Merry Days of Anime: R.O.D. – Read or Die (OVA)

r.o.d. cover

Today, a new trailer was revealed for the upcoming James Bond movie titled “Too Awesome to Die Horribly” or something. Today, I watched an anime OVA series that spoofs the secret agent subgenre of action flicks by adding a bunch of fantasy elements while reviving tons of historical figures and making them evil. Is this coincidence? Am I a soothsayer? Neither of these are 0% possibilities if you don’t think about it. Continue reading “Merry Days of Anime: R.O.D. – Read or Die (OVA)”


twinkle nora rock me 1

A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, met with me in our secret chat chamber and said to me, “Kopo, ya gotta check this out.” They slid the cover for this OVA through the metaphorical table that divided us; its wretched, beautiful eye ravishing me in all sorts of pre-logical emotions. “What is this?” I ask, never having heard of such a thing before. “I’m not sure,” my friend explains, “I happened upon it while browsing around. Reviews for it make it seem like trash. I know you like trash.” They smile at me, expecting me to return to my glory days of indulging in abominations to assert my sense of superiority. “It’s tempting,” I respond while digging deeper into the series. After a time, I felt it was something to add to my prestigious collection of viewed anime. “I’ll watch it whenever.”

I watched it twenty minutes after they gave me the idea. Continue reading “TWINKLE NORA ROCK ME!!!!!!!”

Quick Thoughts on Oshiete! Galko-chan (OVA)


(I know this is the same image I used with the parent series, but the OVA didn’t have any new cover to provide.)

Truth be told, I watched this some time ago; been nearly a month according to MyAnimeList. To some, a month wouldn’t necessarily be that great a span in order to retain all that they had seen from a one-off OVA episode. For me, I remember next to nothing from this special. Before you close the tab, let me assure you that that says a lot more about this OVA than it does about my memory. If I’m able to remember 80% of my elementary school classmates’ names, I’m more than capable of remembering an OVA for a series I actually had a soft fondness for.

One of the things I really enjoyed about the parent (short) series was the sort of blunt openness of teenage women’s issues and sexual curiosity. Not often do you see anime openly discussing tampons and periods and such, at least without some sort of humorous melancholy attached to it. Per this special, the series decided to shy away from the more “vulgar” topics in exchange for some light-hearted, everyday antics, which essentially takes away a lot of what made the series stand out. That’s not to say one can’t enjoy the series without the constant spouting of the size and color of a woman’s nipples, but the series didn’t give much of a chance to develop these characters in a way that would suit them for a slice-of-life perspective.

Throwing the characters out of their comfort zone is exactly what makes this OVA so forgettable. There’s little indication that I was watching something from the parent series if not for the characters themselves, who only act normally in normal situations, with small bits of “Oh, gee, haha” inconveniences spread around. Without the stipulation of highlighting the struggles of female youth and such, the special converges into an aimless path with little idea of where to go. It’s nearly thirty minutes long, but half of it feels like one’s staring at an incomplete storyboard.

I gave it a shot because I genuinely enjoyed the parent series—how it turned out left me disappointed, which can only mean these feelings of affection inside myself are real. That makes it much harder to say that the OVA is worthless, despite being the length of nearly four episodes of the parent series. It didn’t follow the course of what made the core series so refreshing, and with so much time dedicated to one OVA, it’s disheartening to see all that potential wasted.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Quick Thoughts on Kowarekake no Orgel (OVA)

half broken music box

There isn’t much to say about a 28-minute OVA special, but I’ll try my best.

Kowarekake no Orgel, or Half-broken Music Box, is an OVA created back in 2009, and was adapted into a manga in 2011, which is still ongoing. The premise of this story is very similar to that of Chobits, but the premise is about the only thing these two series share in common. The cute little female android in this story can talk, service herself, and doesn’t have a dark secret lying within her. Apart from her, the male human actually has some fortitude to him; and by that, I mean he isn’t a naive,  pure-hearted maiden. He’s gloomy, lonely, and actually has a valid reason of being so. It’s also sad how much is actually shown within a half hour of this OVA, because most anime dedicated to showing the closeness of two people usually struggle to create any bond in twelve episodes.

The most I can give credit for is that Half-broken Music Box is harmless. It’s not bad, but it’s not very good with the little time that its given. It did the most it could with the time allotted, and for that I can recommend it as a serviceable pastime. Though, this isn’t something that will necessarily tug at your heartstrings or give you much reason to remember the series after a year or so. It’s a fun little wisp of a story that chronicles the innate desire to be with the ones you love.

Going more in-depth, this OVA’s pacing, in the latter half (of the runtime) has fairly good pacing. Things happen at a rate that’s believable while also creating a splash of empathy within the viewer’s mind. The former half, however, zooms by like a flash. One moment the male lead is trying to repair the female droid, and the next it’s a couple months later. Again, time restraints hurt, yes, but suddenly zooming through months and events that take up less than a minute of runtime isn’t doing much on the part of the viewers’ expectations towards the relationship between the two. Watching something and it telling us “They grow close over time!” is obvious. However, it should be more inclined to show that growth, instead of expecting the viewer to take everything for granted.

half broken music box 2

Relating to the characters is well enough. The male lead has a good enough reason to be angsty, but doesn’t come across as angsty, which is a very welcome change for a teenage lead. He doesn’t seem to encourage behavior seen from most male teenage leads, either. However, there isn’t much to him besides that he’s alone and he’s gloomy. His ambition to continue with life anew takes shape near the end, but it isn’t much in regards to character development. He was sad and now he’s happy. Cool. The female droid is a child who likes being loved and giving love. That’s pretty much it.

Animation is standard for the time, if not a little more mediocre. Given that the studio… or producer… or both, I’m not sure, was a company that had never produced anything prior, I can fall back a tad in that regard. Even so, the design for the female droid was very nice, and admittedly, some of the reason I was pulled into watching this. The male, however, looks like he was plucked from a mid-2000 shounen series. There isn’t much to go off of with this, as the settings are traditional urban places and what-not. Things that anyone can handle. I will say that the animation tried harder at times to give the characters a little energy, which I think looked okay. However, there’s a specific bike-riding scene near the end that looks really, really choppy. Inconsistent, I’d concur.

A cute little time-waster. I’d definitely recommend this to those who enjoys THE POWER OF EMOTIONS! Even so, it doesn’t progress in the way that one would expect from a story similar, such as Chobits. I enjoyed it, but it doesn’t come close to anything groundbreaking—but I’m repeating myself by this point.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Apologies to those who may have been confused by the placement of this post. This isn’t included in The Summer of Anime 2016. I wanted to add a little filler while finishing up the anime for my next post, which should be up in the next two days. Thanks for waiting!

Thoughts on Bungaku Shoujo: Memoire

bungaku shoujo memoire

This entry won’t be long because there’s not much to say with this three-part OVA. I will say this, though: I’m not sure if I was supposed to watch this or the movie version first. It’s considered a prequel to the movie, according to MyAnimeList, but the way it’s shown makes me believe it might’ve been more worthwhile to watch after the movie. Regardless, I watched this with a friend and we decided to watch this first.

The episodes play out like this:

  • A girl is introduced.
  • Said girl shows her ambitions, goals, quirks, past, etc.
  • The story shows how each of the three girls (three episodes, mind you) are connected to a certain boy.

And that’s basically it. It’s almost like a one-shot character study while also trying to thread a string of fate between these three girls and the boy. My initial reaction to the end of this three-part OVA was “That’s it?” Otherwise, I couldn’t help but feel that this OVA series was nothing but fan service. Not the type of fan service one would normally think of upon seeing the term, but fan service in the form of “Get to know these characters better before the big show!” It’s essentially a teaser trailer for an upcoming production.

Since the subject of “character study” has shown up twice now, it’s fair to assume that this OVA series doesn’t really have any sort of plot. That assumption would be both right and wrong. The plot differs with each episode, but the plot is predicated by the characters’ actions and desires, rather than having an overlaying plot. What is the plot to Bungaku Shoujo: Memoire? Depends on which episode you’re viewing.

The characters themselves are predictably underwhelming. They each have their degree of initial likability (aside from girl number two), but the lack of any time to develop them only allows for face-value relatability. Each episode is the standard 24-minute-long airing with the inclusion of an OP and ED, so roughly twenty minutes per episode to showcase a single girl. The first girl eats books (not explained) and is wildly curious and romantic. The second girl has a bad home life and is controlling and clingy and dark. And the third girl is shy and incredibly self-conscious. Do those sound like tropes? Because they are. With little time to do anything with them, they’re nothing but that: tropes.

Animation is something that looked well enough to carry the series, but the character design felt a little rigid. The characters’ faces are somewhat scrunched up to a limited area on their face, resulting in a very large forehead covered by vast amounts of hair. Their chins are also very pointed, almost to a tip. If not for eye color and hair style, it might be a tad difficult to differentiate the female characters—hell, even the male character! With what is shown, I liked the characters appearance overall, but the male character left much to be desired. But hey, it’s an implied harem, so the male lead is guaranteed to be bland and uninteresting.

It’s not something I’d personally recommend. My tune might change if I watch the movie and it explains nothing of the three female characters, but for now, it’s time not worth investing. There’s just not enough meat to fill oneself with this OVA series. Though, others may prefer an appetizer before the main course.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Quick Updated Thoughts on Toradora! (OVA)

Toradora is my favorite anime. It has been for almost three years. I have it to thank for shooting me into the anime medium. However, its additional OVA bundle isn’t really anything.

Takasu feels threatened over his housewife status after Kitamura’s grandmother makes a spectacular boxed lunch. The entire OVA goes through Takasu trying to one-up Kitamura’s grandmother by making bigger and better lunches.

It’s random. It’s absurd. It’s basically just Takasu being dumb and the rest of the characters looking at him like he’s weird. There’s some sentimental value to it, but very little. It’s just filler. Nothing important happens. Just some extra screentime for people enamored with the parent series. Like me.

I actually noticed that the animation for this OVA is of a lower-standard than the parent series. That’s… pretty much it.

It’s fine.

Thoughts on GJ-bu@ (Spoilers?)

It’s been over a year since I discovered GJ-bu. Now, with the passing of what I presume to be their last hurrah, GJ-bu can finally rest in peace. Probably. I can’t help but think the author will milk it to no end anyway.

What was it about GJ-bu that I liked anyway? How can I recollect the feelings that I had for the original title? It was over a year ago. I really can’t say. I finished it within a day. I gave it a seven, which is saying something since I even admitted the multiple flaws in both character and plot production. I suppose there was just this magic to it that made me really ooze all of my own personal bias onto the series. Oh, to be bound by emotions. It’s a pleasing conundrum.

With everything wrapped up (I hope), I can honestly say that the magic is gone. Was I particularly excited for this OVA’s release? Absolutely. Was I satisfied after viewing it? Pssh, no. The first thing that threw me off was the whole premise of the club going to New York. It happened. Okay. It never explains how they got there, nor does it really make itself anything more than a day at the club. Not to mention, it’s only half of the OVA. Only half. So, to sum it up, what does the premise cover? The insignificant half of the OVA that doesn’t care to expand upon its normal formula, despite a completely different place of setting… kind of. There are so many scenes that COULD have been shown that weren’t. Why? So they could make room for the second half of the OVA? It just makes the whole trip to New York seem lazy and obligatory. Wasted potential. Much disappoint.

And so we’re introduced to the second half. By the way, it comes up out of nowhere. Seriously. One scene they’re in New York, the next they’re somewhere I don’t even recognize. It took me a full two minutes to even figure out they were back in Japan. That’s very abrupt, GJ-bu. The central character of the five females, Mao, the former president, is avoiding main male character. Why? Good luck trying to figure it out, because NO ONE EXPLAINS IT. You’re left to assume the reason, and when you finally come to a conclusion, it still doesn’t explain her desire to avoid him… was she avoiding everyone else, too? She seemed fine while talking to Tama. Was it just him? By the way, what is with these characters and kidnapping? This series takes the matter very lightly. The rest of the OVA deals with Mao’s stupid problems and throws in a few moments that are designed to make you cry and bawl and have you empathize with the characters, as it is, I presume, their last hurrah. It worked, to an extent. I couldn’t get over how forced it seemed. Everyone looked so content and happy and “Oh, this club is so pwecious! Ohhhhhhhhh!” Regardless, I had a hole in my stomach the size of… my kidney stone. Yeah. It’s safe to say the magic has worn thin.

Can I just say that the laziness of this special is apparent in a single, critical area? Background. There is a scene where Mao is moping around with main male character when they first get back to Japan. In the background, there are unnamed characters that are frozen in time. Frozen in time. One character was laughing, the one beside her presumably told her a joke about the OVA’s production value. Then a few others had their backs turned to the camera, probably hiding the shame they had on their face to be used in such a mundane fashion. When it comes to quality, the only thing that matters is the central characters. The most impressive scene, I think, was the scene of every character eating their burgers. That was bizarrely entertaining. It kind of grossed me out, too.

I was left unsatisfied with the ending of the original GJ-bu series. Now, I’m left unsatisfied with its actual conclusion (maybe). Is this a sign that I’m actually just unpleasable? Probably. GJ-bu@ is basically a mainstay for those who needed closure after finishing the original series. However, it will only work if your heart is in the right place. My heart happens to be under lock and key when it comes to things like this. Gj-bu@ just didn’t have the right combination. Ho-hum.