Original video animation

Last updated

Contents

Original video animation (Japanese: オリジナル・ビデオ・アニメーション, Hepburn: orijinaru bideo animēshon), abbreviated as OVA and sometimes as OAV (original animation video), are Japanese animated films and series made specially for release in home video formats without prior showings on television or in theaters, though the first part of an OVA series may be broadcast for promotional purposes. OVA titles were originally made available on VHS, later becoming more popular on LaserDisc and eventually DVD. [1] Starting in 2008, the term OAD (original animation DVD) [2] [3] began to refer to DVD releases published bundled with their source-material manga.

Format

Like anime made for television broadcast, OVAs are sub-divided into episodes. OVA media (tapes, laserdiscs or DVDs) usually contain just one episode each. Episode length varies from title to title: each episode may run from a few minutes to two hours or more. An episode length of 30 minutes occurs quite commonly, but no standard length exists. In some cases, the length of episodes in a specific OVA may vary greatly, for example in GaoGaiGar FINAL , the first 7 episodes last around 30 minutes, while the last episode lasts 50 minutes; the OVA Key the Metal Idol consists of 15 separate episodes, ranging in length from 20 minutes to nearly two hours each; The OVA Hellsing Ultimate had released 10 episodes, ranging from 42 minutes to 56 minutes. An OVA series can run anywhere from a single episode (essentially a direct-to-video movie) to dozens of episodes in length. The longest OVA series ever made, Legend of the Galactic Heroes , spanned 110 main episodes and 52 gaiden episodes.

Many popular series first appear animated as an OVA, and later grow to become television series or movies. Tenchi Muyo! , for example, began as an OVA but went on to spawn several TV series, three movies, and numerous other spin-offs. Producers make other OVA releases as sequels, side stories, music-video collections, or bonus episodes that continue existing as television series or films, such as Love Hina Again and Wolf's Rain .

OVA titles generally have a much higher budget per episode than in a television series; therefore the technical quality of animation can generally surpass that in television series; occasionally it even equals that of animated movies.

OVA titles have a reputation for detailed plots and character-development, which can result from the greater creative freedom offered to writers and directors relative to other formats. This also allows for animated adaptations of manga to reflect their source material more faithfully. Since OVA episodes and series have no fixed conventional length, OVA directors can use however much time they like to tell the story. Time becomes available to expand upon significant background, character, and plot development. This contrasts with television episodes (which must end somewhere between 22 and 26 minutes) and with films (which rarely last more than two hours). In the same way, no pressure exists to produce "filler content" to extend a short plot into a full television series. The producers of OVA titles generally target a specific audience, rather than the more mass-market audience of films and television series, or may feel less constrained by content-restrictions and censorship (such as for violence, nudity, and language) often placed on television series. For example, the Kissxsis OVA series generally contains more sexual themes than its television counterpart.

Much OVA-production aims at an audience of male anime enthusiasts. Bandai Visual stated in a 2004 news release (for their new OVAs aimed at women) that about 50% of the customers who had bought their anime DVDs in the past fell into the category of 25- to 40-year-old men, with only 13% of purchasers women, even with all ages included. [4] These statistics cover Bandai Visual anime DVDs in general, not just OVAs, but they show the general tendency at this point[ citation needed ]. Nikkei Business Publications also stated in a news-release that mainly 25- to 40-year-old adults bought anime DVDs. [5] Few OVAs specifically target female audiences, but Earthian exemplifies the exceptions.

Some OVAs based on television series (and especially those based on manga) may provide closure to the plot – closure not present in the original series. The Rurouni Kenshin OVAs, to name one series, exemplified numerous aspects of OVAs; they were slightly based on chapters of the author Nobuhiro Watsuki's manga that had not been adapted into the anime television series, had higher-quality animation, were much more violent, and were executed in a far more dark and realistic style than the TV episodes or the manga.

Dark realism featured in Masami Kurumada's famous manga Saint Seiya . The anime adapted two of the three arcs in Kurumada's manga—the project to adapt the third arc to the anime never started. As Kurumada had completed his manga in 1991, its third act was finally adapted to anime, releasing the episodes as OVAs, starting in 2003 and finishing in 2008, at last adapting Kurumada's manga completely to anime.

Most OVA titles run for four to eight episodes, and some only have one. They tend to have a complex and continuous plot[ citation needed ], best enjoyed if all episodes are viewed in sequence. This contrasts with television series, which generally have many short "mini-stories" that happen to be related somehow, rather than a unified plot. Many OVA titles can be thought of as "long films" that just happen to be released in parts. Release schedules vary: some series may progress as slowly as 1–2 episodes per year. Some OVA titles with a lengthy release-schedule ended up unfinished due to lack of fan support and sales.

Many one-episode OVAs exist as well. Typically, such an OVA provides a side-story to a popular TV series (such as Detective Conan OVAs). At an early stage in the history of the OVA (1980s) many one-episode OVAs appeared. Hundreds of manga that were popular but not enough to gain TV series were granted one-shot (or otherwise extremely short) OVA episodes. When these one-shot OVAs prove popular enough, a network can use the OVA as a pilot to an anime series.

History

OVAs originated during the early 1980s. As the VCR became a widespread fixture in Japanese homes, the Japanese anime industry grew to behemoth proportions. Demand for anime became massive, so much so that consumers would willingly go directly to video stores to buy new animation outright. While people in the United States use the phrase "direct-to-video" as a pejorative for works that could not make it onto television or movie screens, in Japan the demand was so great that direct-to-video became a necessity. Many popular and influential series such as Bubblegum Crisis (1987–1991) and Tenchi Muyo! (1992–2005) were released directly to video as OVAs. [6] [7]

The earliest known attempt to release an OVA involved Osamu Tezuka's The Green Cat (part of the Lion Books series) in 1983, although it cannot count as the first OVA: there is no evidence that the VHS tape became available immediately and the series remained incomplete. Therefore, the first official OVA release to be billed as such was 1983's Dallos , directed by Mamoru Oshii and released by Bandai. [8] Other famous early OVAs, premiering shortly thereafter, were Fight! Iczer One and the original Megazone 23 . [9] [10] Other companies were quick to pick up on the idea, and the mid-to-late 1980s saw the market flooded with OVAs. During this time, most OVA series were new, stand-alone titles. [8]

In the 1980s during Japan's economic bubble, production companies were more than willing to spontaneously decide to make a one- or two-part OVA. They paid money to anime studios, who then haphazardly created an OVA to be released to rental shops. Judging from sales, should a longer series be deemed feasible, TV networks paid for most of the production costs of the entire series. [11]

As the Japanese economy worsened in the 1990s, the flood of new OVA titles diminished to a trickle. Production of OVAs continued, but in smaller numbers. Many anime television series ran an economical 13 episodes rather than the traditional 26-episodes per season. New titles were often designed[ by whom? ] to be released to TV if they approached these lengths. In addition, the rising popularity of cable and satellite TV networks (with their typically less strict censorship rules) allowed the public to see direct broadcasts of many new titles—something that previously would have been impossible. Therefore, many violent, risque, and fan service series became regular TV series, when previously those titles would have been OVAs. During this time period most OVA content was limited to that related to existing and established titles.

However, in 2000 and later, a new OVA trend began. Producers released many TV series without normal broadcasts of all of the episodes—but releasing some episodes on the DVD release of the series. Examples of this include the DVD-only 25th episode of Love Hina , [12] while several episodes of the Oh My Goddess TV series are DVD-only. In addition, the final episode of Excel Saga was offered only as an OVA, mostly due to content issues that would have made TV broadcast impossible. [13] In these cases the series as a whole cannot be called an OVA, though certain episodes are. This trend is becoming quite common, and furthermore, many recent OVA series pre-broadcast the episodes and release the DVD with unedited and better quality, along with revised animations—thus further blurring the boundary between TV and video anime.

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Mobile Suit Gundam Wing</i>

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, also known in Japan as New Mobile Report Gundam Wing, is a 1995 Japanese mecha anime series directed by Masashi Ikeda and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa. It is the sixth installment in the Gundam franchise, taking place in the "After Colony" timeline. As with the original series, the plot of Gundam Wing centers on a war in the future between Earth and its orbital colonies in the Earth-Moon system.

<i>The Vision of Escaflowne</i> 1996 Japanese anime television series directed by Kazuki Akane

The Vision of Escaflowne is a 26-episode Japanese anime television series created by Shōji Kawamori, produced by Sunrise Studios and directed by Kazuki Akane. It premiered in Japan on April 2, 1996 on TV Tokyo, and the final episode aired on September 24, 1996. Sony's anime satellite channel, Animax also aired the series, both in Japan and on its various worldwide networks, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. The series was licensed for Region 1 release by Bandai Entertainment. It is currently licensed by Funimation.

<i>Oh My Goddess!</i> Japanese media franchise

Oh My Goddess!, or Ah! My Goddess! in some releases, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kōsuke Fujishima. It was serialized in Kodansha's seinen manga magazine Monthly Afternoon from September 1988 to April 2014, with its chapters collected in 48 tankōbon volumes. The series follows college sophomore Keiichi Morisato and the goddess Belldandy who moves in with him in a Buddhist temple; after Belldandy's sisters Urd and Skuld move in with them, they encounter gods, demons and other supernatural entities as Keiichi develops his relationship with Belldandy. The manga series has been licensed for English-language release by Dark Horse Comics.

<i>Wolfs Rain</i> Japanese anime television series and its manga adaptation

Wolf's Rain is a Japanese anime television series created by writer Keiko Nobumoto and produced by Bones. It was directed by Tensai Okamura and featured character designs by Toshihiro Kawamoto with a soundtrack produced and arranged by Yoko Kanno. It focuses on the journey of four lone wolves who cross paths while following the scent of the Lunar Flower and seeking Paradise.

<i>Saint Seiya</i>

Saint Seiya, also known as Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac or simply Knights of the Zodiac, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masami Kurumada. The story follows five mystical warriors called the Saints who fight wearing sacred sets of armor named "Cloths", the designs of which derive from the various constellations the characters have adopted as their destined guardian symbols, and empowered by a mystical energy called "Cosmo". The Saints have sworn to defend the reincarnation of the Greek goddess Athena in her battle against other Olympian gods who want to dominate Earth. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1986 to 1990, with the chapters collected into 28 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha.

<i>Saiyuki</i> (manga) 2000 manga series by Kazuya Minekura

Saiyuki is a manga series by Kazuya Minekura which was serialized in G-Fantasy from 1997 to 2002. It spawned multiple manga sequels, anime adaptations, video games and other media. The story is loosely based on the 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West.

<i>Aim for the Ace!</i> Manga and anime series

Aim for the Ace!, known in Japan as Ace o Nerae!, is a manga series written and illustrated by Sumika Yamamoto. The series tells the story of Hiromi Oka, a high school student who wants to become a professional tennis player as she struggles against mental weakness, anxiety and thwarted love. It was originally serialized in Shueisha's shōjo magazine Margaret from January 1973 to February 1980. Later, Shueisha collected the chapters and published them in 18 tankōbon volumes.

Masami Kurumada Japanese manga artist and writer (born 1953)

Masami Kurumada is a Japanese manga artist and writer, known for specializing in fighting manga featuring bishōnen and magical boy.

<i>The Candidate for Goddess</i> Manga

The Candidate for Goddess is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Yukiru Sugisaki. The series takes place in the distant future, where human beings live among space colonies and a single, inhabitable planet called Zion. The plot follows Zero Enna and his fellow candidates as they try to prove themselves worthy of piloting the "Ingrids", also called "Goddesses". These gigantic, humanoid weapons are humanity's only significant defense against a hostile, alien threat known as "Victim".

<i>Birdy the Mighty</i> Manga by Masami Yuki

Birdy the Mighty is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masami Yuki. His initial attempt with the story ran in Shogakukan's Shōnen Sunday Zōkan from 1985 to 1988. In 1996, the story was made into a four-part original video animation (OVA) directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. The character designer and animation director for the series was Kumiko Takahashi. In 2003, Yuki began the second serialization under the title Birdy the Mighty Evolution in Shogakukan's Weekly Young Sunday, later continued in Big Comic Spirits, and finished in 2012.

<i>Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl</i> A Japanese yuri manga series written by Satoru Akahori and illustrated by Yukimaru Katsura

Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl is a Japanese yuri manga series written by Satoru Akahori and illustrated by Yukimaru Katsura. The manga was originally serialized in Dengeki Daioh between the July 2004 and May 2007 issues, and later published in five bound volumes by MediaWorks from January 2005 to May 2007. The story focuses on Hazumu Osaragi, a normal, albeit effeminate high school boy who is killed when an alien spaceship crash lands on him, only to be restored to health as a girl. This results in a same-sex love triangle that Hazumu finds herself in with two of her best female friends.

In Japan, late night anime refers to anime series broadcast on television late at night or in the early hours of the morning, usually between 10 PM and 4 AM JST.

<i>Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas</i>

Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas – The Myth of Hades, also known as simply The Lost Canvas, is a manga written and illustrated by Shiori Teshirogi. It is a spin-off based on the manga series Saint Seiya, which was created, written and illustrated by Japanese author Masami Kurumada. The Lost Canvas was published by Akita Shoten in the Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine since August 24, 2006, concluding after 223 chapters on April 6, 2011, with twenty-five tankōbon released. Originally envisioned as a comic book whose purpose was to work simultaneously with Kurumada's Saint Seiya: Next Dimension as a multi-angle interpretation of the shared elements of its storyline, which stems from an event mentioned in Kurumada's original Saint Seiya manga; the approach was quickly abandoned, as both works greatly diverged, Kurumada's Next Dimension stayed as the canonical telling of these events, and The Lost Canvas as a separate alternate retelling. The story takes place in the 18th century, and focuses on how an orphan known as Tenma becomes one of Athena's 88 warriors known as Saints and finds himself in a war fighting against his best friend Alone who is revealed to be the reincarnation of Athena's biggest enemy, the God Hades.

<i>Haruhi Suzumiya</i> 2006 Japanese media franchise

Haruhi Suzumiya is a Japanese light novel series written by Nagaru Tanigawa and illustrated by Noizi Ito. It was first published in 2003 by Kadokawa Shoten in Japan with the novel The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and has since been followed by 11 additional novel volumes, an anime television series adaptation produced by Kyoto Animation, four manga series, an animated film, two original net animation series and several video games.

.hack is a Japanese multimedia franchise that encompasses two projects: Project .hack and .hack Conglomerate. They were primarily created and developed by CyberConnect2, and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The series features an alternative history setting in the rise of the new millennium regarding the technological rise of a new version of the internet following a major global computer network disaster in the year 2005, and the mysterious events regarding the wildly popular fictional massively multiplayer online role-playing game The World. The series mainly comprises anime and video game titles which have been subsequently adapted into manga, novels, and other related media.

References

  1. Nakayama, Whitney (2004-12-21). "Anime Glossary". G4. Archived from the original on 2007-05-19. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  2. "魔法先生ネギま!~もうひとつの世界~公式HP" [Negima! Magister Negi Magi!: Another World Official HP] (in Japanese). Kodansha. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
  3. 今日の5の2 初回限定版コミック ~公式サイト~ [Kyō no Go no Ni Limited Edition Comic Official Site] (in Japanese). Kodansha . Retrieved April 8, 2011.
  4. "[ 女性向けアニメションDVDを連続発売 ] バンダイビジュアル株式会社". Bandai Visual. 2004-09-22. Archived from the original on 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2007-01-16.
  5. "日経BP社|ニュースリリース". Nikkei Business Publications. 2003-06-11. Archived from the original on 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
  6. "Specials - Anime in Retrospect: Bubblegum Crisis". Animefringe. December 2005. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  7. "4th Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki Announced After 10 Years". Anime News Network. October 16, 2015.
  8. 1 2 DustinKop. "A Look at the 1980's Anime OVA Legacy". the-artifice.com. The Artifice. Archived from the original on September 30, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  9. "Fight! Iczer-One TV Airing Censorship Isn't Even Trying". Anime News Network. March 7, 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  10. "AIC Ad: New Megazone 23, Pretty Sammy Projects in the Works". Anime News Network. February 21, 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  11. Sevakis, Justin (March 5, 2012). "The Anime Economy". Anime News Network . Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  12. Beveridge, Chris (December 12, 2003). "Love Hina Christmas Movie". Mania. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  13. Shinichi Watanabe. Excel Saga Volume 3 - Interview with Shinichi Watanabe (DVD). ADV Films.