.
It’s 45 minutes of new content, mostly of the ecchi type. As I mentioned in the main review, I literally did not even know when the OVA started as my eps were numbered 1-15. Watch only if you liked the original.
5: Cossette no Shouzou
English: Le Portrait de Petit Cossette
MAL Score: 6.83
Eiri Kurahashi is a Japanese art student who works in an antique shop. His friends begin to notice a dramatic, and rather concerning, change in Eiri, as he becomes more absent-minded and his behavior completely changes. They quickly decide to blame their friend’s troubles on a girl.
They may be right, however, as Eiri has begun seeing a beautiful, doll-like girl trapped within an antique Venetian glass that his uncle bought in France. She seems to be living in a strange other world, contained entirely inside this glass, but her image refuses to leave Eiri’s mind. His sketchbook becomes filled with her likeness, and he realizes he has become completely infatuated with this strange little girl. When he recognizes her in a portrait by the mysterious Italian artist, Marchello Orlando, he learns her name is Cossette d’Auvergne, and that she was tragically murdered along with the rest of her family.
One night, as he closes up the shop, he hears a voice asking him not to leave. Finally making contact with the object of his obsession, he makes a deal that he doesn’t fully understand.
With regard to the plot, it would be no exaggeration to state that the same story could have been told within five minutes, nor would it be too much to say that any review of the plot would also most likely divulge what little twist there is. In essence, the story revolves around two artists and a piece of art, the portrait of a young girl, and the two differing outlooks on art these two artists have: one in the end prefers the piece of art, unchanging and everlastingly beautiful, unwilling even to acknowledge the existence of the living, changing ‘original’ girl, while the other prefers his art to be alive in some fashion, even if this means that change and loss exist. It is a story about the love of the artist for his art, a love that is profound enough to accept the necessity of loss, even, if necessary, of the self.
Nowhere is the story explained in as much words as I’ve used above, or are there pieces of dialogue directly concerning this difference in outlooks on art. In fact, there is not that much dialogue at all, nor does the show try to explore the main characters: there is little in the way of actual plot or character development.
This is because Le Portrait de Petit Cossette is a Romantic piece, or, more accurately, a piece of Romantic horror. The plot is a gathering of tropes from the genre, and focuses to a large extent on the passionate love of the main characters without giving much in the way of an explanation for their feelings and behaviour, wholly following the example of the greater pieces of Sturm und Drang literature, where round characters were considered less important than the strength of what little they tried to convey. Even the fact that the plot seems confusing, and that not everything is explained or neatly given a purpose within the story can be fully explained as Romantic horror: from Poe to Lovecraft the actual lack of a full explanation served to enhance the story.
When all is said and done, the story might not be all that original, or contain a lot of development. It is, however, very true to form.
The art is simply gorgeous. A lot of different styles are used, from simple nature backgrounds to what has been described as "bargain-basement Salvador Dali", with an emphasis on portraying scenes in twilight or with light that is filtered, seemingly in order to make the few bright points stand out more. Even though not all styles work out equally fine – especially the more surrealistic scenes tend to be a bit over the top – they do usually perfectly portray the mood of a certain scene.
To this is added a soundtrack consisting largely of semi-classical music that does a wonderful job in strengthening the different moods, ranging from simple, uplifting tunes to a ballad that is beautiful and haunting, even though it is sung in Japanese, which does not really fit the mood.
It is true that this show is pretentious, as is, it should be said, all art, and visual arts have a tendency to be even more pretentious than music or literature: the use of a French title (containing errors in grammar, spelling, and syntax, to boot, as it should have been titled "Le portrait de la Petite Cosette") is in itself proof of this, as is the bundling of a whole bunch of different musical and visual styles. On the other hand, it is quite honest about its being pretentious, and it must be said that, in the end, what matters in visual art is the art, not story, and not character. Anime is visual art, and no matter how good a series is, it will never be better than a solid book in portraying story or characters. What it adds are visuals, and these enhance the story in a way words alone can never do. To me, it is not too pretentious to try and make the story revolve around the art, and not the other way round: in a way, that seems to be what anime should in the end be about.
I won’t lie. I consider Le Portrait de Petit Cossette to be the best piece of film I have ever seen, without a single doubt. As implied above, it is very difficult to make an objective statement on story and art, as you either like the style, or you don’t. To me the different scenes do connect, and portray a story about longing, love, and sacrifice that portray thoughts that can be felt, but not put into words – though they can be shown.
In a way, I am in love with these three episodes like the protagonist is in love with the painting, and, thus, am unable to see anything that could detract from this impression. Perhaps that simple fact is the greatest compliment a show can receive.
Cossette’s story is relatively simple, but for whatever reason, its creators seem eager to make it as difficult to follow as possible. There are frequent changes in setting between the real world and a surrealistic hallucinatory world that the protagonist visits. These transitions take place with little tact, and they give the series a very warped sense of chronology which is only added to by the use of repetitive flashbacks to events that happened only minutes ago. There is little to no explanation offered as to what this surreal world actually represents, and the OVA seems to take it for granted that the audience will be able to interpret the significance (if there is any) of the events that transpire there without much help, a proposition that’s dubious at best and downright foolish at worst. What’s happening in the real world isn’t very interesting, either; the protagonist’s group of age-appropriate female friends are noticing that he’s having a bit of a mental breakdown, they’re all concerned with his well-being, and they take various actions to try to ensure his safety. This story thread ultimately serves very little purpose, and is more or less just a distraction from the central plot. To even understand that plot requires using tremendous amounts of speculation and assumption to fill in the gaping holes left by the writers. I’m confident that I’m a reasonably attentive viewer, and I don’t feel at all embarrassed to say that on the first watch of Cossette, I could only guess at what was happening for at least forty percent of the OVA’s running length. There’s a fine line between minimalistic storytelling and poor storytelling. It gets crossed here, in spades.
I wish I could say that the characters swooped in and redeemed everything, but it wasn’t to be. Our male lead, Eiri, an amateur artist who owns an antique shop, is a neat concept, but he has all the personality of a dishrag, and is little more than a tool used to push an overly obvious thematic agenda on the audience. The same can be said of Cossette, the doomed young daughter of foreign nobility whose soul is trapped in a decorative glass; what a great idea, and what a shockingly lackluster execution. Her lack of character might be explained away by the idea that she is supposed to represent an object of obsession rather than a person, but the fact that she responds in kind to Eiri’s love sort of voids that entire train of thought. There’s an attempt at romance, but I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again—romance holds no meaning when neither character is even identifiable as an individual. Supporting roles, you ask? Welcome to the cast of cliches: A close female friend who is in love with Eiri but has difficulty showing it, two local psychics who give Eiri vague spiritual advice (such gems as “there’s a soul in everything”), a hard-nosed doctor who notices Eiri’s failing mental and physical state, a girl smitten with Eiri who works at a local restaurant. They’re introduced haphazardly and, again, we’re often left to make assumptions about who they even are and what their relationship is to Eiri. Most of them are cardboard cutouts graced with the privilege of about two or three lines of dialogue, and their role in the story as a whole is rather unnecessary. There’s some kind of halfhearted harem drama between the overly zealous friend who is in love with Eiri and the rest of the cast. This element isn’t very well thought out, nor does it have any place in the OVA, and it falls more or less flat.
Artistically, Cossette has a lot of merit. The production values are reasonably high. The character designs are inoffensive. The backgrounds are lovely, ranging from verdant forests to foggy city streets, and the atmosphere created in the bowels of Eiri’s dusty antique store is suitably eerie. Somewhere along the line, though, Cossette trades all of that for a ridiculous amount of CGI, editing, and visual trickery that’s really quite annoying. It turns into a regular slideshow of artistic tricks-of-the-trade. Name a strange camera angle, lighting or filtering choice, or visual distortion, and the odds are pretty good that it’s here. Cossette just can’t resist: A shot through stained glass here, a weird point-of-view through a digital camera there, an overlay of flickering static, an endless pan over a computer-generated landscape. Words cannot even describe the number of techniques in play here, most of which serve no purpose other than as a sort of directorial “hey, look what I can do!” In terms of the technical implementation, they might very well be flawless, but I’ll be damned if I can see a reason for their awkward inclusion. The OVA is actually at its best when none of these are employed. The halls and darkened storage rooms of Eiri’s store, with antiques stacked around him like tombstones, are a lot more unsettling than the tactless barrage of seizure-inducing effects.
If you’re the type to look at the staff listing, you might be able to guess that there’s one aspect of Cossette that is tough to complain about, and that’s the music. Yuki Kajiura does what she does best: Sweeping modern orchestral compositions backed by chanted vocals, intricate piano melodies, soft and haunting atmospheric noise. The soundtrack sounds great both in the context of the OVA and on its own. It doesn’t sound as clear or as polished as her later work, but it’s arguably as good as any other musical score she’s been involved with, and that should say just about everything; it’s grade-A, plain and simple. It’s not terribly difficult to label the soundtrack as Cossette’s strongest element. Imagine judging a dog show where the only contestants are a beautiful golden retriever and a dead possum. That’s the choice I had to make.
Harsh words all around, and yet, that number does say five, which is far from the worst available score. Cossette might have inexcusably poor writing, but it does have some technical merits to fall back on, and I’ll begrudgingly admit that it’s a captivating watch even though the visuals are obnoxious. It’s also a very creative idea, and while that idea ultimately isn’t capitalized on, I can tell that it is trying to make an ambitious statement about art and the nature of human interaction with art. This thematic material isn’t handled well at all, but the fact that there’s even any thematic material worth mentioning in the first place is something. In a word, Cossette is a mess, and I really can’t give it the most enthusiastic praise, but creativity and ambition are present, and if nothing else, it’s certainly a unique piece of work.
She is Essential. She is Beautiful. She is Perfection. She is a Muse.
If the perceived perfection is identified as genuine, is it not irresponsible to allow ne plus ultra beauty to be squandered to the inexorable flow of time? Marchello Orlando, a man obsessed with the unparalleled beauty of his “lover,” believed it immoral to permit such beauty to wither away — even if it required the assassination of the angelic person, whom he professed his adoration. For Marchello, terminating inimitable elegance was paramount in the pursuit of “preserving” his masterwork(s). But art is not an exercise in preservation, rather it’s a rendition of singular moments/conceptions that are ever-fleeting. The art, itself, is preserved, but the transient process is lost to the annals of time. Eiri Kurahashi, a young artist who becomes entranced by Cossette d’Auvergne’s haunting beauty, discovers the ennui of drawing a pseudo preservation of Marchello’s “divine” deed. In a physical and emotional catharsis, Eiri uses his own blood to paint a stunning portrait of his tormenting muse. Signifying Eiri’s denial of Marchello’s notion of preservation, in lieu of acknowledging the muse for what she really is (a human being), and not for what she represents (perfection personified).
The porcelain doll shedding tears of blood, was the surrealistic representation of how Marchello viewed Cossette. It is said that “the eyes are the windows of the soul,” and given that the doll (Cossette) has no eyes, she, invariably, has no soul. By virtue of his blood pact with Cossette, Eiri offers his own soul as a form of reparation for “his” past ill deeds. He is, after all, the reincarnation of Marchello. The man who rejected Cossette’s life, for his own idealistic vision. Of course, Eiri suffers extensively for his “past” transgressions, in a myriad of chilling scenes with hauntingly beautiful artwork. Screeching violins go hand and hand with the gothic aesthetic, creating a melancholic atmosphere to accentuate Eiri’s gruesome retribution.
Cossette, inadvertently, gives inspiration to her “two lovers,” but while Marchello takes her gift and forsakes her for it; Eiri, on the other hand, returns the favor by giving his blood (the necessary fluid of human life) to affirm her existence as valuable, and not merely the object for which one derives self-actualization. Eiri, after 250 years, releases Cossette from her bondage of eternal “preservation,” by rejecting the flawless imposter (the muse, if you will) for the release of the real Cossette from her unsought constraints; thus, allowing her soul to transcend the intermediary world and finally be at peace.
The emancipation of Cossette absolved Eiri from his own misguided idealism. Empowering him to break free from his self-created muse infatuation, and, hopefully, learn to foster an emotionally symbiotic relationship. Eiri (Marchello) deluded himself in the pursuit of capturing impeccable beauty; thus, dissociating himself from the pivotal social interactions of his everyday life.
4: Onegai☆Twins: Natsu wa Owaranai
Japanese: おねがい☆ツインズ 夏は終わらない
MAL Score: 7.02
Two weeks have passed since the dilemma between Maiku, Karen and Miina was resolved, but their lives are more hectic than ever. Karen has become possessed in her newly discovered brother and Miina is desperate for attention as well, which leaves little time for Maiku to concentrate on his work. Therefore he decides to head out in the woods and set up a camp, where he can be work in peace. But, as always, we have Morino who is up to no good. To make things a bit more interesting, she organizes a field trip to Maiku’s camp site, and encourages everyone to make some good summer memories.
The plot is pretty straightforward…with subtitles. Karen is over-possessive of Maiku, abandoning the "Love Alliance" formed in the actual series. Of course, Maiku wants to be left alone to do his work, but is unable to do so with Karen all over him. Thus he enlists some help to get a tent by the lakeside where he can get some peace and quiet to do work…or so he thought…I’ll leave the rest of the story for you to watch on your own.
I must say that parts of the OVA do get more than PG-13, but there isn’t that much. Character-wise, this OVA manages to bring in just about everyone from Onegai Twins and Teacher (well at least the slightly more main characters).
Parts of this OVA are pretty funny, but to a certain extent Morino really goes overboard on her spying…
Overall this is a good OVA that only builds on what happened after the conclusion of the series. I recommend that if you have finished the Onegai Twins series, watch this OVA.
There is little point in watching this OVA if you haven’t seen the series, unless you’re a pervert. It’s really just filled with more comedy, fan service and ecchi, but that’s a good thing since it’s much more entertaining than the painfully stretched out series. The art is crappy as always, and that’s disappointing since they had both expanded budget and time frame this time. Still, an enjoyable OVA with both some comic and romantic moments that should be watched if you liked the anime.
The reason why I consider this to be worse is because in their eagerness to mass produce fan service, they completely threw character consistency out of the window. They’ve changed Karen from an introvert into an extrovert filled with incestual lust, and thus destroyed what little character integrity the entire series had. For an extra episode, that is in my opinion, one of the worst you can do to a series, and had I cared about the series to begin with, I might have been quite pissed. But as it is, it’s no big deal, cos the series sucked bad anyway 😛
3: Onegai☆Teacher: Himitsu na Futari
Japanese: おねがい☆ティーチャー ヒミツなふたり
MAL Score: 7.31
Kei and Mizuho are having some marital difficulties, and Mizuho’s family decides it’s high time for a visit.
Well, this OVA special goes about rectifying that problem, letting loose all those elements that, for some strange reason, were suppressed in the original series. In other words, this OVA is pretty much all about the fanservice, so there isn’t really much to talk about. What’s really funny though, is that they try to disguise the purpose of this blatent fanservice episode by pretending that it actually contains a meaningful message, a kind of “see – there’s actually a real purpose to this episode” claim.
…Yeah, right. I didn’t buy it for a second. Please don’t try and pretend this OVA is anything other than a cheap excuse for fanservice. Even by “Onegai Teacher” lowly standards, this is a low point (or a high one, depending on your point of view), and THAT is saying something…
Kazami sensei’s mom is still a “WTF?!” character to me. But there is nothing really bad to say about this OVA.
Overall I really enjoyed this OVA it was a nice closure for the series and very fulfilling. I’m not an ecchi fan, but I actually like that we get to see Kei and Mizuho relationship get deeper ( I also enjoyed Kei finally calling his wife by her name).
The characters, art, animation, music and voicework are of the same standard as the TV show, so no need to go back over that. Where the show seriously fails is in the story department.
More to the point, the plot in this OVA is ultimately redundant. The ‘problem’ that Hatsuho sets out to solve doesn’t exist because it was resolved in the TV series. Indeed, in the opening minutes it’s revealed that Kei and Mizuho have no problems in that department and need no help. It’s overall in bad taste, the dialogue is juvenile and not funny and Hatsuho’s actions…..yeah, ewww. It’s really a pretty poor excuse for softcore porn. The other characters show up pretty much to only say ‘oh look, Kei’s with some hot chick!’
If the OVA didn’t come bundled with the TV series, I’d say give it a miss. It’s not funny and there’s just no point to it.
2: Ichigo Mashimaro OVA
English: Strawberry Marshmallow OVA
Japanese: 苺ましまろ OVA
MAL Score: 7.70
Based on Barasui’s manga series, Ichigo Mashimaro follows the life of Nobue Itou, her younger sister Chika, and her friends. The basic premise of the show can be summed up in “cute girls do cute things in cute ways”, be it trying to quit smoking, going outside to play, celebrating a holiday, or doing school work. This OVA picks up where the series left off, continuing the adventures of your everyday life, only cuter.
As you may know from the original series, their fun and adventures of their daily lives continues on by 4 adorable 3rd graders and 1 big carefree sister. As a group, they continue to entertainment themselves from the activities they do and the things they say on a day to day basis and for us, its joyful entertainment while we are being amused by their vivid imagination and events in which they occur.
No doubt, this series could easily turn out into another 12 episode series where more fun and games can be introduced into their daily lives. As long as they keep the activities different, I don’t see how it will fail.
In conclusion, a good way to finish up the whole series in general. While there no real ending, you just can’t help but imagine what new adventures they are up to next.
The Ichigo Mahimaro OVAs basically continues the saga from the series of the same name, its extends the running time a bit longer this time around, which helps considering this is only a 3 episode OVA.
We once again re-join the story about 4 grade school girls and their layed back older sister!The same good stuff from the series, it remains overall plot-less (as usual) and just has the girls continuing their day to day lives, with crazy antics and situations to follow them. I actually found it to be a bit more funny than the series was, as they seem to have polished the humor in it. Nothing very deep by any means, but quite fun to watch! There is no real ending to it on episode 3, as you could pretty much mix all the episodes up with each other and it wouldn’t make any difference. You could even watch these OVAs before the series itself, since the only major thing that actually happens different there is they meet Ana. (a fellow cast member) Still, the girls always keep their day to day antics funny and interesting. Depending on your taste though, the whole “day to day” lives can be a great positive, or a big negative! If your a fan of a more “layed back” genera, then you will find that this title does indeed do it right, as the comedy bits come at the appropriate time and don’t arrive as an overkill!
The artwork has been tweaked from the series as well, and this time comes off a bit more sharp, and the backgrounds are better detailed. Not the best looking series by any means, but it does polish things up from the more blander texture found in the series. Still quite colorful and cute (especially cute).
New opening and closing (party stlye) themes have been added, all sung by the cast themselves! Some scenes are remakes from the series opening too, both are quite fun and memorable to watch. Though I personally felt the original opening theme was a bit more lively to look at. The background music is pretty sparse over all, and most of the time has little to no soundtrack at all, though they did add a bit more music cues. It does help to increase the calm mood they were going for though, just don’t expect to be “wow-ed” by the background beats that are there.
Same lovable cast from before, cute and lovable that you just want to give each one a hug! This time I felt it wasn’t left soly on Miu to hold the show together, as each girl acted a bit more comical than before. Still, if it wasn’t for Miu this series wouldn’t be nearly as funny, as the others remain more down to earth than her. But each girl is likable, though we never get any real back story or depth to them. They do compliment and interact with eachother very well, so you never feel that one is out of place with the other.
Bottom line 9/10
Ichigo Mashimaro stays true to its “everyday life” formula, but manages to stick out amongst the rest from this style, as all the girls antics remain different and fresh throughout. For slice of life fans like myself, Ichigo is one of the best titles out there! It certainly won’t win everyone over, and isn’t going anywhere with its over all story. (honestly, they could probably go on and on forever with this series) But its a nice warm hearted tale that fills you up with warmth and happiness! I recommend it to the “slice of life fans,” or to people who are looking for something comforting and lite to watch after a bad day!
Stories in this one were along the same lines, but had even less drive to them than the other series. Not a real big deal, it’s SoL so it really doesn’t need a knockout storyline. Still, some of the previous series’ ones like Nobue getting a job were pretty funny and fresh, with only 3 episodes to make you’d think they could do more of that.
Art’s the same as before, pretty good and consistent. Girls are animated well and the environments look pretty good too.
Voice acting was the same as before, pretty good from what I can tell. However, the OP and ED are pretty crappy. Wish they would have kept the original one or done something better. The “Sour, Round…Hazy Girls” made me go “What series am I watching again??” lol
Same characters, delivering the same style dialogue. Not much to say here, it’s the same as the regular series. Feels like going from Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit, not really a big disconnect here.
It was fun to watch! Obviously if you liked the other series you’ll like this one since they are super similar. I was HOPING that some of the uncomfortable stuff involving the little girls would be nixed, but it wasn’t. Too many close cutoff shots of the girls wearing too little clothing or whatever, and of course Nobue being her creepy self with Ana and Matsuri *eye roll*. Overlooking all that, it was fun and cute.
If you liked Ichigo Mashimaro, definitely watch this one. However, just skip the OP as it’s really not worth sitting through LOL
1: Ichigo Mashimaro Encore
English: Strawberry Marshmallow Encore
MAL Score: 7.70
Ichigo Mashimaro encore is a two-episode OVA continues onwards from the previous set of OVAs of Ichigo Mashimaro.
As with many “slice of life” anime titles, the story doesn’t really have any real place in the time line. It could happen pretty much at any time during the girls childhood. However, with this series it’s all about comedy and cuteness. So does it have both of them once again? You bet! From watching Miu have an “after-life” experience, to the girls trying to figure out whom of which can be considered best friends, to gags that seem to come out of nowhere. Each episode showcases a different style of idea or situation for the girls. Just about all of the episodes revolve around Miu (who is the one responsible for 90% of the gags again), which may in turn disappoint fans of the other girls. Still, each of them is shown in good equality with her, and the gags and laughs that you have come to expect from the anime, are all present and accounted for. In fact I would go on record of saying that episode 2 of Encore, is by far one of the funniest I have seen for the entire anime. Now since none of the stories really ever have an overall goal in mind (this version being no exception), viewers who couldn’t stand the series for it’s cuteness factor or pointless story, should avoid this one as well. Since nothing new has been added to the series (other than a tweak in the art department), and sadly there are only 2 episodes with this version. Overall though, fans of the anime won’t be dissapointed! The OVA manages to capture the charm of the show to a “T.” So grab a nice bucket of popcorn, site back, relax and get ready for some good cute fun!
For me this was one of the hardest things to get use to. For some odd reason “DAUME” decided to tweak the art style for the characters in this version, and now all the girls look slightly older and much more…round? It would almost appear that they have been packing away a dozen doughnuts everyday since we saw them last. Other than that however it all stays the same. Backgrounds remain pretty washed out, the color is still soft, and the character design remains cute and fluffy. If you can make it past the new looking character design, then the art style shouldn’t hinder your enjoyment.
As expected we get a new opening and ending theme, made solely for this OVA. Once again the opening is cute with a high beat party pitch with the actual voice cast singing. The ending is much more calmer sincere pitched. The series’ strong point in the audio department has never really been with the actual music, as most of it can be considered nothing if not “appropriate.” Where the series shines in this department is with it’s voice cast. All the Japanese voice actors have returned to fill their roles to each character, and pull it off great! I especially enjoyed the part where Miu inmates the other girls, you can tell that Fumiko Orikasa (her voice actress) is a very talented individual, because she does a good job of actually sounding like them!
The girls retain their cuteness, charm and innocent ways. From Nobue’s lazy carefree attitude, to Matsuri’s timid personality. It really feels like not a moment has past since we last left them. No new characters have been added, and the cast remains as small as it ever did, and thus only shows the actual five girls. Which might disappoint some viewers. It shouldn’t be much of a problem since this version is only 2 episodes long. The cast doesn’t really have a large amount of depth to them, but they do compliment each other very well! Bottomline, they remain the same characters you have grown to either love or hate. Fans of the series will no doubt be pleased though!
“Ichigo Mashimaro Encore” remains true to the series! Art style aside, it’s the same kind of charm and comedy fans of the anime have grown to love over the years. If you didn’t care for the anime before, then this one won’t make you change your mind. If you’re a fan of the series, or just like a good amount of cuteness to go along with your viewings. Then I highly recommend this version. Ichigo Mashimaro may not do anything new with its cute comedy style, but it does indeed do it right!
Well with only two episodes to comment on, it’s hard not to talk much about the story. It kinda melds together with the OVA and they came in the same DVD set that my sister bought for us to watch. The first episode had Miu taking a trip to the afterlife, which was in some ways hysterical, and in others pretty discomforting. Miu’s one-liners were hilarious (“Taxi!!”), but lifting up Ana’s skirt was NOT. It’s a common theme with the show, very funny and cute stuff with really disturbing lolicon crap added too. Just look the other way…these episodes felt more original and unique than the OVA did though.
Art was done differently, just didn’t look as sharp or well done as the original or OVA. Ranked it lower because of that.
Voice acting was fine, but the theme songs weren’t that great. Lower score because of that too.
Characters were themselves and then some, really kept it true to the original series. On this part, they will not disappoint!!
It was enjoyable, but you have to sit through the lolicon stuff that makes you really uncomfortable. It’s a shame too,the entire series would be so cute and still very funny without all of that crap.
Still a decent “2nd season” to the show and worth watching if you liked the first. The jokes are funny, just try and ignore the loli stuff and you’ll be fine. Worth a watch for sure!!!
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Ichigo Mashimaro OVA
2. Ichigo Mashimaro Encore
3. Onegai☆Teacher: Himitsu na Futari
4. Onegai☆Twins: Natsu wa Owaranai
5. Cossette no Shouzou
6. Hanaukyou Maid-tai OVA
7. Koharu Biyori
8. Ichigeki Sacchuu!! Hoihoi-san
9. Chivas 1-2-3
10. Idol Fight Suchie-Pai 2