OVA Corner: Video Girl Ai and Proving to me that Ecchi Romcoms can actually work!

I found myself on a little OVA binge as of late! So I thought…why not make a little miniseries on OVAs. Not going into every single one of them of course, but ones that stood out to me or I feel like talking about.

The most surprising anime I have ever had the pleasure of watching was the little treat by Production IG back in 1992, Video Girl Ai. I think the first question that needs to be addressed when one watches this six episode OVA, “what is a video girl?” Well to make a long story short, it is a video of a girl pretending to be the viewer’s girlfriend in order to comfort them from numerous problems they have in their life. Or, as best said by Bennett the Sage on Youtube, for simpler terms a loneliness aid. That is exactly what the protagonist Yota is buying. And this is how this crazy romcom starts off as, but it is not even close to how it ends.

zgoxaevtrpmqbig

So Youta Moteuchi is your average kid who, it becomes increasingly obvious, despite his goofy exterior and kind smile beats the heart of someone lonely and rejected. After being told by his friend/crush, Moemi, that she loves his best friend, Takashi, he decides to find comfort in a false reality of video girls. Only come to find out that when he puts in the VHS tape, the girl comes out of the television! Meet Ai, a mischievous tomboy with, of course, a flat chest all thanks to Youta’s VCR being defunct and switching her personality around. She can only stay for as long as her tape runs in the VCR, which is a month, and her plan is to help Youta get the girl of his dreams.

What starts off as a goofy premise, quickly becomes a schmaltzy but emotionally effecting drama that easily will resonate with people especially near the end. This is a story about accepting those desires within you and sometimes understanding that nothing can help what is going to happen. We watch as our main cast of four follow a chain of what seems to be a very sobering understanding of how love works. Some people will just not love another, no matter how hard they try. Though it doesn’t end off on such a depressing theme, but rather uplifts you with a sense of accepting yourself and understanding one’s struggles to find that special someone. It is like a never-ending vacuum of emotions for these characters. Ai grows to love Youta for how charming and caring he is yet understands that due to her limited time can’t act upon these feelings. Youta loves Moemi only to find out that she constantly needs him to help her with her own love problems without ever realizing Youta’s love for her. Moemi hunts for Takashi’s affection even if he may never reciprocate it. Then Takashi is this asexual enigma who rejects the very aspect of romance.

Quickly you begin to understand how painful it is to watch these characters constantly support those around them and suffer the same problems without each of them understanding one another. That is what really works, despite how melodramatic the series is at times it always allows you to see how human the characters are. None of them lack a personality and none of them are truly omnipresent or airheaded. They react to the information they compile and come to their own conclusions on what they want their happiness to be, especially when it comes to Youta who goes through the full gambit of emotions in its final episodes. There is a moment where this story becomes very powerful both visually and thematically, even if it is a bit too blunt with it at times. It is what made me consider to do this post, the very impact of accepting that you are alright. At that point it offers a very sobering view on escapism as a whole that is very heartfelt and resonant.

ai_from_video_girl_ai_crying

This is an ecchi comedy so be prepared to see some nudity, I for one really dislike ecchi as a genre yet I found myself coming to terms with it quite easily due to how effective the drama and romance were. Some of the jokes relating to the whole aspect of video girls is actually quite funny and I found myself early on enjoying the banter between both Ai and Youta. It felt goofy, but natural as it wasn’t the usual romantic banter one finds in anime often. It is actually fully fleshed out rather than falling into a trope like any of the deres (tsundere, kudere, etc). It all has a natural progression that allows you to follow the lives of the characters while they deal with these inner problems.

The more I watched it, the more I came to really care about its characters. My heart ached when I watched how Youta helped Moemi with her love problems and Ai helping Youta with his own. It at times can get aggravating to watch as it will often become a repetitious dance the group does with one another. What really sells this OVA is its characters, and I cannot stress that enough. I am not an avid fan of romance, ecchi, and often comedy involving either of those two elements especially ecchi. I enjoyed this purely because it manages to be more than what it initially presents itself as and finishing it was an absolute pleasure.

I don’t plan on spoiling how effective its ending is, but hopefully that little tease is enough to have people debate about checking out this classic. The soundtrack especially in key moments really works and is one of the main things I found setting the tone in important portions of the anime. Of course the animation truly works wonders especially for its age, and it should since it is Production IG, who in three years make Ghost in the Shell, is only a testament to how they stood out even back then. It may not be perfect, yet it will hopefully stir up some feelings inside you.

Well I am glad I could share my tearful adventure through this OVA! Yes I did blubber, curse my manly tears! Is there something you never thought you would like in a million years and somehow turned out liking it? Put it down in the comments below!

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “OVA Corner: Video Girl Ai and Proving to me that Ecchi Romcoms can actually work!

  1. I’m lonely. Why can’t my visual novel girls come through the screen and keep me company 🙂

    This sounds like a good series of OVAs. I’m surprised to hear that the ending is effective because I understand that they only animated a tiny portion of the source material.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It isn’t because it fully completes the story, but rather that it ties up some of the thematic elements really nicely and it was really suitable for a stopping point. You feel content with the conclusions they come to and the story told. It doesn’t get full marks because some elements are left to be understood through the manga, but the impact of this small snippit wraps up the plotlines given to us as a viewer. Hard to explain and I’ll probably talk more about the ending in a separate post. Its interesting to see the point this small collection of OVAs was trying to say about escapism.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s