For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been delving into the deadly, bloody and titty-filled world that were the OVA’s of the 80’s and early 90’s. But I finally reached my limit. I’ve returned, clawing my way out, with tales filled with macho men and women with really big hair. I wanted to report my findings, so I’m doing a 5-part report of all the OVA’s I watched (I was going to do it all in one post, but quickly discovered it would span over 500o words long).
A quick note: Many of these I either rented out or they were on my old hard drive, which passed away very sadly, may it rest in peace. So getting screenshots for some of these might be difficult. Assume they include pictures of a topless women with really big hair standing on top of a skyscraper during the night and I assure you that shot exists in over half these OVA’s anyway.
You’re Under Arrest
1994-5 – 4 episodes
You’re Under Arrest is about a bunch of hot girls in the police force, albeit the OVA has about as much to do with actual policing as K-ON has to do with actual music playing. It’s a lot more light compared to the bazillion other police OVA’s with lots of night time city shots and violent gangland warfare. The most serious thing that happens is a cat has trouble giving birth. The car chases are particularly amusing. Police vehicle drives after bad guy for a while until bad guy grazes his side door off a wall. Bad guy then jumps out of car and begs for forgiveness while policeman gives him a slap on the wrists and lets him go. They don’t even use handcuffs for christs sake!
What this OVA is really about is a romance between two of the police officers. It’s one of these romances where both sides are too embarrassed to confess to each other so the other characters keep trying to push them together. It’s not exactly expertly handled. There’s no development of a relationship, we’re simply told “these two like each other” and that’s it. I was still sucked in like the big sap that I am though. I guess there’s still that part of me, searching desperately for anything that resembles a half-decent seinen romance. They’re never going to get together though, are they? There’s a full 3 extra TV series to follow on from this, plus more OVA’s and a movie. They’re never going to get together =(
Otaku no Video
1991 – 2 episodes
Gainax’s famous semi autobiographical otaku study. It was cool to watch, but more as a historical artefact than actual entertainment. This is what the picture of your typical Japanese otaku looked like in the late 80’s. No more than that. It certainly doesn’t function the same way Genshiken does. Come several decades from now, Genshiken will be viewed slightly as a historical artefact as to what otaku were like in the mid 00’s, but will still work as a story because the simple group dynamic when you get a bunch of nerds together is transcendent. For Otaku no Video, you should only watch it if you want to power-up your otaku level.
Please Save My Earth
1993-4 – 6 episodes
It’s strange to think that this brand of over-dramatic shojo has kinda died down next to the generic romance of Kimi ni Todoke and Maid-sama. Not that I’m particularly fond of either genre. Please Save My Earth was pretty decent when it was mimicking Clamp-esque story telling (although the manga was written long before any of Clamps stuff but eh~) but spent a hell of a lot of its time making the characters have emotional breakdowns at every single thing that happened to them. Sure, some of the things that happened to the characters probably warranted an emotional breakdown, but there was no juxtaposition. They broke down at everything, whether it be their hair got pulled or their friend committed suicide or you’ve just realised you’re gay. Yeah, there was yaoi in this. It was actually a well constructed part of the story, but the way the character broke down after he kissed the other guy made it all unintentionally hilarious.
1987 – 1 episode
I probably should have done more research on this before I watched it. I assumed it was about a kid who lived in a rubbish heap, like Stig of the Dump (I doubt a single one of my readers has read that book). Instead it was about a guy with a massive penis. Hence ‘Junk’ Boy. Yeah, it’s softcore hentai. There’s nothing explicit beyond the boobs, which were required by law in OVA’s anyway, but there was certainly some cunnilingus. It was pretty dull either way. The jokes revolved around the guy being obsessed with sex and getting massive boners har har har, while all the sexy stuff was kinda boring. It even tried to crowbar in some genuine heartfelt romance. Yeah, never going to work Junk Boy.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
1993-4 – 6 episodes
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is about a bunch of bodybuilders led by the manliness body builder of them all, Jotaro. After finishing his job at the male strip club but forgetting to change his clothes, they visit the desert. There, they all treat each other and the viewer like idiots by pointing out everything that’s happening at the time. When a man’s head is ripped off, one of them will go “look Jotaro, that man’s head got ripped off”. The series finishes up with the main character getting into a battle with an overpowered and genericly evil bad guy as they have a competition to see who can say URAAH the loudest and quickest. This is an early 90’s OVA though, so they need at least one boob shot, no matter how out of place it is. To get it out of the way, they place it at the very start of the first episode, and then proceed to behead the girl. Then, just to be on the safe side, because the Japanese Government at that time were getting very strict with this boob law, they placed this scene at the start of every single episode.
As much as I like to mock it, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is quite a lot of fun. Well, the first 3 episodes are. It’s silly and dumb, but it also manages to be incredibly tense and engaging. The first two episodes are great because they introduce these ridiculously proportioned men, ready to punch the living daylights out of anything, and then proceed to make them fight a blob of water they can’t beat with brute strength and actually have a bigger disadvantage fighting if they talk the whole time. The third episode takes this up a notch by having the entire episode revolve around gambling, which makes the episode the pick of the bunch. Unfortunately the final 3 episodes introduce generic evil overpowered bad guy, which is bad in itself. But the real killing point is, unlike the earlier episodes where Jotaro wins by using his brain, the final battle consists of a bunch of power ups. I would recommend the first 3 episodes if you want something dumb yet entertaining, but the final 3 episodes rather kill the fun of the whole experience.