They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Pinky Street, Melty Lancer, Strike Witches OVA, and more!
17: Pinky Street
MAL Score: 4.60
Forget the fashion police or a therapist – the Pinky Street action figure Saki is here to save the day! Mei is a tomboyish girl who would love to spend more time on fashion like her favorite Pinky Street figure, if she wasn’t busy being hassled by her male classmates; Keiichirou is an otaku who collects Pinky Street figures, and who has just been in a fight with a good friend. Both are taken in their sleep to the fabulous Pinky Town, where they are taken to a clothing store, toy store, and have a bite to eat with Saki herself! What other insights await our heroes?
These short movies, not even 15 minutes long, were released singly on DVDs, each coming with a Pinky:st figure. And that was the sole reason for making of these movies, to plug the merchandise and appeal to the fan-base. The animation is decent enough and the 3D well done and cute, but the recycling of certain footage got old and made me roll my eyes. There is no time to develop a proper story or characters, hence it leaves you wondering why they even bothered. At least, the opening song is catchy and I find myself humming it often.
I would only recommend it to Pinky:st figures’ fans, and my score is really for them only; everyone else is better off looking elsewhere for entertainment.
16: Melty Lancer
MAL Score: 5.90
Meltylancer is a Galaxy Police Organization unit comprised by six girls, all of which who have their own special skills and talents. A year has passed since the unit’s disbandment, but a new threat leaves the GPO no choice but to recall all the members. With a new commander and a new aide, Meltylancer is deployed once again.
Now this isn’t a really bad OVA series, in fact it’s a bit enjoyable as a smash ‘n dash action show that doesn’t have to take itself too seriously. One of the problems being is Melty Lancer is probably one the most generic anime titles you could ever watch. Almost every scene is virtually ripped and pasted from other realms of sci-fi action anime in a slightly run down fashion. Nothing is even vaguely original. I’ll start with the cast. Every character in this show is comprised of every anime cliche from 1989 to 2000. These are bio quotes of the six female leads from the Bandai licensed disc jackets:
Silvia: The gung ho girl who fights for justice
Nany: The sorceress from another dimension
Angela: The beast girl born for battle
Jun: Powerful girl in a power suit
Melvina: The Super Commander
Sakuya: A saintly, soft-spoken girl
Now, I’ll translate these for your convenience
Silvia: The main girl with the gun
Nany: Kawaii moe magical girl with transformation
Angela: It’s a cat-girl in an anime….What a shock.
Jun: Typical loudmouth, battling, tomboy girl
Melvina: These girls would be dead without her
Sakuya: A C-level Belldandy clone
That might seem a bit harsh, but the very second a line of dialouge emits from these girls, it’s hard to take them seriously as personalities that will develop. I let this slide, thinking in the back of my mind that this is a parody of an action show, so if you put aside the lack of substance in any of the Melty Lancer team (maybe Melvina being the one with the most depth), they’re a pretty fun group and play their run-of-the-mill traits decently enough to be entertaining. Heck, these girls are more entertaining than the cardboard cut-outs in Burst Angel.
Outside of the six girls, the plot and remaining pretty much a starter set of action anime cast cliches leftover from a failed Dirty Pair series that never got off the ground, although, I did get a kick out of the sub-villianess, Vanessa and the Vanessars. She and crew put me in the mind of Team Rocket.
Character designs and backgrounds look nicely detailed and some of the animation is pretty smooth, but some of the pre-year 2000 era computer animation is kind of bad and visually distracting. I have horrible eyes, but there are certain points where there’s so many effects going on at once, it could give you a headache. Characters pass out and wake up out of conscience with a bizarre fading effect that almost gives me vertigo. The english dub isn’t bad, in fact, it’s a pretty good Ocean Group offering. Soundtrack is a bit dated with techno J-rock tunes, but gets the job done.
IN CLOSING: Melty Lancer is an above average offering from a studio that doesn’t impress me. There isn’t enough promise in it to get really mad at anything it didn’t do or try to do. The goofy CG animation is probably the only thing that really bugged me about this anime. If you are in the mood for a nonsense, mildly absurd action title, or is getting someone else started in anime, Melty Lancer is a nice straight down the middle title that does nothing you haven’t already seen.
OVERALL SCORE: 6 out of 10
PROS: Nice English dub, decent action scenes, the Vanessars
CONS: Unoriginal in every aspect, crappy CGI effects, core story means nothing
We open with a bunch of old, politician looking types approaching a prisoner. They offer him a deal. He leads a group they’re reuniting and they’ll give him his freedom. They don’t even care what happens with them. We cut to his aide travelling about to find the members of the titular Melty Lancer. Fortunately, they gather just in time to stop an attacking giant robot. Unfortunately, they seem to be pawns in some kind of political game, probably connected to the case Sylvie’s been working on. Will they be able to survive and conquer this perilous situation?
Honestly, the big issue is just that the comedy is so generic. We’re talking jokes that are super obvious and overdone like the old chestnut about men being a bunch of mindless apes who will lose it at the sight of a pretty girl. Because I know when I’m supposed to be guarding something I’ll just give a pretty girl access immediately. They also have the old jape about the powerful looking machine that has a really glaring weak point but it’s okay because they lampshade it. The series just never makes use of surprise or has anything uproariously funny. The best it can manage is being kind of, sort of funny. And that’s a big issue when you’re looking at a comedy. What’s supposed to make up for it? The strength of the plot? Because, I have to say, this isn’t a complex, compelling plot line.
That being said, there’s nothing in the series that’s bad. The comedy might be underwhelming but it’s not cringey or awful. The same is true for the script. It’s not particularly interesting, but it’s not bad either.
The cast is pretty standard. They’re bland comedic characters. And a comedy having characters who are kind of one-note can work. We saw that last week with Galaxy Angel 2. The difference betwixt that series and this one is that that series had characters who had strong comedic interactions. That series had characters who were enjoyable to watch get into shenanigans. Whereas this one has characters who are just dull.
The character designs aren’t bad. They aren’t the most visually interesting group out there but they’re fine. The backgrounds and action sequences are perfectly acceptable. Again, not the most interesting you’ll see but they work.
They did get some strong actors for this. Ogata Megumi, Tange Sakura, Yukana, Ikezawa Haruna & Iwao Junko are all good actresses. (No, this isn’t a Cardcaptor Sakura reunion.) And their performances in this are good, not their best but good. The biggest issue is with Iwata Mitsuo. He has two modes in this series, mumbling and shouting. Maybe the director thought that would be a good quirk for his character but it’s not. It’s kind of obnoxious. Amano Masamichi’s soundtrack is decent enough. I won’t be listening to it on its own or anything but it was fine.
There are some moments that come across as a bit les-yay, but those are very few and nothing comes of them.
Ultimately, Melty Lancer is a below average series. But hey, that still makes it better than a lot of Konami’s recent output. It’s not bad but it’s far from good. My final rating is a 4/10. Next week is my 400th anime review (obviously not counting the manga, cartoon, comic or live action ones) and you all know what that means. That’s right, time for some Star Power make up.
15: Strike Witches OVA
MAL Score: 6.29
In 1939, after the world has been devastated by an invasion of the “Neuroi”—alien war machines of unknown origin—humanity continues to struggle in an uneven fight. With no conventional arms able to pierce through the aliens’ hardy armor, resistance forces spare no expense in their search for a way to level the playing field.
Eventually, the so-called “Striker Unit” is designed—a state-of-the-art device utilizing the innate magical powers of young girls and turning them into deadly weapons. The women who are now gathering from all around the world to fight for the survival of the human race are known as “Witches,” with the 501st Joint Fighter Wing—the “Strike Witches”—standing at the forefront of the deadly conflict.
However, this short OVA is an excellent way to introduce people to the world of Strike Witches. I think what I like best about this short snippet is that there aren’t any obvious ecchi shots. Maybe a bath scene, but nothing like you would see in the two seasons that followed (not that they were bad, there were just times I felt it was unnecessary).
If you just want to know what Strike Witches is like, I guarantee this OVA will tell you if you’re going to like it or not (again, be prepared for plenty of fanservice if you decide to continue.) And if you’re still not sure, the two seasons that follow more or less go like this:
16 episodes of character development
2 episodes of wacky ecchi humor
6 episodes of more serious battles and small plot twists
Storywise, the most you’ll get out of the Strike Witches OVA is Yoshika’s reluctant point of view on guns and war; something you’ll definitely notice at the beginning of the first season. But it doesn’t go any further than that – you’ll have to watch the television series and see the other girls of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing that she meets to understand why fans such as myself love Strike Witches!
Although the story is rather short, there are many things explained in details, which I didn’t see in the longer anime show. Finally a load of new things actually started to make sense to me. The weapons, the places. Finally something more then just ridiculous amounts of shear fanserwis and nothing else. It was actually a good introduction to the universe and my view about Strike Witches has changed. I am willing to check out the manga and novels now.
The art is worse then the anime series, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s pretty, gives a wibe of WWII at times and there are featured many interesting images.
The sound was good, it fit well with the theme. Nothing epic to go crazy and start getting mp3’s of this, yet still quite satisfying.
The characters were shown fine for such a short amount of time. I was pleasently surprised about Major Sakamoto especially.
This was actually pretty enjoying even compared to the longer anime series, the fun is balanced with the interesting facts well, but at the end a few parts just get slightly annoying.
This wasn’t as bad as I expected this to be. This OVA might be my first step to stop my Strike Witches hate and a step that just invited me to an exploration of a whole new experience as I have higher hopes for other works now.
Not so much an OVA but a promotional video from before the main show was released. Now, as far as a promotional video goes it is pretty good but also terrible.
It is also pretty badly animated. Had I seen this first I probably of hesitated from watching the show so I don’t think it really helps it. It does work in the way of what it wants to achieve but also doesn’t.
You see a fair few characters on screen but again it’s a short that is not designed to develop.
I would honestly say overall that it isn’t too bad as a promotional video but the animation choice just really does make me question whether it would have helped people watch the show.
14: Super Street Fighter IV
MAL Score: 6.35
This OVA will reveal the truth about Juri’s evil eye and feature plenty of Cammy and the Dolls.
Instead, they just want to cash in on the name in the quickest, cheapest way possible. Well, I am relieved to say that Super Street Fighter 4 continues this proud OVA tradition!
It ostensibly follows Guile, Cammy, and Chun-Li as they track down a new character introduced in SSF4, a Korean witch named Juri.
Throughout the 32 minute runtime, it feels like the creators had less than 10 minutes of real content, but needed to stretch it out as long as possible. Countless scenes and bits of dialogue where all three protagonists repeat “it has something to do with her eyes!”, irrelevant conversations between Juri and Seth about the “Feng Shui engine”, and flashbacks within the OVA to a scene we watched only seven minutes ago are all used to pad length.
Name an area, and this OVA embarrasses.
Character designs? Guile looks like a fat, amorphous blob. I actually took a screenshot at one point, the appearance was so ridiculous. The animation overall? Numerous missing frames, often during the fights themselves, and lots of shoddy, ugly cells outside of the fights.
Things like “story”, “characters”, and “dialogue” barely even apply here. Instead, we get some cliche evil villain laughs, and Juri being contractually obligated to say the word “play” twice per sentence. There is also apparently a website that tracks mysterious secret organizations in places as remote and obscure as snow-covered mountains in the Himalayas. Apparently, whoever set it up has trillions of microcameras all over the world. No real explanation is even attempted for this.
Juri is the extremely annoying cocky villain. Cammy, Guile, and Chun-Li are all the same bland, faceless hero types.
The dialogue is truly insipid. I thank God the audio was in Japanese, as simply reading it made my eyes bulge, let alone listening to it. Every character appears to be clinically retarded.
The plot holes boggle the mind. After Chun-Li is crushed by Juri, and Guile is also beaten like a drum, he tells Cammy to go after her. Oh wait, this is AFTER Cammy was defeated by Juri from a single punch earlier. Apparently, sending agents to certain death is standard protocol in the idiot universe of this OVA.
“Alright, alright”, you’re probably wondering, “enough with all that extraneous bullshit. What about the motherfucking fights?!”
Well, they are garbage. There are 3 real matches in this OVA, and all are one-sided squashes, with Juri nary getting so much as a scratch against Chun-Li, Guile, or Cammy. Hell, I think Guile is the only hero who even lands a SINGLE hit against her, although she barely even flinches, and destroys him in the very next moment.
Also, instead of SHOWING us all the action, some of it occurs off-screen, and in other instances, Juri’s eye glows menacingly in preparation for an incredible, vicious attack…but then the camera simply cuts away. Some time later, we see that her poor opponent is unconscious or dead. Way to screw the fucking audience, guys.
That being said, these 3 mostly shoddy, anti-climactic fights, with bright colors but shit choreography are still an improvement over the ones in “Ties that Bind” and arguably “Street Fighter Alpha Generations”.
Also, this OVA is a mere 32 minutes, well over 13 minutes shorter than either of its two predecessors. If nothing else, the torture doesn’t last as long.
And as a token of my gratitude, I am giving this OVA a 2 instead of 1.
There isn’t much story in it, as the episode is quite short, it mainly focus on the powers of Juri and her ability overwhelm others with her new combat weapon the evil eye. If anyone who likes to watch female villain who can take hits and overwhelm, I would recommend this episode.
At least this episode is a great way to new viewers interested in it’s other series and franchise.
The art is very detailed and beautifully drawn, and cool to watch, it allows one to understand the effort the animators put into animating the episode.
Good and exciting to listen
The story revolves mainly about the female villain Juri, A Korean who had overwhelming martial art skills supported by her evil eye that can overwhelm the three other protagonists Cammy, Chun-Li and Guile.
There isn’t much development in other characters itself nor was there an intention or a need to since it is an ova.
So for people who does not know about the characters, they can just take them as three other soldiers fighting the female villains, as that seems to be the point for it, as they are mainly involved in the story as an opponent for Juri the main villain for this episode.
Aside, from enjoying how detailed and well animated the animation is, I find the battles exciting, the battle is fluid with great execution, flow, sequence and pacing, Something I would not expect to enjoy from a short episode.
But I did enjoy the most out of it.
We open with a mechanical eye being implanted in Juri Han by the criminal organisation, S.I.N because Capcom is bad at names. Juri is sent to test the weapon by fighting a bunch of dudes who are on the run from S.I.N and capturing Vega’s squad of mind wiped bodyguards. While doing her tasks, she finds herself up against the trio of Chun Li, Guile and Cammy.
There’s not much here in terms of story. The OVA mainly exists to give Juri some back story and go into details about her powerful fake eye. The biggest problem with it is simply that it’s not that interesting. Juri does something for her stupidly named organisation, the heroic characters interfere, she beats their asses because her eye makes her OP. It’s basically a really dull plot that serves as a vehicle to justify the action sequences. Although that may well be the main reason some people would want to watch an anime based off of a fighting game, in all fairness.
While I credit this as the only Street Fighter anime I’ve seen without Ryu as the focus, they don’t exactly do anything interesting with Juri, Chun Li, Guile or Cammy. I’m not saying any of them are bad characters in the games, but in this they’re portrayed as very bland.
I will give the OVA some credit here. The artwork looks pretty nice. The issue that comes up with the action sequences is just that they’re far too one-sided. Juri just beats everything’s ass in this OVA without trying all that hard. It’s kind of like watching Dragonball before Goku gets involved in the battle and the antagonist just beats the shit out of everybody else.
The actors are pretty good. Orikasa Fumiko, Kitamura Eri, Sawashiro Miyuki and Yasumoto Hiroki all perform their roles nicely. I imagine if this was a longer thing with actual character development, they’d make for a really strong cast. The music is decent.
Areas of Improvement:
1. Go into some actual details about how Juri’s eye works. The whole purpose of this OVA seems to be to provide details about Juri, but all we know about the eye is that it’s basically a magic eye that makes her stronger. At least give us a cursory explanation using some technobabble.
2. Give us at least one close battle in the OVA. It’s not really interesting to watch one-sided fights. I don’t mind if Juri always wins in the end, but at least give us one match where she’s actually pressed.
3. Give the OVA something of an arc. This really would benefit a lot from some kind of story with a beginning, middle and ending. Even if it’s an open ending to segue into the game. As is, it’s just Juri going on a couple missions and beating the shit out of some better known characters.
Super Street Fighter IV isn’t a bad OVA. It has some nice artwork from Gonzo. They got strong actors. It’s just a very uncompelling piece without anything to really recommend it. Even the action sequences, which should be the main draw, are just too one-sided to be interesting. As such, my final rating is a 4/10.
13: Red Garden: Dead Girls
English: Red Garden: Dead Girls
Japanese: レッドガーデン デッドガールズ
MAL Score: 6.37
In the future (subsequent to the events of the television series) Kate, Rose, Rachel and Claire divide their immortal lives between study and vigilantism. Their past link to the red garden on Roosevelt Island comes back to haunt them after mysterious transfer students Louise and Edgar seek out their friendship.
Anime: Gonzo did the production on this again (known for their work on Saikano and Gankutsuou) and Kou Matsuo directed as well (known for his work on all seasons of Rozen Maiden and the OVA). Dead Girls is a 45-minute OVA that was released on August 8th, 2007. As far as I’m aware, Dead Girls has not been licensed, either by ADV, or Funimation (who currently holds the original series’ license).
Dead Girls picks up about 300 years in the future in NYC, where Rachel, Rose, Kate and Claire are pretending to be high school girls as cover for bounty hunting, because hey, why not? They apparently don’t have any memories of the original series, as they were warned previously in the original series. But the new transfer students look quite familiar and may mean trouble for them…
Okay, so, first off, it’s interesting to see what 300 years of having a seventeen year-old’s body has done to the girls. There are some pretty obvious 180s in peoples’ personalities, but there are pretty decent reasons given for it, which is really appreciated here. It’s more fun seeing what the girls are like now than it is watching the actual plot of the thing, which isn’t the greatest or most interesting and gets resolved in a pretty lame way. Again, though, director of Rozen Maiden, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise in terms of lack of resolution and plot quality.
As for art, it’s the same style as the series, but with some added caveats. There are a lot of reused character designs from the original series, either for continuity or because the designers were lazy, take your pick. Also, there’s the typical Gonzo mech added, and it’s quite nicely done and doesn’t seen all that out of place.
Music is pretty much what was used in the series, with a song being sung in horribly out of tune voices (yay for realism?) to the main theme. Ehhh, this kind of loses points with me. But otherwise, pretty solid.
Seiyuu are same as in the series, with seiyuu reprising their roles for similar looking characters from the original series; again, continuity or budget saving, who knows.
Length here is pretty solid. 45 minutes, which was more than I expected. Just about right, actually, though it did drag at the end.
Overall, this is a pretty solid OVA. There’s a few issues of laziness versus continuity, but otherwise, a solid follow-up that’s worth a watch.
Overall: 38/50; 76% (C)
Dead Girls takes place years after the end of the original series. Our four heroines are, naturally, still alive and without memories of the first seventeen years of their lives. Not knowing who they were or why they can never die, they’ve stuck together, traveling to new places every few years so nobody realizes how odd they are, and have begun working as bounty hunters (known as, appropriately, the dead girls) by night. When an opportunity for learning about their past arises, they take it… and that’s about it. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s a generic one that tells us (and the girls) little and fails to even infuse meaning into our state of uncertainty. While it’s nice to know what happened to them, and the choice to set the OVA far into the future rather than immediately after the series was an interesting one, there’s a massive amount of potential lost and the OVA ends up feeling completely pointless.
An opportunity for character development is similarly lost with all four of the girls. Naturally, after hundreds of years, they’ve changed dramatically, and yet we never get a peek into how and why they’ve changed. Its alluded to that they choose to take on different traits as the years go on and they move to new places, cutting off ties from both old peers and old personalities, and that could in and of itself make a great OVA if it were used to explore their characters, their deepest needs and desires, or even the nature of personality as an overall concept. But Dead Girls doesn’t do that, opting to simply treat everything as normal and expecting the viewer to nod along. Disappointing, to say the least.
At the very least, this OVA has the same art and musical style of the original series. The singing is back, although (at least in the English dub) the fact that the songwriting and singing are weak is amusingly lampshaded by characters. Art and animation are very nice, unique without being overly bizarre, which fits the show nicely. However, I would have enjoyed seeing more thought put into the physical setting, however; it has a generic futuristic look without any real “oh cool!” moments that really aren’t that hard to add when making up technology (or even fashion) for the future. The way it looks and sounds don’t particularly make up for the story and characterization, though; it looks and sounds nice, but not nice enough to distract you from that.
Red Garden: Dead Girls is a disappointment that does little for the plot or characters of the original series, but at least it still looks nice. Recommended for completionists who saw the TV series only.
Also, the theme song is pretty bad.
12: Gate Keepers 21
MAL Score: 6.77
Thirty-two years have passed since the initial defeat of the Invaders. A.E.G.I.S is all but dismantled now and has become an underground organization consisting of only a few Gate Keepers left to save humanity. One of the members, Ayane Isuzu, is sick of society as a whole, though she continues to defeat the Invaders out of spite for her father. Suddenly, she learns of the revival of Machine General (Kikai Shogun) and Devil Count (Akuma Hakushaku), but a mysterious ghost girl now accompanies them. It is up to Ayane and the remnants of A.E.G.I.S to stop them and save humanity once again.
The characters were less charismatic as well. Ayane and Miu were OK, they reminded me of Megumi and Reiko, but the only character I truly liked was Satoka Tachikawa. She’s just one cool chick and her gate power is really interesting. I also like how characters from the original series made an appearance. I won’t be specific just to avoid giving out spoilers.
And since some characters reappeared, Tomokazu Seki and Masami Suzuki came back to play their respective characters once more. Even Takahiro Sakurai made a cameo appearance. Once again, they impressed me with their voice acting.
While it looks the same, Gate Keepers 21’s animation improved a bit. First of, the invaders had an upgraded design. I think there were more invader types compared to the original. Things were gory visually too, since there were scenes that showed how humans transformed into invaders. Before they just put on shades and they would become invaders, right? It’s a lot different this time. There were even scenes of limbs being disemboweled. Of course, the CG was still good as ever.
As for the music, it was OK. The song “Ima, Egao ga Areba” sung by Sakura Nogawa was similar to the opening of the original Gate Keepers, “Asu no Egao no Tameni”. As for the other song, “Haneoto” by Junko Watanabe, it’s not something I like. It was really gloomy and kinda boring. The same goes for the BGM – The BGM became more eerie and dark as well.
I would give it a “Good” rating. It’s not as good as the original series, but I’m glad to have watched it anyway. It’s definitely worth it, and it’s a good way to end Gate Keepers.
Is that all? Well, the short answer is: No.
Seeing the genre-eviscerating Madoka★Magica shake the mahou shoujo fandom today makes me wonder even more as to why GK 21, being nine years older and attempting basically the same thing, went barely noticed. Perhaps because no one had expected that a follow-up to a light-hearted shounen/action/adventure/harem series would be a gloomy mahou shoujo deconstruction. Yet it’s exactly this. Enjoy.
So, there are Invaders. And there are Gate Keepers. They do kick Invaders’ asses using their cool superpowers and pavement-melting mobile phones. So simple… Wait, but why someone who possesses a superpower would need some extra gadgets?.. Pardon, these superpowers _what_?.. Sorry, _how many_ Gate Keepers?!.. And those Invaders are… WHAT??! Oh sh**.
The first thing that strikes in GK 21 is the perfectly undefinable genre and tone. The ‘mood pendulum’ swings violently between horror and parody, the most cruel and disgusting scenes getting exaggerated to the point of ridiculous, pathetically bombastic action sequences being run over by dramatic introspections, gags and puns thrown in every now and then… However, the more facts about the setting are revealed, the less room for humour remains. This is a dark and serious genre deconstruction. Accept it and welcome the Apocalypse.
As for the series’ connection with its prequel… Are there any references to GK TV? Yes. Does one need to watch GK TV to enjoy GK 21? No. GK 21 is good enough as a standalone work, one can understand what’s going on without knowing any facts from the prequel.
Gonzo did a great job. The series abounds in computer-generated imagery, yet it doesn’t seem too ‘artificial’. The dark atmosphere to fit the plot is skillfully created by subdued colors and weird camera angles. And there are quite a few showy battle scenes. As for character design, it’s quite typical for Gonzo. Some do like their style (me too), some don’t (well, tastes differ).
Sound effects are really well thought-out and performed. Plane jets and car engines, big city noises and eerie distant sounds in abandoned streets — everything sounds very realistic. Background music, though hardly being something very special, fits the action quite well. The neo-classical opening song is fascinating, the upbeat ending theme is also not bad. As for voice acting, the whole cast did a good job, but Mamiko Noto (Ghost Girl) is the true star of the show, so believable as if being a crazy ghost were her full-time occupation.
In the beginning, Gate Keepers look like a bunch of rather typical characters. Given the series’ length and number of fighting scenes, one could assume that they would not change till the end. And that would be a mistake. Each of the Gate Keepers gets her share of character development, and relationship between the two main protagonists, Ayane and Miu, changes dramatically through the series. And on the other side there’s Ghost Girl, the most convincing mad villain. So much human, her feelings quite understandable — and still totally mad and dangerous.
I liked GK 21 the moment I’ve seen the trailer for the first time, and I still enjoy rewatching it years after. This short series is definitely worth giving it a try.
Just one remark: use official subtitles, as fansubbers often tend to turn GK 21 into a total mess. And even with decent subs, google ‘Manyoshu’. Ancient Japanese poetry is important to the story, make sure that it makes sense.
11: Kaleido Star: Good da yo! Goood!!
MAL Score: 6.77
In 3 short scenes with chibi-versions of Sora, Layla, May and others you’ll find out how to cook, how to play with diabolo and learn some words from seal language.
All characters shown in this OVA (Sora, May, Layla, Ken, Rosetta and Marion) all keep their personalities from the series. There are a total of three skits that take place in it; May cooking, Rosetta showing Ken how perform her Diablo act, and Marion juggling with Sora! Each ark is kept silly yet entertaining…………not to mention its cuteness at its best! Some fans might be disappointed that not all the supporting cast members (such as Fool, Leon, Sarah etc) make an appearance in this title though.
Sound wise? Hey its Kaleido Star, so you know the music is going to be the same charming and catchy beats the show is known for. You even get a cool (and full) opening j-pop theme called "Yakusoku no Bashoe" sung by the entire Kaleido Star cast. Even the ending is great, because along with the closing theme "Sora no Theme," you also get a cool hand-drawn art skit showing what the characters did after their performance skits.
The chibi CG art was an interesting choice for them to go down, but it is pulled off nicely. While the characters can be somewhat stiff compared to their traditional anime counterparts, they are also surprisingly spry! With colorful well detailed graphics, it will definitely appeal to fans and non-fans alike. Still, the colorfulness could be considered a double edged sword, as some fans might find the over all color schemes to be a bit too much for the eyes to take. Me personally though, I found it charming!
Being that its only 1 episode long there really isn’t much else to say. If your a fan of Kaleido Star then this OVA should not be missed. If your not? Then you should definitely still check it out, as it will more than likely make you want to get into the series. (which runs 51 episodes long) It makes me wish they would make another season with this style of art and comedy, I think it could bring more people into the franchise.
10: Bakuretsu Tenshi: Infinity
Japanese: 爆裂天使 -Infinity-
MAL Score: 6.78
These events occur in Westland, New York, during the 21st century. With a sharp knife, a murderer is indiscriminately killing people… A girl witnesses one of these murders, and the knife is turned on the helpless girl shaking with fear.
Meg returns to this town with Joe to celebrate the “birthday” of Shirley, who used to live with Meg. Orphans, they had decided that the day they first met would be her birthday. In the past, Meg had taken care of three little children, including Shirley, just before meeting Joe. The children were then adopted by a police officer, Sam. He possessed a strong sense of justice and they are supposedly living happily together now.
Meg and Joe happen to help a person and receive a reward. They buy a present for Shirley with the reward money and go to meet Sam. However, they notice him acting strangely. Upon questioning him, he explains that Shirley was assaulted by a murderer and seriously injured. Joe says to the grieving and angry Meg, “Let’s exact revenge on the murderer for Shirley.”
However, the murderer gradually approaches them from behind. The cruel black eyes fall on Meg and Joe… To make matters worse, a dark plot casts its shadow over Meg, Joe, Sam, and the whole town.
Acting as a prequel to the original series (and a sequel to Episode 14) is a fun story full of action, a bit of mystery and a few laughs along the way. It can be a little rushed given that it’s only around 25 mutinies long and it doesn’t really add anything to actually series itself so fans of the series won’t miss anything big if they do skip this.
A noticeable difference between this and the series is that there is more blood and gore scenes then before, and the plot is very dark at points. Unlike the original series which sometimes failed at adding darker themes to the show, they actually succeed in this and the plot benefits from it a lot.
Jo and Meg are the stars of the OVA and they are as brilliant as they were in the main series, the only problem is that there is very little in terms of character development and it just feels like a little filler episode in character terms.
The animation is a big step up from the series; it seems more polished and clearer then before and this is especially true with the smooth character animations and the brilliant CGI.
The incidental music is the same as the series, which isn’t a bad thing at as it adds menace to the darker side of this story. Watched it only on Sub so far but the cast are just as great as before.
All in all, this is a short but brilliant slice of Burst Angel action that fans shouldn’t miss.
9: Vandread: Taidou-hen
Japanese: ヴァンドレッド 胎動篇
MAL Score: 6.79
Vandread The First Stage (season one) was immediately followed up by this TV special. This TV special, also known as Vandread Taidouhen Stage (The Movement Stage) was a recap of the first 13 episodes with additional footage. So, Vandread Taidouhen is not really a bridge between Vandread The First Stage and Vandread The Second Stage (season two). It was made to bring new viewers up to date as to what happened during the first season
8: Vandread: Gekitou-hen
Japanese: ヴァンドレッド 激闘篇
MAL Score: 6.89
Vandread Gekitouhen (Vandread Turbulence), similiar to Vandread Taidouhen, is an OVA summary of Vandread the Second Stage plus several extra scenes
7: Ao no 6-gou
English: Blue Submarine No. 6
MAL Score: 7.03
The once famous and well respected scientist Zorndyke has bred a new genre of living being, one that thrives on the oceans and lives to destroy humans. Zorndyke believes it is time that the humans were relieved of their rule of the earth. It is up to Blue Submarine No. 6 and the rest of the Blue fleet to put an end to Zorndyke’s madness and creations.
I was rewarded with a great plot, jazzy music, excellent animation, and a good moral lesson.
The story itself had a pretty interesting and original twist on the End of the World genre of movies. With the theme’s of man vs nature and such (it does this much better then The Happening, but that isn’t very hard to do).
I only wish that they’d have made a few more episodes. I’d really have liked to have seen the plot deepen somewhat, which we didn’t get the chance to see with just 4 episodes.
The animation was great, at least the hand drawn portion. It flows very nicely and the colors are vibrant. The drawn stuff has aged very well… the CGI not so much. They added quite a bit of CGI, which probably looked cool 10 years ago. But now you can CLEARLY see the age. This can be an eye sore at times.
The soundtrack was quite interesting. You’d think that something like this would have an epic orchestra score. But instead, the soundtrack consists of a group of jazz tracks. The jazz actually fits very well with the anime, who would’ve thought…
The characters aren’t very complex save for Zorndyke, who ends up being a very complex and deep character. Other than him, the other characters remain 2 dimensional. Hayami is your standard antihero, Kino is your standard annoying female counter part, and Verg (who is actually my favorite) is your standard bad guy, up until the end where we see a completely different side to the monster shark captain.
Once again, I blame the lack of episodes for this. We’re just not given time to watch these characters develop at all.
Overall, this is a pretty good anime from beginning to end. It has and uses some very interesting idea’s, some elements work (the concept and story) while others don’t (the CGI).
I recommend this to any action/apocalypses junkies.
Manga, Live-Action Movie, Anime: Blue Submarine No. 6 was originally a manga created by Satoru Ozawa. It ran in Shonen Sunday, and stands at three collected volumes. It has yet to be licensed Stateside.
In 2005, a live-action movie was announced by Gonzo studios, with Masahiro Ohkura directing. There’s no more info about the movie after this, so your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not it’s actually still happening.
Blue Submarine No. 6 is a four episode OVA that was produced by Gonzo (famous for their work on Gankutsuou and Bokurano) and directed by Mahiro Maeda (famous for directing Gankutsuou and the Second Renaissance segments of the Animatrix). It was released in Japan in 1998, and came Stateside in 2000 courtesy of Bandai Entertainment, and was released one episode (which ran about a half hour) a disc, and the final disc was released on October 3rd, 2000. It also aired on Toonami starting on November 6th, 2000 in the 6:00 block.
Story: In the near future, the seas have risen to flood most of the world, and what few areas of land remain are attacked and/or destroyed by sea-living hybrids created by a scientist named Zorndyke. In order to stay alive, humanity relies on the crews of submarines known at the Blue Submarines. The story focuses on Blue Submarine No 6, and a jaded ex-submariner named Hayami, who is asked to come back and help the crew defeat Zorndyke and his hybrids.
Sound like every other post-apocalyptic anime you’ve seen? Well, it is like most other post-apocalyptic anime out there, except that it takes place mostly in the sea. For the most part, the plot isn’t anything particularly stellar, not to mention subplots that are bought in out of nowhere and kind of made of WTF.
The characters are not particularly well-developed, even for having only four half-hour episodes to do it in. The characters have basic traits established, and that’s how they stay for the entirety of the series. One of the problems I have is the "romance" between Hayami and the female lead, Kino, who’s a whiny little bitch who suddenly does a 180 about how she feels about Hayami in the third episode.
The one exception to all of this is Zorndyke, who comes in in the second episode, and is probably the best well-developed plot line and character of the whole thing. He’s initially painted as the ZOMG EVIL SCIENTIST, but as the OVA goes on he gets enough development that you’re left with this moral ambiguity about him that you see in shows like Code Geass and Death Note.
Art: The blend that Gonzo does of 2D and 3D art here is absolutely stunning, especially for the ocean scenes. They’re also particularly creative in their designs for the hybrids, which is a nice touch. The overall color scheme is based on various shades of blue and grey and green, because hey, we’re in the ocean.
Normal character designs aren’t anything particularly special, but hey, it works.
Music: The music for this series is all jazz-bassed, as is the ED (no OP), and all in all, I really like it. …Nothing more I can say about it, really.
Seiyuu: Again, no seiyuu that I recognize/love to death, but all in all, a pretty good job. Props especially to Mutio’s seiyuu, who could convey what she wanted to get across with the character without using actual words (most of her dialogue was humming or random sea animal-esque noises).
Length: I think they could’ve stood to add two more episodes and made it a six-episode OVA, which would’ve given it a bit more time to breathe, in terms of plot and characters.
Overall: A pretty decent OVA with a plot and characters that don’t stand out much, except for one character, pretty art and music, and awesome hybrid designs that deserved an episode or two more.
Overall: 40/50; 80% (B-)
Story: The story, which i’m not going to any detail about, is border-line amazing though it doesn’t seem very “whole”. I say amazing because I’ve never really seen anything quite like it, that is to say it is quite unique and quite creative. However it does seem to have a lot of holes, much seems to go unexplained. Because of the very short four episode life span of this anime the story does proceed along at a very fast rate, this may explain my feeling of the story not being very “whole”
Art: The art was one of my favorite parts about this anime, everything is very nicely put together and anything non-human was quite creatively put together. The only thing that bugged me quite a bit was the use of quite a bit of CGI (which i cannot stand in my anime). Aside from the CGI (if your into that kinda thing, isn’t even a problem) the over-all “art” of this anime is great.
Sound: Music track is win, Voice’s are win, Sound Effects are win, over-all the “sound” section is win. That is to say there are no voice’s i hated and only one that bugged me. (shark-boy’s voice bugged me a little)
Characters: This is a section this anime really suffers in, and over all the sections it gets my lowest score. I say this because the character development in this story is damn near non existent. We can blame this on the whole “I’m a very short anime i have to get right to the point thing” but even for an anime of this length the lack of character development is horrible. New characters are not introduced, they merely start existing when the plot seems to need them, half of which don’t even seem to have names. By the end i had trouble even remembering who the two main characters of the story where. despite these aspects of terrible “character-isms” the main characters are very like-able, even if you don’t fully remember their names….
Overall this is an enjoyable little anime, generally i skip any anime with more then 2 minutes of CGI (grawr i hate that stuff) but for some reason this anime just really kept my attention. don’t go into expecting any character development or any of that but its a nice anime to just sit down and watch if your bored.
Verdict: Brainless Approves 8/10
This was very poorly written. brainless reviews his review as 2/10 – brainless 12/9/14
6: Kimi no Iru Machi OVA
Japanese: 君のいる町 OVA
MAL Score: 7.06
The limited-edition of the 26th manga volume will include an anime adaptation of the popular special flashback chapter “Uchi ga Kita Machi” (The Town Where I Arrived). The story reveals how Haruto, Akari, and Takashi first met during childhood, and serves as a prologue to the TV anime.
The 27th limited-edition manga volume will include a special anime episode produced in full cooperation with Seo Kouji. This OVA will be the animation of the end of the manga. (Volume 27 is the final volume of the long-running series.)
5: Sentou Yousei Yukikaze
MAL Score: 7.20
This full 3DCG digital animation has story takes place in the far future after a pillar of huge fog appeared suddenly in the South Pole. This pillar, known as Jam, is actually a passage for an earth invasion.
In order to oppose the threat, the United Nations established an earth defense mechanism. Fukai Zero is a hero registered to the main force of earth defense and the special 5th flight squadron. His reconnaissance plane, Yukikaze (windblown snow) is the best tactical reconnaissance plane. His job is to collect battle information return safely to the base with the information. But one day when he about to finish his duty, an unidentified machine attacked him…
The OAV is based on a novel, Sentou Yousei Yukikaze (Good Luck Yukikaze) by science fiction author Chohei Kambayashi. It is a mature and introspective, blurring the edges between the sane and insane. Between amazing flight sequences, the story muses about what happens to those who, in fighting to protect everyone else, distance themselves from the very thing they face death to protect. There is also a 2001: Space Odyssey like look at the relationship between a pilot and his seemingly sentient aircraft. It does feel like a lot of back story and character development was left in the novel or on the cutting room floor. Prepare to think hard and still not be quite sure what is going on especially in the middle episodes.
The ending wasn’t as strong as it could have been but it did deliver closure. I’m wondering if perhaps they spent so much money they had to cut production short. One wonders just what level of masterpiece this could have been had there been enough episodes to fill in the blanks.
One reviewer calls it, “A mix of military aircraft fanatic extravaganza, spectacular computer-animated aerial combat sequences, melancholy antisocial relationships, multi-layered allegory, and surreal imagery, Yukikaze is almost as strange and scattered as it is gorgeous. As interesting as it is, the plot seems to be missing key pieces and I’d call it something of an acquired taste.” I would agree. I loved it but not everyone will.
In short, I give it props for the animation and the potential for the story, but the execution wasn’t very good at all.
It is a mature work that requires a lot of effort in order to appreciate. The plot is complex and spirals in a maze that makes it hard to differentiate which is reality and dreams. Though it can be hard to decipher, it corresponds to the complexity of both Yukikaze’s and Rei’s personality. The developing personality of Yukikaze and the repression of Rei’s is fascinating and intriguing. Along with the frustration as an audience of the incomprehensible actions of Yukikaze and Rei resounds in Jack, who is Rei’s commander and seemingly his only friend, it weaves an intricate story. Rei’s inner struggle as he drifts between humans and Yukikaze is the feature of this show. Minus point for some plot-holes, but it otherwise leaves you gripping your seat through the battles and the winding plot gives a bittersweet taste at the end.
The seamlessly woven cg and traditional artwork into the blend of raging air battle is absolutely heart-stopping. The sheer amount of detail is extraordinary and does justice to the story. The art direction emphasises the plots and the feelings of both pilot and plane, a feeling of isolation, alienation and occasionally frustration.
This is not an anime to be missed for both lovers and haters of this genre. The time spent watching this was well-spent and most definitely unforgettable.
4: Hori-san to Miyamura-kun
MAL Score: 7.38
Within everyone there exists a side preferably kept hidden, even from close friends. For the smart and popular Kyouko Hori, it’s the fact that she has to do all the housework and care for her little brother, Souta, because of her parents’ busy work schedules. For the gentle Izumi Miyamura, whom everybody sees as an otaku, it’s his nine hidden piercings and large body tattoo.
So what happens when they accidentally discover each other’s hidden sides? Sharing parts of themselves that they couldn’t with anyone else, strong bonds of friendship soon begin to form between Miyamura and Hori, as well as those around them. As their hidden personas start to dissipate, they slowly learn how to open up to others.
This is a very short Slice of life, but even if 3 episodes is too short to develop characters, it has a great story, it made me smile because it’s pleasant to watch, it’s the perfect combo with comedy + romance + friendship !
I don’t think there’s much to say about this anime, but if you want to take a break and chill in your couch, watch this !
Hori-san to Miyamura-kun, an easygoing great anime.
This anime only has 3 episodes, but you will probably enjoy each and every one of them.
The little romance between the two main characters is great.
The story itself is very simple and easy to understand, great if you just want to relax a bit.
If you want a short little break, try this anime.
3: Kaleido Star: Aratanaru Tsubasa – Extra Stage
English: Kaleido Star: New Wings Extra Stage
Japanese: カレイドスター ～新たなる翼～ EXTRA STAGE
MAL Score: 7.51
Sora Naegino has finally consolidated herself as Kaleido Stage’s greatest star ever, and a new star starts to shine as Rosetta Passel is selected to participate in the next attraction in a main role. But when things start to go wrong in the rehearsals, Rosetta starts to question her abillity to take the role, as her own capacity to remain in Kaleido Stage. Meanwhile, Fool also struggles with his demons from the past.
That said, the Kaleido Star OVA has an inferiority complex.
The original series integrated explosive, illuminating, all-consuming fervency with sophisticated, soul-searing psychological drama. It explored an array of ideologies and thematic elements while maintaining an aura of carefree innocence. It interweaved a melange of literary references, some blatantly obvious and others deceptively subtle, into the individual arcs of its characters, enhancing the cast as a whole. It presented each episode as something essential to the overall story and it always ensured that each episode would be notable in its own fashion. It was marvelously entertaining, structurally outstanding, and near-perfect in every facet. It was so for virtually all of its 51 episode run. In short, Kaleido Star showcased some impossibly high standards for the OVA to achieve.
Whether or not the OVA reached the original series’ expectations depends entirely on how you feel about Rosetta (voiced by Serena Varghese). In the original series, Rosetta was an aspiring circus performer with prodigious talents that viewed Sora Naegino (Kaleido Star’s lead) as both a role model and a friend. Good-natured and charitable yet incredibly stubborn at times (almost as much as Sora), Rosetta came across as a likable character, if more than a bit generic. Sure, she possessed a few highlights (namely her staged showdown with Sora in her first appearance) and she performed fairly well as the centerpiece of a few episodes but at no point did you think that Rosetta could be the star of the show. After all, there have been plenty of occasions where someone else outshined her as a character,
You can’t condemn me for being surprised at Rosetta headlining an OVA all by her lonesome.
“Does Rosetta do well in this OVA?” you might ask. Well, I have to say that while ther are new layers to her personality that are introduced, it’s ultimately not enough to justify Rosetta being the OVA’s protagonist. The other characters fare no better. While the original series provided nuance, purpose, and development to its cast, the characters here are given barely visible slivers of screen time, tossed aside like a ragdoll in humiliating fashion. Leon Oswald, a tortured man of mystery, the infamous “God of Death”, Kaleido Star’s ultimate Byronic Hero, is briefly seen twisting his body in an unnatural position and uttering indecipherable noises while iconic characters like Layla Hamilton, Kalos, and Yuri Killian are resigned to a few meager lines. Outside of Rosetta, the only cast members that (sort of) matter are May (her sole contribution is criticizing Rosetta), the Fool (I’ll get to him later), and Sora. Excluding Rosetta, she contributes more than anyone else but ultimately Sora’s impact is hardly worth remembering.
In the technical areas, the Kaleido Star OVA is a reasonable resemblance of the original. Its color palette is as dynamic as ever and the backgrounds are unsurprisingly stellar. Musically speaking, it’s a joy to listen to (The opening “Blanc et Noir” is particularly soothing). However, it’s not enough to compensate for the OVA’s shoulder shrug of a storyline. The plot is centered on Rosetta’s emergence as Kaleido Stage’s leading lady as well as the Fool’s backstory. While the OVA presents a few glimpses into the fan favorite’s past, it’s ultimately not enough to be compact. From what I’ve gathered, the Fool was a court jester in the Middle Ages that was driven to erase the sadness of his lover (a Rosetta look-a-like princess). For some reason, the Fool was forcibly separated from the princess and wasn’t able to fulfill his mission. What could’ve been a fantastic plot element is marred by a lack of developing anything beyond that point as well as an inability to create a resolution.
“Cop-out” is the perfect word to describe the Kaleido Star OVA. It doesn’t care about characterization. It doesn’t care about a storyline. It doesn’t care about endings (The spiderweb scene (a classic deus ex machina moment) and the jarring conclusion is proof of this). It doesn’t care, period. To claim that this OVA falls short of the original series’ brilliance would be a glorious understatement. “The Amazing Princess Without a Smile” is deprived of so many positive qualities that a smile is the last thing it needs to worry about.
2: Seto no Hanayome OVA
English: Seto no Hanayome OVA
Japanese: 瀬戸の花嫁 OVA
MAL Score: 7.86
The Seto no Hanayome OVAs are new stand alone shorts with characters from the series and also two new ones. It is now the third year of school, San and Luna’s dads are still being over protective. All the while Nagasumi has his hands full trying to keep everyone around him under control and rescuing damsels in distress.
Seto no Hanayome fans should be pleased with the recent OVA. From the familiar comedy/parody that it is well praised for, to the unexpected heart-stopping horror, AIC and GONZO deliver one of the best OVA of the season. For new Seto no Hanayome fans, feel free to check out my review on the TV series if you are unsure about whether you should watch it or not.
The OVA consists of 4 mini-stories about 15 minutes each. Most of these stories are very humourous and entertaining (albeit a bit all-over-the-place at times), but what is rather lacking is the characters development. In fact, you will be disappointed if you are looking for some romance between Nagasumi and San. In short, most of the relationships between all characters stayed roughly the same since the end of the TV series. This means Luna Papa-san is still trying to bring happiness to his daughter through some ridiculous methods, Gouzaburou is still beating the sh!t out of Nagasumi whenever possible, Nagasumi is still a slave to Luna, and you get the point.
The introduction of the new character Satori (monkey Hideyoshi’s younger sister), was not really well done. While no one expected her to be main star for the show, many of us actually expected something more from her (and perhaps give her more screen time and elaborate on her relation with her brother).
As for sound and animation, both are very well executed especially the OP for both episodes. In particular, I personally find the 2nd OP “Tenshi Ranman Love Power” really addictive. To suit the whacky nature of this show, the animation technique used throughout each mini-story differs slightly from time to time and it is always done in such a way as to maximize the atmosphere to get the viewers to the right “mood”. This is extremely true when one compare the previous mini-stories with the last story in the OVA.
Overall, Seto no Hanayome OVA (Jin + Gi) met the level of expectation from fans and it is without a doubt that it’ll worth your one hour of time watching it.
There isn’t much of a story but this was originally an outrageous Parody, Romantic, Comedy so it doesn’t matter as the main plot remains the same. Each episode is basically split up into two scenarios; where it starts off by quickly setting the scene and all you have to do is sit back relax and see how it all plays out. The first scenario is as follows: it’s the beginning of a new school semester and Nagasumi is forced to move to a class of delinquent students, then we have a date to the movies scenario, followed by a maid café one and to close matters with a horror story. These scenarios may seem pretty ordinary for your average anime but this is Seto no Hanayome, so you can expect an outrageous, original, experience from this short OVA.
The outrageous part stems from the characters and surprisingly all the characters make an appearance at some point, never forgetting to show their usual quirks. There are also two new characters that make an appearance in this OVA but don’t expect any character development, since that was never this series’ strong point.
Although just as you’d expect from an OVA, the production values are quite high. It has the same colourful, comical, designs that made this series so funny but anyone can tell that a lot of effort has been pumped into the outrageous moments and various parodies. The music is also nicely done; with a catchy OP and ED theme for each episode on the other hand the soundtrack is pretty much the same deal.
Overall Seto no Hanayome is one of the few awesome TV series that managed to spawn an OVA that just as awesome. Even though it lacks any form of development and common sense, the fast-paced comedy is what makes up for it and also makes this the most enjoyable OVA I’ve seen in a long time.
It’s not often that an anime comes along and really blows you away the way Mermaid did for me in the comedy department. It’s even LESS common for there to be OVAs for a great series and they add something meaningful or retain the same quality of the original. This is where Mermaid again proves that it’s one of the most hilarious, savvy productions out there.
Artwork and Animation: 10
It’s hard for me to rate this a 10, because it really should be 11. The original Mermaid covered a ton of art forms in its parody and spoof elements, and it’s alive and well in the OVA- more pop culture references and other popular anime looks. This time though, the animation got even ‘sharper’! One can tell just from the opening that a great amount of attention to detail was paid to these little extras, which is refreshing for in what most other series would be an afterthought. It’s silky smooth, more colorful than ever, and greatly fleshed out.
Sounds and Voice Acting: 8
Unfortunately, the OVA was never licensed, and so didn’t receive the awesome dub attention that the main series got, but nevertheless, it’s still very effective in conjuring up laughter from the craziness. Lunar and Chimp are probably the biggest standouts in Japanese audio.
Same players, slightly different game. There are two new characters introduced- Saturn- who is one creepy, insane chick. To say more would be spoiling it, but suffice to say that she leaves her mark on Lunar and Nagasumi in a somewhat creepy, but hilarious spoof on the horror genre. The other new character is Chimp’s little sister, Satori- a fiendish little brat who has a thing for “bad boys”.
Given the short nature of the OVAs, (1 hour of total content, but divided up into 4 chapters, or 13 minute episodes) the stories don’t build on each other, but upon the series as a whole. They take place one year after the close of Mermaid season 1, and is the chaos of Nagasumi’s life ever funnier! As I said before, it’s rare that an OVA adds anything meaningful, but we get to see how things are going beyond the close of the original series, with some fun little short episodes that have nearly as much comedy and as many references as a full episode in the original.
In my opinion, the first episode of the first OVA was the best- with an utterly bonkers takeoff of Battle Royale (known to most as the Hunger Games) where Nagasumi is put in a new homeroom for delinquents run by Shark Fujishiro, who organizes a fight to the death amongst them. Nagasumi of course ends up with a garbage weapon and has to fight The Emperor, a middle school student straight out of Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure who’s at least 30 years old.
Elsewhere, there’s a new transfer student in Gozaburo Seto’s class… LUNAR PAPA! Yes, he’s still wearing the sailor uniform, and yes, he still kicks a lot of ass.
Enjoyment and Overall: 9
Mermaid is still funny as ever, and some other characters get a little bit of the spotlight in these, particularly Akeno. If you’re looking for another taste of My Bride is a Mermaid after finishing the main show- this is a very worthy bonus!
1: Kaleido Star: Legend of Phoenix – Layla Hamilton Monogatari
English: Kaleido Star: Legend of Phoenix – The Layla Hamilton Story
Japanese: カレイドスター Legend of Phoenix ～レイラ ハミルトン物語～
MAL Score: 7.87
Layla is going to perform Phoenix in Broadway. Playing this important role, she sets out on a journey by bicycle alone without leaving any message in order to find out what she’s missing inside.
What should be surprising (if you’ve watched the actual series) is how out of character the above statement sounds. Because in Kaleido Star, Layla is one of the strongest, most professional, confident, and assured women you can find. In fact, her "character type" is rather archetypical. But in the later episodes of Kaleido Star, you see just how human Layla is and how strong she is for holding up the way she does, but Kaleido Star: Legend of Phoenix manages to take even that to the next level.
The OVA knows how pretentious "finding yourself" plots can be, and pokes fun at itself for the way Layla goes about actually doing it. It’s very grounded and real, and although the dialogue– and I will be the first to admit this– isn’t something I understand 100% of the time, the characters’ resolve, their emotions, are all clearly felt. Layla and Sora share a very complex relationship, and I was terribly moved to see their relationship continue evolving as it had in the series. Sora had always admired Layla, and I think in this OVA, she connects with Layla on an even more personal emotional level.
After I finished the OVA, I felt soothed, comforted, and it had induced a generally uplifting feeling. Perhaps this experience can be best described as catharsis, one which I felt along with Layla. There is a special scene in this OVA where you feel like all is right in the world. It is, above all things, very innocent and poignant in its simplicity.
The art is much, much better than the series (as one would expect of an OVA) and the colour palette is soft, which fits the tone of Kaleido Star: Legend of Phoenix very well. The seiyuu from the series reprise their respective roles in the OVA, and Oohara Sayaka (Layla’s seiyuu) even sings two songs for us. (They’re listed as the "OP" and the "ED", but there isn’t an OP or ED sequence; the songs play as the story begins and ends, so you’re in for a solid fifty minutes.)
I highly, highly suggest that you watch Kaleido Star before even considering the idea of attempting this OVA, because there’s just so much you’ll miss on. It’s still very beautiful on its own, but various details and the humour sprinkled throughout will mean less, as will the depth of the two female leads’ relationship. I recommended this to those who love beautiful, poignant tales of self-discovery, though I sincerely hope whoever watches this will at least attempt Kaleido Star prior to it. It is a serious commitment, especially for those who do not necessarily like shoujo, because the series lasts for over fifty episodes. I will also warn you here that Kaleido Star, although a good series, has a less realistic take compared to the OVA– "if you persevere, you can overcome anything". With that in mind, I hope you’ll greatly enjoy this beautiful little OVA.
There are several interesting side charactes in KS, who probably no one can hate. Layla is one of them and I was overjoyed when I found out there was an OVA focused on her. “YAY, no more annoying Sora meddling with everyone’s business!” I thought. On top, the MAL summary sounds like this is solely focused on Layla and possibly could be about her first steps to become a star. Oh, boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong, could I? Warning, this contains MINOR spoilers (but by finishing KS you can probably figure them out on your own).
Forget what you see on MAL. This is shoujo with annoying lead. It’s about Sora regardless of what’s in the title or summary. Seriously, this could be pretty much titled: How Sora found her purpose through Layla’s bike trip. Basically, Sora gets a difficult role, and since we’re in KS universe and circus is a serious business, the thing that can help her to learn the role, isn’t hard work and training but a philosophical self-discovery journey… to nowhere… by bike… done by Layla (Sora was actually stalking her by a car… driven by Ken). Makes even less sense in context. Both Layla and Sora get the same role, suffer the same issues and Layla tries to solve them by running away. Sora finds it out and gets her buddy-buddy friends to get her back. Why she can’t learn the role she sucks at and instead meddles with someone else’s business is beyond me. I couldn’t see why it was necessary for her to go and find her when she obviously needed to be alone. Anyway, in short, Layla remembers her completely irrelevant childhood moments, tells her biggest secrets to complete strangers, scraps all of her character development, figures out she should be a 10-year-old and cuts her hair. (Makes even less sense in context.) Oh, it’s FULL of yuri (under)tones. That’s it. I still don’t get how the hell they managed to tell this in more than 10 minutes.
In the first half everyone comments how horrible it is that Layla has emotions and the other half Layla comments how horrible it is that she has emotions (and that she should over-show them and how cool Sora is; makes even less in context).
Layla and May were enough for me to overlook Sora and enjoy it. The only issue (besides Sora) was that Layla’s character ‘development’ (this OVA gave it a brand new meaning) completely sucked. Aside from finding out she can’t handle bike trips and that Sora is for some reason cool and she should take her as an example (completely overlooking the fact that she has much more experience and uses common sense), nothing really happened.
I still didn’t like that characters design but other than that no problems. Nothing memorable, though.
Nice ‘opening’, ‘ending’ and bgm but once again, nothing memorable.
I believe I mentioned multiple times what I didn’t like. But it was still watchable even though it didn’t make sense at all. And I loved the on stage scenes
Seriously, if you expect Layla/only OVA or don’t like Sora or, heaven forbid, you dare to prefer any other character (if you like Rossetta go watch her OVA, there’s still more Sora though) DO NOT watch this. This will be a huge disappointment, like it was for me. However, if you like shoujo-like ‘plot-twists’ (aka saw it coming only from a mile away) and Sora (liking Layla isn’t necessary, there’s way more Sora) or, basically, Kaleido Star style story telling then you should watch this, trust me, you will love this.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Kaleido Star: Legend of Phoenix – Layla Hamilton Monogatari
2. Seto no Hanayome OVA
3. Kaleido Star: Aratanaru Tsubasa – Extra Stage
4. Hori-san to Miyamura-kun
5. Sentou Yousei Yukikaze
6. Kimi no Iru Machi OVA
7. Ao no 6-gou
8. Vandread: Gekitou-hen
9. Vandread: Taidou-hen
10. Bakuretsu Tenshi: Infinity
11. Gate Keepers 21
12. Kaleido Star: Good da yo! Goood!!
13. Red Garden: Dead Girls
14. Super Street Fighter IV
15. Strike Witches OVA
16. Melty Lancer
17. Pinky Street